Joan Rubió/Tiques Essencial 2018

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Penedès, Catalonia, Spain
Fermented with native yeasts, unfiltered & unfined, no additional sulphites
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Joan Rubió’s family, like many others in the Penedès, stopped making wine in the 80s when a handful of large Cava estates created a monopoly, undercutting all the small producers and forcing them to sell their grapes instead. When Joan was in his 20s he took over the family’s vines and continued selling grapes to the Cava houses, but with a strong desire to make wine himself it wasn’t long before he began working for Recaredo, arguably the best Cava house in the region. In his 14 years at Recaredo he not only learnt a lot but he also in turn taught them much. Joan was the driving force in convincing Recaredo to convert their entire 50 plus hectares to biodynamic. To this day the estate remains continues to farm biodynamically, thanks in large part to Joan’s hard work.

In 2014 Joan decided to begin his transition to reviving the family tradition of vinifying their own grapes, and him and his wife Angels started Tiques. All of the wines are vinified with Joan and Angels’s family’s owns grapes, all farmed biodynamically and all within 15-20km of the Mediterranean. In the cellar they practice as little intervention as possible. Only a small amount of their cuvees have sulphites added, only when needed and in very small quantities.

Essencial is 100% Xarel-lo with a 10-day skin maceration, but we wouldn't class this as an orange wine as the extraction is so gentle. Joan's method is unique; as far as we know we haven't come across anyone else doing it quite the same. As the wine sits on the skins there are no punchdowns of the cap, the skins are left as they are to give a more gentle infusion. As the cap starts to dry out, rather than risk any off-favours or oxidative notes in the wine, Joan carefully strips away away the skins in layers, removing the cap in stages over time so that it never fully dries out. It's this kind of meticulous approach that makes Joan's wines so memorable. Here the texture is remarkably soft, yet with grip. The aromatics are delicate and detailed, with lots of salty, pithy fruit. A gifted winemaker that we can't recommend highly enough!