12-10-2015

Talking about the Vinari Awards 2015

For those outside of Catalonia, the Vinari Awards may not be that well-known but here in the region, they’ve become the top yearly awards in the wines and, as people are often wont to exaggerate are called the “Oscars of Catalan wine”. No idea as to how the Oscars™ feels about that.

While invited, I was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict (essentially a late train at the end of a wine tour) and so I had to watch it from afar, receiving the list of the top winners over the weekend. Following are the top awards:

Grand Gold

Clos de Peguera – Vermell de Peguera 2013

Gold

Young white wines Coma d’en Bonet – Prohom Blanc Ecològic 2014
White wines with barrel aging – Vinyes dels Aspres – Blanc dels Aspres 2013
Rosés Buil & Giné – Giné Rosat 2014
Young red wines Clos de Peguera – Vermell de Peguera 2013
Red wines with a maximum of 12 months in barrel Sumarroca – Sumarroca Bòria 2011
Red wines with more than 12 months in barrel Marco Abella – Clos Abella 2010
Young sparking wines Grau Dòria – Grau Dòria Brut 2013
Rosé sparkling wines Canals Canals – Marta Passió reserva 2012
Reserve sparkling wines (15+ months of aging) Alella Vinícola – Marfil Blanc de Negre Brut 2010
Grand Reserve sparkling wines (30+ months of aging) Rimart – Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2011
Antique Reserve sparkling wines (50+ months aging) Carol Vallès – Guillem Carol Gran Reserva Millenium 2006
Sweets, Rancis, and Dessert wines Cooperatiu d’Espolla – SoliSerena Garnatxa d’Empordà

This list is overall surprising. There are a number of wines here that aren’t often the protagonists of “best Catalan wine” conversations. It’s not a surprise that there are two Priorat wines in the list but it is surprising that one of them is a rosé and from Buil & Giné of all places. The best long term aged wine from Marco Abella is also a bit surprising and while it’s a fine wine, naming it the best in the category is something of a shock and begs the question as to how many Priorat wineries submitted their top wine to the category?

The sparkling category is essentially a stew to me. This bounces around between several cellars in Penedès and while I have a new respect for Cava these days, I wouldn’t be able to tell you which is “the best” other than to say, Turó d’en Mota.

It’s quite difficult to see Sweets, Rancis, and Dessert wines all judged together as invariably a Grenache-based sweet from Empordà will win every time. This is natural given that they’re excellent. What’s unnatural is to judge them with other dessert wines such as Moscatell or Vi Ranci. These are very different styles of wines and need to be taken in their own context.

Then as to the top winner, I’m quite shocked. I’ve never heard of this Clos de Peguera. They don’t even have a proper website to link to. Of course I only know about 10 cellars from DO Conca de Barberà with a good degree of familiarity so it’s no shock that there was something lurking out there that is apparently of an extremely high quality. Of course it’s great to see that it’s made from Mourvèdre (Monastrell in Catalan) which gets hardly any attention, especially when compared with such a strong player this grape is just across the border in France. Also of note is that it’s a “vermell” wine which, while meaning “red” in Catalan does not mean that it’s a red wine which in Catalan is “black” wine. This is an older style of winemaking somewhere between a rosé and a red and is interesting, when it’s found.

More tasting will be required in the future. Shucks.