André's Travel Log

Summer Spain Trip 2006

May 23, 2006

A road trip through northern Spain. Hanging out and chatting w/ Joan Esteve Nadal made me think about history and its implication. Joan is the patriarch of Caves Avinyó in Penedes.

As I was thinking about these ideas Joan was explaining the evolution of his family and their farm. What was crazy was that Joan in his 70's wasn't speaking about his past but a past that encompassed generations of Esteve's. It was as if he was being clairvoyant and speaking through his ancestors. He spoke of the innovations of his family going back to his ancestors... as if he had been around then. It was a telling moment that reaffirmed for me the reason for this venture called De Maison Selections that I started ten years ago.

May 24, 2006

In Catalonia, on the way to Rioja. Our first two days were filled with excitement. Nobody had ever seen Priorat and the truth is when you see these craggily mountains with crazy old vines, it is a wonderful thing for us in the trade.

Priorat is one of the most arresting viticultural landscapes on earth. Steep cliffs of raw brittle slate jutting down into dry riverbeds. Putting aside the stunning landscape remains the questions of terruno. No doubt it is there but how do the different villages such as Gratallops, Torroja, Porrera and the likes influence this magical area? I don't know. Obviously the soils at the top are all slate and the best. But then there is the exposure, winds and other factors. As the wines improve and winemakers find their way differences may become more apparent or not. Now the differences continue to be vinification, cooperage and coupage.