We just managed to get our hands on some back vintages from Joan Rubio so we thought it was a great time to share some stories and pictures from various visits to his Tiques winery as we consider his cuvées to be among the best natural wines in Catalonia.
Joan is a native Catalan and spent many years working for the highly acclaimed Cava producer Recaredo. His expert knowledge on biodynamic farming brought about a major change of direction for the famous sparkling wine brand when all 50 hectares were converted.
In 2014, Joan decided to bring back his long family tradition by making wine himself with his own vines. The plots surround his home in Santa Margarida I Els Monjos, close to Penedès. He grows Monastrell, Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo) and Macabeo grapes but his real expertise is with the Xarel Lo variety. Often regarded as the most noble grape of this region, Joan has even garnered a reputation as the "master of Xarel Lo" and when you taste his wines, you can understand why.
Everything is delicate and pure, partly due to the fact he doesn't even own a press. Only free run juice is used in order to create the exact style that Joan is looking for. His wife Angels has now started making wine with the press juice as she deemed it so ridiculous to waste this high quality ingredient.
His cellar is absolutely immaculate which obviously helps his wines show such a clean and precise character. He uses a range of different coloured clay amphora as well as old barrels and stainless steel tanks to create a wide variety of different wine styles.
Every time I've had the pleasure of meeting Joan and Angels, their hospitality has been incredible. We are always treated to snacks whilst we taste various wines in his home and the couple are keen to explain all of the wines in detail and share knowledge of farming and winemaking. Joan has become a source of biodynamic expertise for up-and-coming winemakers across the region.
We currently have the following in stock;
- One of Joan's top cuvées. This is a pure and precise expression of Xarel Lo with a mineral character and a touch of tropical fruit
- A blend of Xarel Lo and Macabeo. This drinks more like a skin contact wine than any other of Joan's cuvées. You can feel the lees contact here as the wine displays a brioche finish.
- Xarel Lo made under a layer of flor. This is round and saline with oxidative notes of bruised apple. A great accompaniment to cheese.
Xarel Lo Ancestral 2020
- Amazing sparkling wine with a rich and complex character. Joan's 14 years at Recaredo clearly proves he knows what he is doing when it comes to fizz.