Living Wine in Reus or #ReusViuelVi (Day 1)
Thanks to friend and blogger extraordinarie, Ruth Troyano I was lucky to be invited to the wine fair Reus Viu el Vi last weekend in, yes you’ve guessed it, the city of Reus about 130km south of Barcelona. As they wanted to generate buzz, they invited a few wine bloggers to attend and use the hashtag #ReusViuelVi to write about it (the others were Dami Vila Sommelier, Malviatge, Pretty Wines, Viajares, Gastronovi and Marc Orozco).
The fair kicked off on Friday evening (June 7th) at the Plaça Llibertat with a group tasting to the beats of local DJ Marc Griso as they were wanting to appeal to a young crowd of 18 to 28 years old. They called it Disco Wine Rave even though it was from 7 to 8pm (quite early for a rave) and cordoned off one section of the square. The tasting took place in that close area and only young people could access it, to give a “VIP” sheen. The tasting was led by Miquel Figini of Vintaix and included the White Grenache by Frisach in Terra Alta (this one), the Cuca de Llum Trepat by Succés Vinícola in Conca de Barberà and a cocktail that used the aiguardent La quinta essència dels llops made with the pomace from Clos Mogador’s grapes in Priorat.
Cuca de Llum means firefly in Catalan, and is one of two Trepat wines made by a couple of 22-23 year-old winemakers, Mariona Vendrell and Albert Canela (pictured above with Miquel Figini), who are not only very young but also very sweet. They explained they chose the name firefly for the wine due to its uniqueness: it is one of the few monovarietal wines made with Trepat grapes (which are indigenous to Conca de Barberà) and is also full-bodied in contrast to others that tend to veer towards Rosé (this grape was traditionally used to make Cava or Rosé wines). I’ve only tasted a couple of Trepat red wines, but after having tried this one twice now it really stands out as something quite special.
As for the cocktail made with La quinta essència dels llops, it was quite tasty too. But that didn’t come as a surprise, as it had been created by Marc Àlvarez who is the bartender at über-cool 41° Cocktail Bar in Barcelona owned by the Adrià brothers. This cocktail was called Haddock and it had a tropical quality due to the coconut liqueur in it. It also had brandy and rum and something else, so the aiguardent didn’t stand out at all. The cocktail was quite pleasant and refreshing, but it could have had less ingredients if you ask me.
In the picture above you can see the younger son of Clos Mogador’s René Barbier, Christian (with the mohawk) who presented the Haddock cocktail. Overall, a lot of people turned up and it was quite fun in spite of my initial reservations about a “Rave” happening at 7pm and being past my prime raving years. And the host, Miquel Figini, was fabulous: he managed to keep the younger audience’s interest and even made them laugh with a few jokes that were dangerously getting into “chatty uncle at the holiday family meal” territory.
After this the wine fair continued until nearly midnight, so we still plenty of time to taste wines from the many Tarragona province producers present at the fair. There were also a few restaurants serving tapas and small plates such as fideuà that was delicious. I also enjoyed the rice with ox, which is apparently a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Bou de Reus mascot — a 3m long ox puppet that is paraded around during the Festa Major of Reus.
While I didn’t taste too many things that night, I somehow didn’t make it back to Hotel Gaudí where I was staying until nearly 2am. Right before leaving the fair I had a pour of the Gran Cruor from Casa Gran del Siurana in Priorat and took it with me to drink along the way. Thank God in Spain the laws about drinking in public are not like in the US, where I would have immediately gotten in trouble for walking around town with a glass of wine in tow!
On my way back I encountered a vibrant nightlife and quite a few nice restaurants, bars and terraces still full of people. And I remember thinking “Reus is awesome!”