September is a month of bounty in the Priorat. Fall is in the air, and the grape harvest is in full swing. The almonds have been harvested, the fall garden planted, and the cycles of the moon are on everyone's mind. The calçots are to be planted on the full moon, the fava beans need to wait until Pilar. Everything has its time. For me, it is a month of wild activity, collecting grape skins as they become available. No two vineyards are alike, and each variety gets its unique flavor from location and handling. Enologists are busy surveying their vineyards, waiting for the perfect moment to call the harvest. It is both art and science. And I am waiting in the wings, ready to grab a batch of skins and dip my fabrics.
If you think all red wine is "red", think again. From Portal del Priorat I gathered grape skins from Tros de Clos, and the variety of color extracted speaks to the complexities involved cultivating a vineyard. To the left was a bath of cariñera/garnatxa blend, to the right a syrah. If you ever have the great pleasure of tasting the wines of Alfredo Arribas, I hope you can add to the experience a flash of color extracted through a simple infusion of water and skins left in the sun to simmer.
From Bodegas Mas Alta I got a batch of merlot/syrah blend, and in twenty four hours the skins gave me this majestic violet. Their garnatxa white was pressed the following day, and yielded a buttery yellow, the perfect complement to it's dark companion. Diane Pitsch and Bixente Oçafrain are a dynamic duo.
Also this week Ficaria Vins harvested their white garnatxa for Matraketa, their fabulous Montsant white. I have to be patient for the dark grapes, as we move at a different pace here in La Figuera.
The macabeu from El Molar, harvested with our friend Fredi Torres, also yielded a buttery yellow, slightly brighter, leaning towards the green. Each soil, each grape, each village carries unique characteristics, one of the many extraordinary things about the Priorat. And we are just starting the vendimia!
Also harvested this week: wild hops, figs, cactus fruit, almonds. Here are the results. Enjoy and stay tuned!