The goodness of Celler Frisach
Another winery we were pleased to make the acquaintance of at the DO Terra Alta tasting in Barcelona two weeks ago was Celler Frisach. They’re a three year-old winery with a lengthy family tradition of winemaking. They cull their grapes from 40 hectares of vineyards that they own down in Corbera d’Ebre. While most of what they grow is Grenache (yay!) they also have Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo, and Carignan. Their vineyards range from 15 to 50 years old, which is always a difference that you can taste in the glass. Also something you can taste in the glass is the fact that they farm organically and they apply a general, “don’t screw with it” method when it comes to making their red and white wines.
Selecció 2011 is 100% White Grenache. That’s always an interesting start, but what makes this wine more interesting is the fact that it’s produced from two harvests of the vineyard. I’ve seen this method popping up here and there throughout Catalonia, but it’s usually to contend with a bad growing year. Such is not the case with Frisach who normally harvest this way for the white. The result is naturally a wine with a bit of a dual personality. There are great, fruity touches of pear all over the place, but they’re floating on top of a great deal of mineral elements as well that are stronger. It definitely works though and makes for a very interesting white wine. 13% 5€
Cupatge 2011 is another interesting wine made from their oldest vineyards. It’s 50% Grenache with a good degree of 40% Carignan–always a happy marriage–and 10% Merlot. Instead of blending in the cellar though, they make the blend in the field during picking, which is actually how it was done generations ago. So, instead of a shotgun marriage at the tanks, you get more of a loving courtship wherein the grapes get to know each other through every step of fermentation and bottling. It’s a young wine that sees no oak aging. While bright in the glass with a nice brace of acidity (most likely from that 10% of Merlot), it’s surprisingly spicy and mature in the body with a clean finish that gives a touch of sweetness to it. Enjoyable and quite happy to pair with just about anything you’d like to toss at it. 14% 5€