CAN RAFOLS WINERY OF CATALONIA, SPAIN A LEADER IN BIODYNAMIC WINE
Story and photos by Dwight Casimere
The spectacular wines of Can Rafols
SPECTACULAR WINERY BUILT IN A HUGE CALCERIOUS ROCK USES GRAVITY, NATURE AND UNIQUE MICROCLIMATES TO MAKE DARING AND AWARD WINNING WINE
Story and photo gallery by Dwight Casimere
CATALONIA, Spain--Carlos Esteva is the owner and winemaker of one of the most innovative wineries in this rich, fertile subzone of Garraf in the Penedes near Barcelona. Just a 45 minute drive from the heart of Barcelona lies one of the most amazing winery tour experiences which gives an intimate and personal view of the winemaking process using both old traditions and new technologies.
The winery uses both organic and biodynamic practices to the nth degree to produce its innovative wines, which are all hand-harvested, aged in both oak barrels and in the bottle for extended periods, and then aged in cavernous aging cellars that are carved out of the side of a calcereous rock mountain that is lined with art work. It is a unique environment for winemaking and the resulting wines are equally distinctive and noteworthy.
Employing both international and local varieties, the wines display a character that bear the mark of both the winery's terroir, that unique combination of soil, climate and natural environment, but bear the unique signature of the winemaker. Esteva was perhaps the first winemaker in the area to begin training his vines using a trellis method. He was also among the first to use carefully developed clones, such as the Incrocio Manzoni, a cross-breed of Pinot Blanc and Riesling develooped by Professor Luigi Manzoni at the famed oenology institute at Conegliano in the Veneto region of Italy.Cabernet Ranc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Tempranillo, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc are developed form old vines from 15 to 70 years old as well as grapes native to Spain such as Macabeo and Parellada.
THE UNDERGROUND WINERY AT CAN RAFOLS
The winery is built completely underground in natural rock. It is an amazing feat of modern construction. The concept behind the winery is a stroke of genius put into action. It combines old traditions with modern technologies, making use of natural gravity and the unique properties of the complex rock formations and soil compositions that line the walls of the fermentation rooms and aging cellars. The walls of the winery will be lined with artwork, created by Abstraccio Biomorfica Artist-In-Residence Kiko Ruiz, whose artwork graces the main house of the winery, along with ancient tiles, scuptures, friezes and artifacts. Can rafols lifts Eco Tourism to new heights, combining the spectacular views of the topography of the winery with fine dining and tapas using locally grown organic produce and meats with expertly paired with their astronomical wines.
The original carved wood door to Can Rafols main house and tasting room circa 1864
THE WINES OF CAN RAFOLS
La Calma - $29-notice the fossilized sea shell in the limstone soil. The region was underwater in prehistoric times