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Enric Soler (Cal Raspallet)

Enric Soler is considered the iron knight of Xarel-lo. A resborte that, considered solo, often appears below its potential. It is usually hidden in the cuvée of a cava or (as so often in the past) completely overdone with too much wood.

From his time as a successful sommelier, Enric has come to realise and exploit the potential of the Xarel-lo recognised. Today he no longer works as a sommelier, but he passes on his knowledge to the next generation as a teacher. In his Catalonian homeland, in the Penedès, he inherited a vineyard and a small farmhouse from his grandfather. Today, he uses this as his residence and for the vinification of his small winery.

The little gem by Enric Soler

With just under three hectares and 6000 bottles of annual production, small is perhaps even an understatement. At Cal Raspallet, the name of the winery, is probably the oldest Xarel-lo vineyard on earth. At almost 80 years old, there are impressive, ancient vines on poor, calcareous and sandy soils. The vineyard - Vinya dels Taus - translated from Catalan, means something like "vineyard of molehills". For it is indeed covered with them in some phases. This poses no danger to the old vines. The roots protrude deep into the soil, so that the vines can be perfectly supplied with nutrients. In the background, there is a phenomenal view of the rugged Montserrat mountains. The Mediterranean, as a warm, moderating climatic factor, is also within reach.

Enric is advised oenologically by no less a person than Ester Nin. The world-famous Clos Erasmus as well as her own vineyard Nin-Ortiz are causing quite a stir in the nearby Priorat. Together, the two of them have also used the last few years to experiment with ageing. Amphorae and concrete eggs have also found a place in his small cellar. Since 2005, he has been cultivating his vineyards according to the guidelines of biodynamics.

Wine styles from Cal Raspallet

With one exception in the Cuvée Istiu it is an all-vineyard winery. Some aromatic Malvasia finds its way into it. Its Improvisacio is partly aged in the concrete eggs and with mash contact. A batch from used oak barrels brings freshness to this otherwise very lively wine. Expansive and multi-layered in texture.

The Espenyalluchs dispenses with the concrete egg and focuses exclusively on a purist and mineral mouthfeel. The old vines with low yields provide the basis for his top wine Now Vinya dels Taus. This can definitely be called the benchmark of this grape variety. The Now After fermentation in neutral containers, half of the wine is stored for 8 months in new 300-litre barrels and the other half in used ones. Complexity and freshness at the same time.

As a rule, the ratings in the relevant guides such as Wine Advocate or Guia Penin are very high and stocks sell out quickly. The wine delivers an almost salty, cool minerality. It impresses with elegance and depth with great storage potential. A few bottles in the cellar to mature definitely won't hurt.

Text and wine expertise: Marian Henß.