Organic? Biodynamic? Women in wine? Castell D’Age, from Penedes in Catalunya, must be right up there as a hashtagger’s dream winery. I met this brilliant team when they were attending the Millsime Bio Organic Wine Fair in Montpellier late in January 2018. Top wines, top people, and the story to boot. I couldn’t not do a quick blog, could I?
Based on the Barcelona side of the Cava heartland of San Sadurni, Castell D’Age was all about Girl Power way before Cowell and Fuller got hold of us in the 1990s. 3rd generation owner, Olivia Junyent, beamed with pride as she told me the story of her grandmother planting their first vines in the 1960s.
As with many growers at that time, and still now, it was in order to grow top quality grapes to sell to the big producers of the area. Building and running a winery takes some serious coin. In 1988, however, that all changed. It was then that they were certified organic, and decided to make their own wine in the same year.
In 2011 they became biodynamic, using natural methods to reinvigorate the soils and vines to promote their own natural protection. From that, they now produce a range of Cavas, from dry to a bit sweeter, and young and fresh to a bit more aged, as well as some still, dry wines from Catalunya’s hall of fame grapes: Garnacha, Garnacha Blanca, and Xarel-lo.
Whenever you walk around a room full of organic wine producers, you can’t help but hear echos of the words “honest wines”. That’s what everyone is aiming to do. Biodynamic winemaking unquestionably brings out the best in the ground and plant and, Olivia says, in the better years produce such clean wines that they can get away with not adding any sulphur dioxide in the winery, another bold measure to further let the wine express the vine it came from. Only in the good years though. Even the most ardent supporters of more naturally produced wines have to show a bit of pragmatism now and again.
Castell D’Age are currently without a UK importer, but we’ll hopefully be able to have them over soon to showcase their wines at a tapas bar near you!