Tag Archives: Catalunya

The Vincast Episode 016 – Andrew Marks aka The Wanderer and Melbourne Gin Company

Gembrook Hill was established back in 1983 in the most southern part of the Yarra Valley, and over the past 31 years has built a reputation for producing some of the finest cool-climate expressions in Australia, whilst maintaining an artisan cult status. The second of three children Andrew was the one to follow a career in the wine industry which has led to him working for wineries large and small all around the world. Although he is now very involved in Gembrook Hill with his parents he has more recently started his own winemaking project under The Wanderer moniker and also started producing a gin, which all tie together with his own philosophy influenced by his upbringing and experiences.

Follow The Wanderer on Twitter and visit the website

Follow Melbourne Gin Company on Twitter & Facebook and visit the website

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Follow The Vincast on Twitter, subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher

Andrew Marks

Andrew Marks

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The Wanderer – 13/05/2013

Chenin Blanc 2012
Finesse and elegance, restraint and florals. Clean light fresh, not overly sweet but long.

Rosé 2011
Lovely savoury style. Plenty of personality and excitement, food friendly balanced and long.

Lower Yarra Pinot Noir 2011
Light style characteristic of the vintage, nice savoury fungal game aromas. Vibrant but fresh and intense, tight lean and long.

Upper Yarra Pinot noir 2011
A bit leaner and quieter, but bolder and more intense on the palate. Still very fresh but more contained and potential to be explosive.

Shiraz 2011
Wilder herbal pepper notes, a touch green spice. A little too raw and wild, too much whole bunch, overwhelms fruit.

Carinyena Catalunya 2010
Dense and reflective of variety and region.

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Slow down (Montsant, Spain)

Life is pretty different in this part of the world, and things move just a little bit slower. There is something peaceful about driving along the winding roads between Priorat and Montsant, and as the valley opens out into the gentler rolling hills it makes for very nice driving in a pretty decent car that I was upgraded to. Meandering about through the lanes of medieval villages perched on hills, sitting down to a long lunch, enjoying a cold beer with some local cuisine, life couldn’t be easier. If you have a closer look around the villages here however, you see several of the problems not only with Spain but much of Europe. The first is that it is a rapidly ageing population in the country, with most of the young people gone to work in the larger cities and live more modern cosmopolitan lifestyles. There are a lot of difficulties with the bureaucracy here and red tape is a constant annoyance of the people. Apart from Falset, if you drive through most of the villages they are essentially ghost towns, which may also have something to do with the afternoon heat this time of year. There just isn’t enough work for young people (not that there is much more in the cities), and many of the people who do work here commute in, such as from Tarragona only 45 minutes away on the coast. So shops close at odd hours, restaurants may not open several days of the weeks, I haven’t seen many petrol stations or supermarkets, it is a little bit more difficult than most of the other places I’ve been. It really does remind me of the Salta region in Argentina, except at least you aren’t far from other places here, whereas you can run into serious trouble if your car breaks down in Salta. Don’t let it happen to you!
Nice view into the Capcanes valley

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Like a rolling stone (Priorat, Spain – Day Two)

Spending eight weeks travelling through Italy visiting wineries can be pretty challenging. As if it isn’t difficult enough that outside of the cities and towns there are no street names – and in many cases addresses are simply designated as an area which includes a great many roads – there is little to no directional signage. Add to this the poor quality of the maps on my navigation software, and you get a situation where I was rarely early to an appointment, and in one case couldn’t find the winery at all. After the first few days in Spain I am concerned that this will be the case again. Some countries do wine tourism a little better (Australia, USA, France), some less so (Argentina, Germany), and some have almost none at all (Chile, Italy). The good countries have directional signage towards a region, and then within the region they have directional signage to every winery that welcomes visitors. Some regions are more advanced than others, and include such information as distances, but at a minimum they have signs at every major turn. It goes without saying that at the wineries they have signs indicating that ‘yes, the winery is here and we are open for business’. This is less common in Europe, perhaps as they are considered a little flashy, but they are in fact a necessity. The issues of addresses seem similar in Spain to that of Italy and thus knowing and providing GPS coordinates is almost the only recourse to avoid potential visitors getting lost. To any winery I am visiting for the rest of my trip who may be reading this, I urge you to send me the GPS details so that I am not late and we can make the most of our time together.

High above Priorat

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Welcome to Spain (technically) (Priorat, Spain – Day One)

After a brief hiatus I am now back in wine country, and an entirely new country has welcomed me with open arms. The question is, what country is that; Spain or Catalunya? The Catalan people are convinced that they should be separate from the rest of Spain, as they speak a different language and have their own unique culture. As it is the first part of Spain I am visiting or have ever visited, it is difficult for me to say whether or not there is a big difference, but much like Italy I am excited to find the differences between each part of the country. I am spending the next six weeks in Spain and Portugal, mostly working in a clockwise direction, and thankfully I seem to have a very reliable, fuel-efficient car that is not too small and drives very nicely (a Citroen C4). I arrived in Barcelona last week and spent the weekend there. It is a lovely city, and is one of those modern cosmopolitan cities that everyone should visit, but I did get the distinct impression that it is more a reflection of Europe rather than Catalunya or Spain. There is certainly a fantastic night life, and the beaches are great, but prices seem to be a little higher and it is harder to find good authentic regional food there, as a lot of the (particularly young) inhabitants want more international food. Anyway, on Monday morning I headed south-west to Priorat to discover one of the most talked about wine regions in Spain.

Easter all over again

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