Suriol Vins Catalans with Heart and Soul
It’s a family affair at Cellers de Can Suriol, an estate that manages to embody tradition while producing some of the most delicious Cavas and still wines as naturally as possible. “Naturally” in this case means working only with their collita propia (own vineyards) and certified organic grapes, no added commercial yeasts or enzymes, very little sulfur additions, and no dosage, or sugar addition, at bottling of their Cavas. In short, Suriol is the real deal.
The Suriol family has lived and made wine in the same masia, the Castell de Grabuac, in Font-Rubí, Penedés, since the 15th century. Their 25 hectares of vineyards are divided up into 20 different microplots and surround the masia. Located in the Alt Penedés, the higher elevation winegrowing area of the region, the Suriol vineyards are planted at 250 to 350 meters altitude on "heavy limestone" clay-calcareous soils. The family works with the native grapes Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarlel-lo to produce the Cavas and blancos, and Ull de Llebre (the local clone of Tempranillo), Cariñena, Garnacha, and Sumoll for the tintos and rosats. Having always been farmers of a variety of crops, not just grapes, it was in the early 1900’s, after phylloxera and civil war that the Suriol’s focused their efforts exclusively on grape growing. Originally, the family made wine for themselves and to sell to local tavernas. It was not until 1985 that, under the leadership of the patriarch Francesc, the family started working seriously to produce Cava and bottling their own sparkling wines. Their vineyards have been always worked organically, with certification arriving in 1998.
The Suriol’s are located in the middle portion of Alt Penedés, which is the sweet spot for Xarel-lo, with Macabeo excelling at the lower elevations and Parellada at the higher elevations. The Suriol’s have a small plot of 80 year old Xarlel-lo vines called Els Bancals, which they use for grafting their new plantings via massale selection, and also to make a small production white. The best plots of Xarel-lo are fermented and aged in large Castanyer (chestnut) barrels, an age-old tradition in the area that the family is reviving. Soon we will see a 100% Xarel-lo Cava made in this manner.
In the Celler, the lively and passionate son Assís Suriol is in in charge of the winemaking. All the wines are fermented –by parcel- with wild yeasts in stainless steel vats. The fermented wine is racked to underground concrete tanks where the malolactic fermentation occurs over the winter without added bacteria. This allows the must to stabilize and clarify naturally. The wine is then racked again and bottled. The Cavas rest on the fine lees until sale. In some cases, the wine can spend as much as ten years or more on the lees for the Gran Reserva wines.
All of Suriol’s work in the vineyard and in the cellar equate to remarkable expressions of their place and their family’s long history of winegrowing. These are true Vins Catalans with heart and soul.
Suriol Brut Nature From 3 different certified organic plots of native grapes average age 25 years old; the cuvée is comprised of 40% Macabeo from La Plana, 30% Xarel-lo from L’Hort, and 30% Parellada from Les Carbasses. The wine is fermented with wild yeasts -by parcel- in stainless steel vat with natural malolactic fermentation occurring in underground concrete tanks during the winter after the harvest. The wine is then racked and bottled, where it rests on the lees until sale. This is a lovely Cava with rich flavors, freshness, and an elegant balance between fine bubbles and notes of bread yeast, honey and citrus.
Suriol Brut Nature Rosat Comes from two vineyards– 1 Monastrell vineyard, called “Mataró”, and 1 Garnacha vineyard, called “Els Lledoners”. This delicious rosé Cava is fermented with native yeasts in vat with 6 hours of skin contact, and then raised in concrete for 4 months, with a further 24 months in bottle on the lees before disgorgement. It is a rosé Cava of great finesse, with a delicate mousse and a lovely balance between elegant fruit and chalky minerality.
Can Peritxó Blanco Comes from a single namesake .82 hectare vineyard of 100% Parellada, a grape more known for being a small part of the traditional blend that makes up the sparkling wines of the region. Due to the unique, high-elevation site and old vines, the Suriol family has made a singular still wine of great drinkability and complexity. The grapes are harvested by hand and pressed immediately, and the wine was fermented and raised in concrete tanks for 4 months. It is a delicate and aromatic Vi Blanc with notes of white pepper and herbs, perfect to pair with lighter foods like vegetables with olive oil, garlic, and herbs.
Suriol Donzella Comes from two parcels of Xarel-lo vines planted in 1987 & 1989, “El Bosc” and “l’Hort.” The wine was fermented with wild yeasts in underground concrete vats, with native yeast malolactic fermentation over the winter on fine lees. This is a fresh and lively expression of Xarel-lo, with texture and weight. Flavors and aromas of wild herbs, orchard fruits and a touch of chalk call for fresh and grilled seafood, poultry, and vegetables.
Sang del Drac Tinto comes from a 1.44 hectare vineyard of Ull de Llebre, the local Catalan clone of Tempranillo, called “El Pelegrí”. The wine was fermented in steel vats with malolactic fermentation happeing in concrete vats; the wine was then raised in 500 liter chestnut barrels for 10 months, and then racked back into concrete before bottling. It is a complex Vi Negre with notes of red fruit, leather and tar, perfect to pair with hearty roast meats.