21-12-2014

Celler Comalats

comalats

When it comes to wine regions in Catalonia, DO Costers del Segre doesn’t get a lot of love. Spread out over various chunks in the most remote province of the region (and the only one without a coastline) it is often ignored. This sounded like a good reason to visit some cellars in the region and so last summer, I found myself at Comalats.

The village of Ametlla de Segarra which Comalats calls home is one of those lovely locations in Catalonia that most won’t see, but probably should. Set on a plateau that overlooks the Riu Corb it is surrounded by tumbling terraces that are mostly full of wheat that was being combed by the thrashers as I looked out across the region on that blustering day.

village

With less than 30 full time residents, the village itself is cute, full of randomly tossed about stone homes that are in surprisingly good repair including a casa rural, but it’s the 16th century tower in the middle that is the most striking feature. While a stroll up to the top only takes you up about 13m, it’s just enough to offer a view out over the region and a nice fresh breeze. This was the first stop on a tour with, Eva Bonet who heads up sales and visits for her family cellar.

eva

It obviously gives the best understanding of the region and allows her to talk about how her father, Jaume planted vineyards back in 1989. While the family had had a long tradition of making wine for their own consumption (like most families in Catalonia) there was a large winery nearby that was starting to look for grapes to buy in the region and specifically “popular” French varieties which is why Jaume planted 12ha of Cabernet Sauvignon.

This large cellar changed their plans and thus the family found themselves with a rather large supply of Cab grapes and decided to start vinifiying and bottling their own wines. In Catalan “coma” roughly translates as a small plot of land in a vale and since their vineyards are spread over several of these, they chose the plural diminutive of the word, “comalats” for the name of their cellar and have been producing 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines ever since.

While I’m an ardent proponent of planting local grape varieties whenever possible, they are able to produce quite capable wines from their vineyards. I don’t know if it’s the fully organic farming, clay and limestone soils, the relatively high elevation of 715m, or Eva’s brother, Eloi doing the enology, but the result is leagues better than other Cabernet plantings that I’ve seen even in such exalted regions such as Priorat.

For anyone looking to get way, way out of Barcelona, it’s a recommendable and tranquil trip as the equally pleasant villages around the region have created the Vall del Corb association to promote the cellars, sites, and restaurants of the region.

Rosat 2013
Vibrant and fresh. Large fruit in the style of Catalonia. Young, spicy in the nose. Builds upon aromas quite well in the body. Good deal of acidity and some minor pepper notes in the finish.

100% Cabernet Sauvingon 13% 8€
*

Criança 2004
Nice minerality in the nose that showcases the soil with touches of the limestone soil and white pepper notes. Very full in the mouth. Spicy acidity that leads in to a dry finish.

100% Cabernet Sauvingon 14.5% 10.50€
**