IF IT'S FRIDAY AT NINE IT'S TIME FOR WINE!
Tony and The Guru leads you to the vineface
A NEW WAY TO VIEW THE WORLD OF WINE
Please remember to approach the world of wine responsibly
15 Questions for Joan Vendrell and Mas Goma
1: How has your day been so far?
It has been a very nice day as we had the visit of Jorge, a friend who is sommelier. In the morning we pruned together, first Macabeu and then Xarel·lo. My father and I explained to him the differences of pruning depending on the grape, type of soil, type of vine etc. and why we consider it so important. Later, we tasted some wines from the new vintages and coming launches. It is always very interesting to receive the feedback of both professionals and end costumers.
2: To those readers who are new to the wines of Mas Goma, how would you sum up your unique style, and how has this been cultivated over the years?
I am the fifth generation of Vendrell family working on the estate so our main goal is to express the essence of our indigenous grapes and unique limestone soil to our wines.
From organic and biodynamic viticulture, we work hard in the vineyards in order to harvest by hand a well-balanced grape.
From this quality grape we can produce with minimal intervention, without adding sulphites, fermenting with our indigenous yeasts, without neither filtration nor clarification. Our focus is on the grape more than in the winemaking process to get our unique expression, far from the most standard and industrial wines.
3: Do you feel that the depth of taste that Cava can bring to the sparkling wine market has often been overlooked?
When we started, our sparkling wines were part of the appellation Cava and honestly, this fact didn’t help to bring our natural and artisanal soul to the end costumer.
Personally, I think that sometimes appellations fit better with industrial classic wineries than a dynamic natural winery like us. We have the tradition of many generations working on our estate but at the same time we are a fresh and dynamic winery who wants to innovate and to regain old natural techniques. Two examples are our sparklings from ancestral method or orange wine that is producing white grapes in the same way that my grandfather did many decades ago.
4: If I was visiting the Bodega, where would be the best view and what might I see?
I hope that this pandemic time ends soon and we can again enjoy of personal meetings and trips. In this case, the visit would start in the house of Mas Gomà where my grandmother lives and it was built on 1724, it is the typical Catalan house from that time. After, we would have a walk to visit small chapel that is in the middle of our estate from 11th century. Then we would go up until the small hill where you can get the best view, seeing a big part of our region, El Penedès. We would finish the visit in our small winery where we would make a tasting there.
5: The reputation of Spanish wines (and food) has grown in the last decade. Was there a moment when you realised this, or was it a case of strategic planning to achieve success?
It is possible that for the more industrial wineries felt this and it helped to introduce their wines to the market.
In our case, we are in the world of natural wines where our partners and end costumers they don’t focus on appellations or regions and they see more the soul of the project itself.
6: On your website Mas Goma stress the application of the artisanal and natural. Particularly at the moment, when money is hard to come by, is it tempting to head towards mass-production and uniformity?
Yes, totally but what it makes feel good for us is to produce honest wines to get the maximum expression from our grapes and soil in a sustainable way.
It is probably much working on the land, but it full fills us so much!
7: Is wine a political tool?
I think that in all the sectors there are some people that has a strong power to influence.
8: Besides your own wonderful wines, what are those beautiful bottles that you seek out, and are they different depending upon the event?
In this moment, we have three brands under Mas Gomà winery. Vendrell Olivella, for the sparklings made with traditional method. Vendrell Olivella are the family names and is a tribute to all the generations who has been working on the estate.
On the other side, we have a l’alba al turó range which is the range of petnat. Its presentation reflects the idea of the product, more young fresh style.
Finally, there is the turó de l’ermita range where there is a white wine and orange wine where we want to reflect two main characteristics of our wines: quality and natural.
9: What food are the wines of Mas Goma mostly paired with, and what has been the most unusual pairing you have come across?
When we think how our wines will be, we see it in a gastronomic point of view. In which moment and with which kind of food an end costumer would enjoy the most.
The petnat range, l’alba al turó (white and red) we see more for an aperitif where you can find natural fruitiness from the grapes and the method without sugar.
On another hand, Vendrell Olivella La Planta brut pairs apart from aperitif, more for desserts. The rest of Vendrell Olivella range is highly gastronomic, which sometimes we make a surprise to the end customer, because they don’t think it can fit very well with main dishes like fish or meat.
Finally, turó de l’ermita white pairs more with seafood, fish or the typical paella in front of the Mediterranean Sea, a great experience if you come to Barcelona area.
10: Is there an average day for Joan Vendrell and what we it be like?
It is hard to say an average day as it is so different depending on the day and the period of the year. As small winery, I am in charge of almost everything so you can find me in many different situations: in our estate (even my uncle and my father works more there), working in the office with my computer on marketing, being in contact with an artist for the new labels, accounting, daily work... receiving a visit in our place, being in restaurants or wine bars in Barcelona presenting our products with our distributor or travelling around the world with our partners.
It is wonderful because I can take part of the whole process, from the vineyard to the end customer learning every year a lot. I feel so lucky to be in charge of a kind of project like this.
11: Is it possible to make an artistic wine at a low price?
No, it isn’t. Artistic wine it means a lot of work on the land, low yields, small quantity of bottles produced on the winery (so the structural costs per bottle are high). It is important to understand behind an artistic bottle of wine there is a lot of efforts and costs.
However, it can be possible to produce an artistic wine at a price point which is reasonable and affordable.
12: What was the last thing that made you laugh?
I live half of the time next to the winery, especially when is harvest time (from mid August until end of September) and half of the time in Barcelona city where I share an apartment with very close friends. All of us are young, positive and in a happy mood. So you can imagine how many funny daily situations happen there, even in this Covid period.
13: It’s lovely to see Xarel-lo featuring in your wines, but have you ever been tempted to try a variety of blends or varietals as a point of difference?
The still wine is 100% Xarel·lo as well our coming launch the Orange wine. We have part of the range made by different indigenous grapes: Petnat L’alba al turó 100% Macabeu, petnat L’alba al turó Rosee, 100% red grenache
Where we explored a blend is with the Vendrell Olivella range, the long ageing sparkling wines made with traditional method. We have La Planta and La Volta from Xarel·lo Macabeu and Parellada and L’absis and El Creuer with Xarel·lo and Macabeu.
It is a great idea to explore blends also in still wines. Actually, our idea in the coming years is to explore old indigenous grapes from our estate or our region like Malvasia de Sitges.
14: Are wine writers necessary, or are they a distraction because the winemaker and the customer?
The writers are essential for, especially, linking small producers that they don’t have this marketing department with end costumers. Without you and our partners would be almost impossible that winelovers and end costumers reach small wineries with small budget in marketing but big amount of soul which are far from the industrial and classic wineries.
15: Can you name one of your wines that you feel typifies Mas Goma in a glass, and why?
As you can imagine, our main goal is to bring it in all of them. If I have to mention one, I would say the Vendrell Olivella El Creuer. It is brut nature, without sugar added and with a lot of complexity from more than 40 months on the lees but at the same time, this limestone layer is still present thanks to mineral and salty flavours and freshness. It brings me to our estate immediately every time I taste it.
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