Cool Wine Doings: Catalunya’s thriving organic wine culture
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After visiting Catalan vineyards during the past year, the most noteworthy aspect is just how many of the small, medium and large vineyards subscribe to organic practices. From Albet i Noya and Alta Alella, who produce over a million bottles a year, to boutique vineyards like Marco Abella and Sao del Coster, close to all the vineyards I’ve visited either are certified organic, or follow natural practices.
Vinum Nature Barcelona is a two day wine fair showcasing these vineyards to wine industry professionals, and this year had one day open to the public. Started by Ecomundis SL, which is a communications agency promoting organic and sustainable practices, Vinum Nature has grown into a great showcase of such efforts in the wine industry. This year, 60+ wineries from Catalunya, and a few others from outside the region shared the fruits of their organic labor.
Spain leads the way in total hectares planted which are cultivated organically, with a total of 80.000 hectares designated as organic. Even industry heavyweight Torres is moving towards having 100% of their vines organic, following the lead of Catalan organic pioneer Josep Maria Albet i Noya, who has been producing organic wines since the 1970s. With other countries, like Germany, United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom embracing local and organic products in record numbers, led by the millennial generation, this trend seems to be continuing to upswing.
It was no surprise that a number of the vineyards I’ve been to were represented at Vinum Nature: Sao del Coster, Marco Abella, Albet i Noya, Loxarel, Clos Figueras, Alta Alella, Bouquet d’Alella, Terra Remota, Fredi Torres Viticultors,Raventos i Blanc, Mas Igneus. All had their latest varieties for the crowds to taste, and of special note were Bouquet d’Alella’s 2012 Syrah (winning an award), Marco Abella’s Mas Mallola 2009 (award winner), Loxarel’s 109 sparkling, Sao del Coster’s “S”, Clos Figueras Font de la Figuera Blanc, and Raventos i Blanc L’Hereu sparkling.
Also of note, and new (to me) vineyards who I’ll be visiting to taste more of their offerings after attending included Sicus (spectacular reds), Jané Ventura (great Sumolls), and AT Roca (dynamite sparkling wines).
All in all, Vinum Nature is a great wine fair to attend for not only the tasting, but also several of the special sessions they had with industry insiders, plus the live music on the first day with food pairings, and a great atmosphere at the Barcelona Maritime Museum. The fact the wines were organic was even better!
Vinum Nature is yearly during the last weekend in May, and if they do another public tasting in 2016, it is definitely an event to put on your calendar. The event is easily reachable via mass transit at it is located across the street from the Drassanes metro subway stop. My recommendation would be to combine it with a morning at the beach, and a dinner at Bardot Barcelona.