It has been a while since I visited Bodega Pou de Piques due to Covid, Brexit, war and all the restrictions of movement and the myriad changes many are suffering.
This made it even more of a pleasure to be invited again on a very hot Thursday at the end of August. The day even seemed normal as the heat dome had just eased. My life is good in relation to most, I cannot complain, but still you would have to be an ostrich with its head in the sand not to notice that life has changed dramatically in every sense in this world.
An uncle was hanging around a very dubious sagging make-shift BBQ. This was quickly abandoned and we visited the grapes. The most important things first. The vines were much higher than before and the bottom leaves did not touch the ground. This was a vast improvement as it limits soil contamination. The fruit was plump and healthy.
Despite the awful heat and many fires of this year, the leaves were verdant. Domingo said they needed a week or two before the harvest of the first variety would start. He uses no pesticides so nothing looked perfect, but neither did it look bad. Actually, I prefer this. Those perfect publicity photos are clearly totally retouched. Not even a leaf can have a hole. Holes are what happen in nature. It reminds me that when I shop for tomatoes, I pick the most distorted ones. They are always the best.
After circa 30 minutes I retreated from the oppressive heat for, despite a breeze, it felt as if I was being “air fried” to lobster red. Time to return to Domingo’s gorgeous house. The welcome coolness of its thick walls embraced me and this was augmented by a fresh amazing sparkling cava from our area called vinya natura.
Better than any champagne. We sat around the kitchen table and imbibed while the uncles got on with the BBQ. I am ashamed to say we finished the lot. Meanwhile Charlie the huge Alsatian sat at the top of the stairs to the vats and eyed us.
The meal was much as ever, that is to say, fabulous and simple. Salad, olives, bread and lots of meat – very smoky and aromatic despite the BBQ lack of stability. I told Dominigo it looked like It was about to fall down. His uncle backed me up! They had been talking about a state of the art one for 4 years.
None of this matters for the wines and cavas were incomparable. I asked tactless questions like how much they cost. Domingo had no idea as all were presents. His as yet un-labelled Julia white was not to be bought but we had an un-labelled bottle and a bit of fresh from the vats. Sublime. I’m going to stick my neck out and say it is the best he has made so far. His red too. We shared a French red from Saint Julian, 2009 that he actually made, or helped make, when he was an apprentice there. You knew it was French, and it was superb. Give this vintage of his in Spain the same time and it will sparkle. Even more, I say.
Domingo is bringing his French skills to this area and this is why his wine is exceptional. With the heat crisis it is not easy. Too high an alcohol content can spoil the jewels, but nevertheless he is succeeding. On top of this, he has to work selling aluminium windows during the week to finance his passion and dream. A man with a family that helps – what more can you ask for! Well, just that they love to have a good time!
Viva la Espana, and all the grafters and passionate entrepreneurs. And the one-offs!
To see more photos of Pou de Piques click here