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Estrela label
Celler la Muntanya
Albir label

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Estrela label
Celler la Muntanya
Lluire Albir label

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Estrela label
Celler la Muntanya
Negre label

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Estrela label
Celler la Muntanya
Dolç label

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Wine Culture Connection

The Micro-Vineyard Project
Saving Tiny Vineyards in Mediterranean Europe

The Micro-Vineyard project (officially MicroVinya® or MicroViña®) is committed to rescuing and restoring small vineyard plots across Mediterranean Europe and making them economically viable. It is an initiative of a broader movement to defend the Mediterranean ecosystem, culture, and arts, officially a non-profit association called Elviart.

Before founding Celler la Muntanya Toni Boronat and Juan Cascant were heavily involved in Elviart, and participated in the international Elviart congresses. Juan is currently President of Elviart and speaks regularly around the world about both Elviart and the Micro-Vineyard movement.

MicroVinya® sealThe MicroVinya® project offers practical help and information to those interested in restoring and making small vineyard wine production viable. They also offer a Micro-Vineyard certification to wineries that meet the criteria developed by MicroVinya® for ethical wine production respectful of the local ecosystem.

Although the MicroVineyard movement is still in its youth, Celler la Muntanya was the pioneering winery to receive MicroVinya® certification. Other wineries in Spain and France have received certification or have shown interest in becoming MicroVinyes wineries.

Below are some of the aims of the movement:

  • Ethical commitment to the ecosystem
  • Regeneration of winegrower regions
  • Social and cultural regeneration
  • A bond between wine and art
  • Profitability for the “new” Farmer
  • Dissemination of information in local schools
  • Promotion of intelligent consumption
  • Interregional cooperation
  • Quality with respect for the environment
  • Bonds through shared knowledge
  • Recovery of the Mediterranean landscape
  • Recovery of native varieties
  • Wine and Art
    A Real World Connection

    While some may find the connection between wine and art a bit of a stretch, it makes plenty of sense within the context of Mediterranean history and culture; more broadly in the context of Western Culture, especially considering the sacramental place of wine in many Western religious ceremonies.

    Each Celler la Muntanya wine features an historic or notable poem on the label. Here the connection is not so much religious as how wine is an integral part of the rhythms of life in Mediterranean culture:

    From the Albir Label:
    How heavy were those empty glasses that they used to bring us. When filled with pure wine they lightened, and aimed to fly, like souls escape the body.
    Ibn Al Yamani (XIth Century)

    From the Lluire Albir Label:
    I want to remember those nights of joy and mourn the time that escapes. My life was then an explosion of green shoots in the garden where she brought me the bright wine of her eyes.
    Abu Issa Ibn Labbun, Lord de Morvedre (XIth Century)

    From the Negre Label:
    The harvest is ready, we will drink the young wine and it will calm so dark a mood, we will instantly clear our brain and our blood warm of home's heat.
    Joan Valls i Jorda

    From the Dolç Label:
    Where have hidden the stars that shone with me before? Where are the nights I used to share with you when the dawn used to cheerfully come?
    What a joy when you gave me that glass of golden wine that in flame it burned me like a flame of carob.
    Ibn Labbun (XIIth Century)

    Translated from the Valenciano into English by María Alvarez and Justin Berlin.

       
    Wines & Wineries

    Celler la Muntanya
    Micro-Vineyard Wines of Muro, Alicante

    Jump to wine!

    Overhead view of micro vineyards in Muro, Alicante; given new life by Celler la Muntanya and the Microvineyard project. Imagery: 2/14/2012. Google Maps © 2012 Cnes/Spot Image, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, TerraMetrics, Map data ©2012 Tele Atlas
    Overhead view of micro-vineyards in Muro, Alicante; given new life by Celler la Muntanya and the Micro Vineyard project. Imagery: 2/14/2012. Google Maps © 2012 Cnes/Spot Image, DigitalGlobe, GeoEye, TerraMetrics, Map data © 2012 Tele Atlas.

    Celler la Muntanya is a powerful vision of winemaking that joins micro-vineyard growers, organic practices, cultural heritage and economic sustainability to create outstanding wines. At once romantic and practical Celler la Muntanya was founded in 2003 out of the passion of two friends, Toni Boronat, a textiles entrepreneur and Juan Cascant, an architectural draftsman.

    They began by rescuing, restoring and sometimes replanting abandoned and neglected local vineyards. The next step in seeing their vision come to reality was the creation of their own small winery in 2005. Their focus from the start was to restore the cultural values and the ecosystem of their home town region, Muro, which is in the Comtat Valley situated in the mountains of Alicante—south of Valencia and inland from Spain's eastern Mediterranean coast.

    At its core, the concept is simple: source grapes from a mix of outstanding local micro-vineyards and create high quality wines at a small, centralized winery with the help of world class experts. Include organic practices, respect for tradition and pay each of the local growers fair rates for the quality of their produce and you have an ecologically, culturally and economically sustainable circle of wine production. And that is what Celler la Muntanya is all about.

    Left to right: Celler la Muntanya Founders Toni Boronat and Juan Cascant with winemaker and viticulturist Marc Pérez out in the vineyards.  Photo: © 2011 Celler la Muntanya.
    Left to right: Celler la Muntanya Founders Toni Boronat and Juan Cascant with winemaker and viticulturist Marc Pérez out in the vineyards. Photo: © 2011 Celler la Muntanya

    To help the winery succeed at the highest quality level, Toni and Juan approached José Luis Pérez, one of Spain's greatest winemakers and a top expert on Mediterranean viticulture to help them with vineyard restoration. The compelling nature of the project led José Luis to become involved and his innovative viticultural techniques have become part of Celler la Muntanya's vineyard resusitation program.

    Later joining the team on a more day to day basis were, José Luis's son, Adrià Pérez Ovejero, a star winemaker and viticulturist in his own right at Priorat's Cims de Porerra, and José Luis's nephew Marc Pérez Pérez, a highly skilled winemaker and viticulturist at Priorat's Mas Martinet.

    Adria serves as Technical Coordinator ensuring that all technical work is done with the precision required to produce world class wine and Marc manages tasting and sensory control, which is especially important due to the diversity of plots and grape varieties they work with.

    The winery works with more than 35 different micro-vineyards in the area. They include: “Viña El Gallego”, “Viña del Boro”, “Viña de Eladio”, “Viña El Tunel”, “Viña del Cesar”, Viña Malvasia de Pepe” Each plot has its own name and distinctive character and all are tended employing organic practices. Many are very old—as much as 100 years old, some perhaps older but without documentation.

    White grape varieties include: Malvasía, Meseguera, Macabeo, and Garnacha Blanca. Red varieties include: Garnatxa (Garnacha/Grenache), Giró/Garnatxa del país (local strains of Garnacha/Grenache), Monastrell (Mourvèdre), Garnatxa Tintorera (Alicante Bouche), Bobal, Bonicaire (rescued from disappearance in the region). Each plot is manually harvested. Each variety is vinified separately in small tanks, using natural yeasts, gravity without pumping over and soft or no filtration. The winery also produces organic, fair trade olive oils.

    This diagram encapsulates Celler la Muntanya's wholistic approach to sustainable wine production in their local area of Muro, Alicante and across the Mediterranean as seen in thier work in the Microvinya movement and the wider efforts of Elviart (see sidebar at right).
    This diagram encapsulates Celler la Muntanya's wholistic approach to sustainable wine production in their local area of Muro, Alicante and across the Mediterranean as seen in thier work in the Microvinya movement and the wider efforts of Elviart (see sidebar at right).
    © 2012 Cellar la Muntanya

    Vine cultivation and winemaking traditions in the area date back to Roman times, and along with olive oil production were integral parts of the rhythms of Mediterranean life. Valenciano is the native language spoken here, and is similar to Catalan, spoken further up the coast. See the Wine and Art sidebar a right for insight into the ancient way of life here.

    The region had been a successful wine producer and flourished after Phylloxera struck France in the 1870s. But demand for fine wine waned once French vineyards began to recover around the turn of the century. The decisive blow occurred in 1911 when Phylloxera struck Muro, devastating wine production. Higher quality, lower yielding vineyards were abandoned or uprooted, leaving primarily lower quality, high yielding vineyards as the last remnants of production in the area, primarily to supply local coops with bulk wine.

    Now more than 100 years since Phylloxera struck Muro, recovery of its fine wine tradition is finally on track thanks in large part to the passion and efforts of Celler la Muntanya.

    Celler la Muntanya has received recognition and support from Slow Food València, the regional chapter of Italy's Slow Food movement, for their sustainable and ecologically responsible vineyard work and philosophy. Slow Food ValènciaThey have also received impressive reviews from leading wine publications, including the Peñin Guide in Spain, and Wine & Spirits magazine in the US.

    The power of Toni and Juan's vision and their pioneering efforts to make it a reality have also put Celler la Muntanya in the forefront of the burgeoning Micro-vineyard movement. See the Wine Culture Connection at right for more on Juan's leadership in the Micro-vineyard movement in Spain and the world.

    For those interested in wines that are truly expressive of their place of origin—encompassing both centuries of tradition and the best of modern methods—the wines of Celler la Muntanya offer a profound look into the heart of Mediterranean Spain.

    WINES FROM CELLER LA MUNTANYA

    Albir 2010, White $24
    Order Now from our retail partner Despaña Vinos y Mas
    This lively white offers a beguiling mix of freshness, complexity and flavorful body. It is is a clear straw color and the nose is replete with pear, delicate honeyed apple and melon scents topped with slatey mineral and wild herb tones. The palate is succulent with pear and white peach flavors that meld into more predominate green mellon tones. Hints of vanilla, tarragon, sage and a nutmeg inflected bite ride into the supple, lingering finish. A refreshing and distinctive Mediterranean white blend.
    Serve with a range of Mediterranean fare from Caprese salad to sometimes tricky to pair with tomato based-pastas—which really come alive with this wine—to country pork sausage with fennel seed.
    90 Points and ***** (excellent quality/price ratio) —Peñin Guide

    Tech Details:
    483 cases produced. Blend: 50% Malvasía, 25% Merseguera, 15% Macabeo & 10% Verdil
    Partial oak aging: The Malvasía and Merseguera are elaborated and aged for 6 months in French oak (300 and 2,000 litre oak vats). The Macabeo and Verdil are fermented in stainless steel, and half is aged in French oak barrels.

    Lliure Albir 2009, White $56
    Order Now from our retail partner Despaña Vinos y Mas
    This super low production barrel-aged white is among Spain's elite whites in richness, class and character. Fine pineapple, peach and apricot aromas are interwoven with soft vanilla and delicate anise into mint tones. The palate is at once crisp and ample with pineapple and honeydew mellon flavors enriched by subtle dried honey, caramel, lemon curd, tarragon, chlorophyll and chalk nuances. The finish is long and rich. An exceedingly well-integrated, full flavored white.
    Serve with a creamy truffled celery root soup, sage butter pasta, veal chops with garlic and herbs or on its own for meditative enjoyment.
    93 PointsPeñin Guide

    Tech Details:
    65 cases produced. Blend: 50% Garnatxa Blanca, 25% Malvasía & 25% Macabeo
    Aged 8 months in French oak.

    Negre 2009, Red $24
    Order Now from our retail partner Despaña Vinos y Mas
    This juicy and flavor rich red offers up the elegant side of Mediterranean wine. Bright ruby purple in color the bouquet is bursting with red cherry flavors along with notes of raspberry, plum and savory aromatic herbs. On the palate it is lively and balanced with a supple mouthfeel and smooth waves of cherry and fresh crushed blackberry flavors. Subtle hints of pine needles, black olive, nutmeg, pepper and clay add dimension to the effortless fruit core. Fine tannins carry into the long soft finish. We believe the use of the endangered Bonicaire grape helps create the bright cherry lift that makes this wine so special.
    Serve this flexible red with a wide range of fare from cured meats, to crispy thin crust pizza, to savory ragouts, herbed pork chops to hamburgers with roasted red peppers or steak frites.
    92 PointsWine & Spirits
    93 Points and ***** (excellent quality/price ratio) —Peñin Guide

    Tech Details:
    Approx. 2500 cases produced. Blend: 65% Monastrell, 10% Giró (Garnatxa del País), 10% Garnatxa Tintorera (Alicante Bouschet), 8% Bobal & 7% Bonicaire
    6 months of aging in mixed age French oak.

    Dolç 2009, Sweet White 375ml $39.90
    Order Now from our retail partner Despaña Vinos y Mas
    A remarkably silky and filigreed dessert white. A top note of white flower is followed by a core of pear, apricot and honey scents. The palate is smooth, fine and bright with delicate apricot, honey and caramel flavors, with a kiss of citrus, chalk and barrel toast nuance. Lively acidity and moderate sweetness gives this wine an airy, expansive mouthfeel that simply glides into a long, fine apricot finish. The character of the 65+ year old vines this wine is made from clearly shine through. Outstanding for those that don't like their dessert wines too sweet.
    Serve with classic custardy fruit tarts, from apricot, pear or apple to plum, citrus or even kiwi; lemony almond cake or simply with fresh fruit or berries.
    92 PointsPeñin Guide

    Tech Details:
    62 cases produced (12 bottle cases of 375ml). Blend: 100% Malvasía. 16.2 °Brix (sweetness level).
    Aged on lees for 9 months; ten months in second use French oak barrels.

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