Jane Ventura: Fine wines and a musical homage
It began back in March when I met Sinisa Curavic in Priorat at an event in Gratallops organised by Clos Figueras. I’d been an admirer of his and his wife Sara, as they are not only the proprietors of Sweeteasy Wine Tours, but Sinisa is the man behind Catalanwine365. Between my website and his, we represent the majority of consistent English language coverage of Catalan wines.
The commonality of our projects demonstrated we shared the same philosophy, and similar talents to spread the good word about Catalan wines. Sinisa and his wife primarily do this through their tours, and as our readers are aware, CatalunyaWine sells and promotes wines and Catalan wine culture.
After seeing each other at the Barcelona Natural Wine Fair, and Sinisa exposing me to his work as the export manager for Jané Ventura (here’s a guy who works as long, hard, and as diversely as I do — more symmetry), I put visiting the winery at the top the list.
Upon arrival with Denise and Rob, I immediately felt comfortable and at ease. After walking in, greeting owner and winemaker Gerard Jané Ubeda, I sensed an immediate connection, with him and the winery. The connection? Music.
The world famous Pau Casals was born in El Vendrell, the town where Jané Ventura is based, in 1876. He’s known the world over for his work in classical music, and is considered one of the best cellists of all time. Pau left a huge impression on the town of El Vendrell, and was a passionate supporter of the Catalan people, even holding a fundraiser in England just after the Spanish Civil War to help those devastated by the actions of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.
Benjami Jané, Gerard’s grandfather, was the founding vice-president of the Pau Casals Musical Association, and Gerard is on the board, maintaining the connection between the Casals family and the Jané family. Jané Ventura supports music and literature events, including the Pau Casals International Music Festival. Gerard even released a special Gran Reserva Cava to help fund the restoration of the El Vendrell church organ.
Besides being a music lover, as those who watch the CatalunyaWine videos I edit and produce can attest, I live on Carrer Pau Casals.
Jane Ventura continues their homage in their wine marketing, with their four cavas referencing music including naming their Gran Reserva “Do” as in “Do, Ray, Me, Fa, So”, or the “C” note in the musical scale. As Gerard describes to Denise in the video above, musicians close to Gerard have explained to him the “C” note has a traditional connection to the soil. The other three hold the name Reserva de la Musica, with a Rosé, a Brut, and a Brut Nature.
In their still wine varietals, Gerard’s overriding philosophy would make Immanuel Kant proud, as he says in person and also on their website:
Their expression and their blend of grapes mirror their duality: local and international. Both cosmopolitan and rooted in the land, their origin is their strength.
This has been expressed in their red, rosé and white blends, know as Seleccio de Vinyes, which placed side by side, share an artistic representation which expresses this concept.
Gerard and Sinisa took us to Finca Els Camps, where their single Macabeu and Ull de Llebre wines originate, grown in the traditional bush vine manner. We had the fortune of tasting the Macabeu in the vineyard, mere metres from where they are grown, and Denise was impressed with the flavour, the notes, and the acidity, considering how rare a 100% Macabeu wine is, as it is mostly used for blending.
After my visit to Masia de la Roqua, and my new love affair with Sumoll, I had the opportunity to taste Jané Ventura’s 2012 single estate Sumoll. I wasn’t disappointed, and I ended up taking a bottle home.
Some wineries will share a philosophy in their marketing which isn’t a true reflection of who they are as a business. I see this with many big corporate ventures who have lost their souls in order to make a bigger buck. With Gerard and Jané Ventura, this is definitely not the case. Gerard strives for his wines to be cosmopolitan while maintaining their connection to the terroir.
In this, Gerard has been a success.
Gerard has managed to bring a cosmopolitan element to his wines, while still maintaining his roots with the varietal he uses and how he uses them. This includes his commitment to sustainable initiatives, including the conversion to organic practices of all of the vineyards owned by Jané Ventura. The grape growers he partners with to augment their inventory have also begun to convert to organic farming, with many already completed.
History, culture, and music are important to Gerard, and he has managed to combine all three into an amazing experience at Jané Ventura. The history of the area, outside of Pau Casals, as recounted by Gerard, is something quite special. In fact, I’m heading back to hike up Montmell, which rises above their Finca El Camps property, to see architectural relics dating back to Roman times, a castle ruins, and a church from the 12th century. Maybe I’ll manage to convince Sinisa, Gerard, Rob, and Denise to join me on the adventure.
Jané Ventura is big into enotourism, and they welcome visitors to their winery in El Vendrell, where you can have the full tour, an explanation of the art of their winemaking, plus the connection to Pau Casals, for only €8. Visits are daily, except Sunday, at 11 am. If you’re looking for a special time or a large group, you can give them a call in advance to book.
With a very close proximity to Barcelona, easy access from either the N-340, or the AP-7 or a one hour train ride from Barcelona-Sants, Jané Ventura is a great alternative to the tour bus hordes heading to certain other parts of Penedes, with sublime wines. If you’re a classical music fan, there’s absolutely no excuse not to go. Maybe you’ll have your own symmetrical coincidental experience.