2016 Sicus Cartoixà
Region: Baix Penedès < Catalunya< Spain
Grape: Cartoixà (Xarel-lo)
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic/practicing biodynamic farming; 70-80 year-old vines on calcareous soil 6km from the sea; grapes were hand-harvested in early September, cold-macerated whole-cluster for 5 days in steel tank without pigeage, then the juice is drained into amphora for primary fermentation, and transferred back into tank for aging over winter; minimal So2 at vinification only; unfined; 10.5% ABV; 1000 BOTTLES
Winemaker: Eduard Pié Palomar
Eduard Pié Palomar is a trained oenologist, viticulturist and sommelier whose winemaking techniques are pretty radical -- but he doesn’t like radical wines, ones that taste like experiments. So, you won’t find any oxidation, funk, murk or other general weirdness in his wines – he’s adamant about that. Despite the fact that he works exclusively with anfora and ferments his wines IN THE VINEYARD ITSELF, in terra cotta vessels. Some amphorae are sunk in the ground between vineyard rows, where they spend the winter sealed, under rain, snow and grazing sheep. Because he wants the grapes to ferment only with wild yeasts from the vineyard, not those in the winery. This way, he says, "the wines breathe in the same soils in which they were grown, with the same vibrations." Now in the 11th vintage of his own label, Eduard is well-known in the natty wine circles of Spain, where most of his 1,250-case (6-packs not 12) production (total over 8 different wines!) is sold in the chic restaurants of Barcelona, with very little finding its way to the US. Lucky for us, we snagged a few 6-packs of his Sicus, old-vine Xarel-lo from a single vineyard named “El Mas”. It gets a gorgeous texture from a few days of skin contact, yet feels weightless and pure, like a crystal-clear mountain stream. And tastes like rocks after a spring rain, mixed with lemon Jolly Rancher-infused water and an exhilarating piney freshness. Probably our most favorite Spanish white wine to date.