It helped having some decent wines to taste too. Step forward Artemayor that, in addition to a couple of fine cavas showed some still wines too.
First up Cava Artemayor Brut Nature (Brut Nature being the driest style of cava this has just 1.5g/l of residual sugar) offering plenty of apple and toasty flavours with a touch of smokiness, although I wasn’t sure if that was from standing next to a steam engine… this is Dominio De La Vega’s entry in the 50 Great Cavas, described in their list as having a “Buttery nose with light pineapple, peach, and pastry. Velvety mouthfeel. Peach, carmelly lemon confit & wood on the palate”. A blend of 60% Macabeo and 40% Chardonnay.
The Cavas and The Wines of Artemayor
I was rather taken with the orange labelled Dominio De La Vega Cava Brut Reserva Especial – this has a touch more Macebeo than the Brut Nature (Macabeo 70%, Chardonnay 30%) that a more stony-fruit edge to the flavours; plenty of apricots and creamy edges. Being a Brut there is a touch more sweetness than the Brut Nature – 8g/l residual if you like the technical stuff.
Cant say the still red made from Bobal really made much of an impression, despite its colourful, funky label. Seemed a little light for my taste and simple berry flavours with inky edges. Its from 35-45 year old vines apparently, has seen some oak and apparently “goes deliciously well with chocolate and red jam”… More impressive and interesting was the Vino de Artmayor. Again made from Bobal this is actually a blend of three vintages 2005, 2006 and 2007. Each vintage comes from the “La Beata” plot of vines that are well over 95 years old. The bottle is a heavy-weight. This, coupled with the wines hearty, powerful, dense palate seemed to have an affinity with some of the chunkier metal-work lying about the museum. A bottle managed to make it back home in my suitcase. On a cold, rain-lashed late autumn day it accompanied a stew of Merguez sausages, beans and tomatoes rather deliciously.
Incidentally, Bobal, comes from the grape bunches resemblance to a bull’s head (The Latin word bovale means bull).
What would have made the tasting even better was actually holding it in one of the museums carriages; there is a fine 1950’s first class panoramic-window carriage that you can go into that would have been ideal. While looking a little shabby now – as to many things born in the ’50’s – I couldn’t see a problem but apparently the museum was worried over spilt wine… as if THAT ever happens at a wine tasting!
More photos from the visit to the Museu del Ferrocarril de Catalunya are on SpittoonExtra.