My love of food stems from time around the Catalan family table. All the ingredients were local, everything was fresh and our dishes had an intensity that was both honest and comforting. Wine was no different, we drank from local cellars, their wines had personality and authenticity treating the palate in every sip.
When I opened La Cuina I wanted the wine list to transmit the same values as the restaurant menu. I believe in provenance, in quality and in paying a fair price for a job well done. All of the wines on our list come directly from those local cellars; they are the wines served at Catalan family tables just as my family did.
Two of our wines come from a micro cellar called Mas de la Cacadora in the Montsant region of Catalunya. Monstant is the neighbour to the famous premium region Priorat and is known for its intense earthy reds. If you pay a visit to Mas de la Cacadora you will be warmly greeted by Joan Pujades; you may think you have the wrong address as before you stands a village house in the main street of the village Els Guiamets. You are in the right place, Joan will lead you down a small flight of stairs to the winery, the basement of his auntie’s house.
Joan will tell you, with a glimmer in his eye “I am from the vineyard, it’s where I love to be, giving the vines what they need”. He spent most of his childhood in the vineyard, even when the family had to move to Barcelona he would return at weekends to be among the vines. Curiously, even with this innate passion, he chose to study Business at Barcelona University, however on completion his roots called him back and he began his studies in winemaking.
His auntie lent her basement space to use as a winery and he began to place wines on his family table. More and more people came to taste these wines and then in 2004 the first bottles were commercially released. His affirmation “I am from the vineyard” is reflected in every bottle, he is resolute in not using chemical intervention from vine to bottle. The vines decide the style and flavour. Joan manages just 12 hectares and has developed a much loved range of wines and loyal followers. He’s modest, humble and will always tell you that he is just happy to be making his own style of wine and (in his words) “luckily” this is enjoyed by those buy his wines.
We stock two wines from his Rosa La Guapa range (we will tell their story in a future blog post). The red is seductively smooth and intense composing of 90% Carinyena (Carignan), 5% Garnatxa Negre (red Grenache) and 5% Merlot. Its elegance comes from 10 months in French oak and is an absolute delight with our mountain lamb. The white is highly original! 98% white Grenache and 2% Moscatel d’Alexandria. It bursts on the palate with significant body. It is a young wine but has been aged on its lees (yeasts), this gives it the bigger feeling on the palate. Pairing this wine with food is most enjoyable.