In the tiny Spanish Catalan town of Nulles, all of this happened one enchanted evening while paying a visit to this cooperative of 94 members selling Cava and still ones to the domestic and international marketplace.
“Welcome,” says Pere Gomes, Director for Marketing and Communications at the Adernats cooperative. It is a warm summer evening and we stand in front of the nearly 100 year old winery – created in 1917 – and hear its unique history from Pere as well as two young historians and supporters of the cooperative, Alex Royo and Francesc Boronat.
After a delightful reception inside the cooperative gift shop, the young men take us on a stroll …
Stroll in the Vineyard
When people fantasize about the vineyards of the Penedes, they probably think about quaint country roads, flowers spring forth from ancient stone walls, and beautiful vines.
Our stroll in the vineyard was like this! Even better, for the Vinicola team set up a little table with stemware and wine for us to sip!
Many surprises await us at the winery! We are led inside the vat room, which is illuminated with dozens of candles.
According to Pere, this idea came from the “new generation” at the winery – most or all sons of the cooperative shareholders – who wanted to breathe new life into the coop.
They had this idea of “food, wine, and culture” and on the first Friday of every month, offer a tour and tasting of the winery that is quite unconventional. Think “haunted house” …
… mainly because the journey starts out in a dimly lit vat room, with candles all around. As the tour leader talks about the unique architecture of the building (designed to help air circulate because of the carbon dioxide) we sip yet another type of wine. Here we are told that on the right side of the building the tanks date from 1917, and on the left, 1969.
Suddenly, a “monk” pounds at the door and bursts into the room with a flaming torch, quickly illuminating the unlighted torches in the room.
Before he leaves, he deposits a scroll and a pitcher on a low table.
“What is this,” says the leader, picking up the scroll and reading a message about wine, happiness, and health. As he says the word “happiness” the DJ kicks in and we hear the Beatles singing “I want to hold your hand.”
Then the leader pours us a pine-scented wine from the pitcher – an experiment from one of the winery workers.
Their still wines are bottled as D.O. Tarragona or D.O. Catalunya and the cooperative controls 400 HA of vineyards and bottle 15% of their total production. The rest is sold off as bulk wine.
Luxury Dinner Amidst the Vats
From this point we go to dinner to learn more about the cooperative. It is based in the tiny village of Nulles, and their sparkling wines are bottled as D.O. Cava.
“Everything served tonight was sourced within a kilometer of our winery,” Pere says, as we begin the first course, a delicious sardine and vegetable dish paired with Adernats Seduccio 2012, 100% xarel-lo.
Between the courses we play a fun food and wine guessing game, with the participants blindfolded and forced to guess what we are drinking and eating. It turns out be a rose blend (merlot and tempranillo) and fruit kabob.
Dinner concludes with a delicious lamb dish …
The company’s situation is very good … in 2011 sales increased 45%, and they are constantly expanding markets in new countries. They are also customizing wines. Very pleased to experience this cooperative, discuss the interesting labels with Pere, and taste their excellent wine!