There is something unique about the terruño of Penedès and Agustí Torello Roca is on a quest to showcase it. Through single parcels and the most respectful of farming and winemaking, Agustí is here to reveal the soul of the Alt Penedès.
Agustí founded Anima Mundi in 2015 with this guiding principle: through keen observation of the land, one is able to display the true expression of grape and place. In addition to Anima Mundi, Agustí is the head winemaker for his family's winery AT Roca, which focuses on terroir-driven champagne-method sparkling wines within the newly formed D.O. Classic Penedès and at their new project, Sileo, which focuses on expressing the terruño of Cornudella in Montsant with wines of Garnacha and Cariñena. Anima Mundi, however, is a dream realized by Agustí outside of Spain’s appellation designations, and he is the lone driver of this project in a small corner of the family’s winery and vineyards, planted near the 11th century Benedictine monastery of Sant Sebastià dels Gorgs.
Anima Mundi is a theory of Plato’s, first described in his dialogue Timaeus: “we may consequently state that: this world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence...a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related.” Often called the theory of the “soul of the world,” Plato imagines this soul as the expression of the unity of the orderly natural world and the sum of its relationships: the vital force that expresses our bonds to nature and each other and a holistic vision of nature and humanity that inspires reverence for the world, nature, and our place within it. Agustí, for his part, believes wine also has the power to convey this soul of the world: as the revelator of the soil, the living things, and the human traditions of a place – and the complex relationships between these that animate traditional viticulture. To Agustí, wine is more than a beverage, and each bottle expresses the anima mundi, rooted in these Penedès vineyards.
The vineyards are in the Costers d’Ordal and have extremely calcareous soils due to the influence of the nearby Garraf Massif. The area is located between Sant Sadurni d’Anoia (where their winery is currently located) and Vilafranca del Penedès. Above the ancient monastery, the landscape is a tapestry of mixed and varied soils and different microclimates along eroded valleys created by the many streams and rivers flowing west from the sheltering, calcareous Garraf Massif and the Mediterranean Sea.
Intent on displaying the true essence of these particular microclimates of Penedès, Agustí works without any additions (including sulfur) or interventions in the winery; he uses clay anfora, concrete and used French oak barrels for fermentations and aging; and the finished wines are not fined or filtered. All fruit for this project comes from their certified organic estate vineyards, as Agustí believes that lively wines can only come from lively soils. Of the mindset that the ancestral method is also the truest way to showcase terroir, all of the sparkling wines are made in this style, but Agustí ages the Noguer Baix in bottle – a rarity in the wide world of Petillant Naturel-style wines.
These are profound wines of nuance and clarity that express the unity of human viticultural tradition, nature, climate, and soil. Indeed, they can be understood as the incarnate product of those relationships, a small piece of the “soul of the world,” from the terruño of the Alt Penedès.
Cami dels Xops is a blend of Macabeu and Xarel-lo from two adjoining parcels. The grapes are wild yeast fermented in stainless steel tanks and old 225L French oak barrels, and bottled before primary fermentation has completely finished (with about 20g/L sugar) in the métode ancestral style.
Noguer Baix is from a single, north-facing Macabeu vineyard of the same name, planted in 1974. The grapes are fermented in 600L clay amphora using natural yeasts, and bottled before primary fermentation has completely finished (with about 20g/L residual sugar) in the métode ancestral style.
Gres is from vineyards of Xarel-lo planted between 1956 and 1974 in Sant Sebastià dels Gorgs in the Alt Penedès. The soils are highly calcareous, but feature a remarkable amount of sandstone as well, and are cultivated according to organic and biodynamic principles. The grapes are hand harvested, then 1/3 are direct pressed and fermented and aged in 500L used French oak barrels; 1/3 are direct pressed into clay amphorae; and 1/3 ferment on the skins for 14 days and are aged in stainless steel. All three parts rest for 6 months on their lees before blending and bottling. No sulfur is used during the process, and there is no fining or filtration.
Xarel-lo is from a single, north-facing vineyard named “Vinya del Boet Vell,” planted in 1978. The grapes are skin-macerated for 48 hours before pressing into old 500L French oak barrels and 600L clay amphorae to ferment with natural yeasts, where the wine ages for about 8 months without any stirring.
Pells is 100% Macabeu from a single, northeast-facing vineyard named “Vinya de la Caseta,” planted in 1969. The grapes are spontaneously fermented in a used 225L French oak barrel and 600L clay amphora with around 90 days on the skins. After racking, the wine ages for 6 months without any stirring.