Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Wild World of Joan Escoda

Ok, close your eyes...

Dream of a long winding Spanish highway in a DO just outside Montsant, coming down a mountain and make a sharp right turn onto an unmarked dirt road. Envision a mile of gentle hills, native grasses and unkept totally natural terrain. Glide by rows of vines...Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Grenache with vegetation growing among them as the need to not disturb the ecosystem is law here, not marketing hype. Every type of grass, flower, weed are all important. Prepare to be greeted by a grey-haired man looking younger than the grey hair would have you believe. He walks with you through the vines and takes you to his compost pile and digs his hands deep inside. Take a smell! You half-heartedly whiff in the compost of various animals that all reside on the property. Imploring you to feel how warm the pile still is, you politely decline lest you have doo-doo under your nails and subsequently on the keys of your Blackberry.

He shows you the cow horns that he fills with dung and buries among the vines to "dynamize" the soil. He shows you his herding sheep complete with one black one that (surprise, surprise) was actually on its own away from the pack. He walks and rolls a cigarette, lights it and you identify the sweet smell of weed...yeah that kinda weed. He shows you his rabbits, his lamb, his chickens -- basically his organic free-range food and he explains how eating in restaurants often makes him feel ill as the food almost all of them serve is not truly least not on the level of what he raises.

Follow him to the cellar and taste from tank and from bottle but not from barrel. Wines in barrel are not to be disturbed and they go basically untouched until the time is deemed right. Savor a 2008 Pinot Noir "Llopetera" that you would be hard pressed to not think Volnay if you had your eyes closed. Wrap your lips around a Cabernet Franc, Merlot blend called Coll del Sabater that will make you reconsider benchmark Right Bank Bordeaux in a different light. Listen as various winemakers argue with this man about his philosophies, his wines, his biodynamic "hocus pocus". Watch him subtly fire back but ultimately laugh off the whole thing. Certainly a man who is comfortable with his vision, his process and his outlook on wine, grape growing, winemaking and life.

Welcome to the Wild World of Joan Escoda, biodynamic eccentric rebel of the Conca de Barbera.

JCB the 4th

1 comment:

  1. Hello! I'm italian and I would know if you love other italians wines. I read on your profile that you like barolo...Me too, I bought it in a site very very good!Bye