Suriol Vins Catalans with Heart and Soul
The Suriol Family
*Thanks to José Pastor and Chris Barnes for the following:
It’s a family affair at Cellers de Can Suriol, an estate that manages to embody tradition while producing some of the most delicious Cavas and still wines as naturally as possible. “Naturally” in this case means working only with their collita propia (own vineyards) and certified organic grapes, no added commercial yeasts or enzymes, very little sulfur additions, and no dosage, or sugar addition, at bottling of their Cavas. In short, Suriol is the real deal.
The Suriol family has lived and made wine in the same masia, the Castell de Grabuac, in Font-Rubí, Penedés, since the 15th century. Their 25 hectares of vineyards are divided up into 20 different microplots and surround the masia. Located in the Alt Penedés, the higher elevation winegrowing area of the region, the Suriol vineyards are planted at 250 to 350 meters altitude on "heavy limestone" clay-calcareous soils. The family works with the native grapes Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarlel-lo to produce the Cavas and blancos, and Ull de Llebre (the local clone of Tempranillo), Cariñena, Garnacha, and Sumoll for the tintos and rosats. Having always been farmers of a variety of crops, not just grapes, it was in the early 1900’s, after phylloxera and civil war that the Suriol’s focused their efforts exclusively on grape growing. Originally, the family made wine for themselves and to sell to local tavernas. It was not until 1985 that, under the leadership of the patriarch Francesc, the family started working seriously to produce Cava and bottling their own sparkling wines. Their vineyards have been always worked organically, with certification arriving in 1998.
The Suriol’s are located in the middle portion of Alt Penedés, which is the sweet spot for Xarel-lo, with Macabeo excelling at the lower elevations and Parellada at the higher elevations. The Suriol’s have a small plot of 80 year old Xarlel-lo vines called Els Bancals, which they use for grafting their new plantings via massale selection, and also to make a small production white. The best plots of Xarel-lo are fermented and aged in large Castanyer (chestnut) barrels, an age-old tradition in the area that the family is reviving. Soon we will see a 100% Xarel-lo Cava made in this manner.
In the Celler, the lively and passionate son Assís Suriol is in in charge of the winemaking. All the wines are fermented –by parcel- with wild yeasts in stainless steel vats. The fermented wine is racked to underground concrete tanks where the malolactic fermentation occurs over the winter without added bacteria. This allows the must to stabilize and clarify naturally. The wine is then racked again and bottled. The Cavas rest on the fine lees until sale. In some cases, the wine can spend as much as ten years or more on the lees for the Gran Reserva wines.
All of Suriol’s work in the vineyard and in the cellar equate to remarkable expressions of their place and their family’s long history of winegrowing. These are true Vins Catalans with heart and soul.
Suriol Brut Nature: From 3 different certified organic plots of native grapes average age 25 years old; the cuvée is comprised of 40% Macabeo from La Plana, 30% Xarel-lo from L’Hort, and 30% Parellada from Les Carbasses. The wine is fermented with wild yeasts -by parcel- in stainless steel vat with natural malolactic fermentation occurring in underground concrete tanks during the winter after the harvest. The wine is then racked and bottled, where it rests on the lees until sale. This is a lovely Cava with rich flavors, freshness, and an elegant balance between fine bubbles and notes of bread yeast, honey and citrus. 2,700 cases produced
Suriol Castanyer Brut Nature: From 2 different certified organic plots of native grapes average age 25 years old; the cuvée is comprised of 80% Macabeo from La Plana, and 20% Xarel-lo from El Bosc. The wine is fermented with wild yeasts -by parcel- with the Macabeo done in stainless steel vat and Xarlel-lo in chestnut barrels. Natural malolactic fermentation occurrs in underground concrete tanks for the Macabeo and chestnut for the Xarel-lo over the winter after the harvest. The wine is then racked, blended, and bottled, where it rests on the lees until sale (usually 50 to 60 months). This is a full bodied and very gastronomic Cava with rich flavors, fine bubbles, and developed notes of brioche, salted marcona almonds and yellow fruits. 600 cases produced
Suriol Negre: From 2 different certified organic plots of native grapes average age 20 years old; the cuvée is comprised of 60% Ull de Llebre (the local clone of Tempranillo) from El Pelegrí, and 40% Garnacha from Els Lladoners. The wine is fermented with wild yeasts -by parcel- in stainless steel vats with natural malolactic fermentation occurring in concrete tanks during the winter after the harvest, where it sits anywhere from 6 to 10 months before bottling. This is a very aromatic, light to medium bodied and fresh tinto, with notes of mountain herbs, red fruits, and citrus, with a pleasant tannic bite. 1,125 cases produced
NEWS & EVENTS
Portfolio Tasting is booked-August 20th at Haven's Kitchen-109 West 17th Street (3rd Floor), 11am-4pm
-Brea Chardonnay (sustainably-farmed, naturally-fermented from Santa Barbera) is on the way-see our "occasional blog".
-Nice write-up and interview with Nicolas Gonin-http://wassermanwine.com
-Lots of new wines-2012 Tinhof Neuburger, 2007 Peciña Crianza, 2011 Verasol, 2011 Viña Ilusion, 2011 Anjou reds from Cedric Garreau and many more have arrived!