No, it’s not a cheap joke, but the name of the wine. I am told it was made for the Garage Bar of Barcelona, in a tiny quantity of 100 bottles. I bought it from the Bendito bar in Madrid. (Read a short article from Garage here and a review of Bendito here.)
Dumenge Calling is monovarietal xarel.lo produced by Celler Dumenge in a garage in Penedès, Catalunya. The winery calls it an “ancestral”, or a pét nat. All their wines are made with a deep respect for the vineyard, seeking the highest possible expression of the grape and the soil. They opt for natural agriculture, always with minimal intervention, which results in original and true wines.
This wine has been aged in amphora, which allows it to perfectly preserve the freshness of the varietal, and at the same time it adds to the complexity.
Dumenge Calling 2017(Celler Dumenge)
Light yellow, slightly turbid. Fruity aromas of pears, white flowers and grapefruit. Fresh fruit on the palate, vibrant acidity, quite full and with a long finish.
Food: Shellfish, white fish, tapas, and many Asian-style dishes
This is a followup to the Beaujolais article last Friday. Today I came across two wines made by Pierre Dupond. One of the twins showed freshness and elegance, while the other was more bold and ripe. We will come back to that, but first a look at the background.
The Dupond family has its roots in Burgundy and the Rhône Valley. It began with Antoine Dupond, who was originally from Beaujolais, but began commercializing his wines in Lyon and St. Etienne in the 1860s. His son Joanny expanded the family’s estates to the Rhône area. Hervé Dupond, fifth generation, is today leading the business. Hervé has expanded production, building partnerships with nearby winegrowers and neighboring families that the they have known for generations. Each year Hervé selects the best possible plots to make his wines. A traditional method of winemaking is practiced to ensure wines produced are reflective of the land. Ageing takes place in concrete vats that allow for ideal temperatures.
The gamay grapes were handpicked and underwent carbonic maceration with indigenous yeasts. These are natural wines, both with low sulphur (one with nothing added). One is with minimal filtration, one without. To sum up: Sans Soufre Ajouté is the most fresh/acidic of the twins, while Non Filtré is the most ripe and fullbodied wine. Both are highly recommended.
Beaujolais-Village Sans Soufre Ajouté 2022(Pierre Dupond)
Dark red, blue hint. Cherry, raspberry. Medium body, fine-grained tannins, fresh acidity.
Beaujolais Nouveau Non Filtré 2022(Pierre Dupond)
Dark red, blue hint, a touch more dense than the other wine. Blackberry, eucalyptus, chocolate/coffee earthy tones. Medium-bodied with ripe fruit, a bit structured (more than the other wine), rounded acidity.
This year I haven’t tasted as many of the new Beaujolais as usual. It’s the first time I have tried Thivin‘s Nouveau, though I already knew several of their other wines.
Thivin is one of the top domaines in the Côte de Brouilly, Château Thivin is built on an ancient volcano back in the 15th century, thus one of the oldest. Claude and Evelyne, third generation of the Geoffray family, are now managing the estate with their son Claude-Edouard. They encourage biodiversity planting herbs and flowers between the rows of the more than 50 years old vines, plowing regularly and using natural composts to keep their vines healthy.
The vines for this cuvée are trained in goblet. The grapes are handpicked. Semi-carbonic maceration is used for extraction of the fruit, and the vats are handled by gravity to ensure gentle production.
Gamay Noir Vignes d’Ecussol 2022(Thivin)
Red with blueish hint. Very much raspberry, plus some currant, fresh and young, with some structure and a nice acidity.
Early one morning I take the train from Barcelona. I’m on my way to Sabadell. It is not a completely normal sightseeing, because I am going on a company visit. I get off at one stop before the train arrives at the terminus about half an hour from the busy metropolis. The contrast could hardly have been greater. I walk through a sleepy suburb with brick houses and old factory chimneys. I know I am near when I pass several garages, car rental companies, and by a large parking lot is no. 10 where I can not find the company name and entrance until I have asked the workers in a car repair shop. It’s like in a romantic fantasy about the old days: I had to ask the locals for where to go.
It’s almost like I’m the first tourist here. And what does Sabadell have to brag about? They have a bank, I know. And I have been told that it has been one of Spain’s most important cities for the wool and textile industry. I have an agreement with Arnau Palomero, who has the title “commercial designer” in Pulltap’s. Arnau says that one of the most important industries in the city has been metallurgy and products associated with the automotive industry. A piece fell into place! Well, to say that Sabadell is known for making one of the world’s most popular corkscrews would be an exaggeration. But still: I’m here to find out a little more about Pulltap’s wine opener and what was the reason that it appeared exactly here.
A bust and a photograph of Ramón Brucart Puig are displayed in Palomero’s office. Brucart, born 14 October 1937, is the only important figure in Pulltap’s pamphlet on the company and its history. But there is not much information to be found about him, and a search on the internet gives far more hits on his namesake, the motocross rider. Arnau Palomero shows me the first corkscrew for which Brucart was granted a patent in 1991. This was mentioned in the special magazine The Daily Screw in 1991 and called Pocket Hand Corkscrew. A year earlier, he had received a European patent for a similar wine opener called Puigpull. His company was then called Puig Bonich, which he ran together with his wife Marta Bonich Linares.
Pulltap’s was founded in 1996, here in Sabadell, a city of just over 200,000 inhabitants in the province of Barcelona. The company came about after Ramón Brucart contacted the Alberich and Vilarrubí families. These had previously, in 1963, founded the metallurgical company TADE-Talleres Auxiliares de Estampaciones, which is headquartered in Sabadell. Pulltap’s then became part of the TADE company, until Pulltap’s grew as a company and became independent.
Pulltap’s in the tradition
There are a number of corkscrews on the market. We read that the first simple corkscrews may have been derived from the tools used to remove gunpowder sludge from weapons in the 17th century, including those with a metal spiral. Due to the large force required to pull a cork out of a bottle, many mechanical corkscrews have been made that use the so-called lever principle. Variants of this are models such asthe waiter’s friend, the Screwpull, the butterfly and the winged owl corkscrew (also of Spanish origin). Pulltap’s fit into this tradition.
When Pulltap’s wine opener has in a relatively short time become an established classic for both professionals in the wine industry and among private individuals, it is not without reason. It is made of quality materials and has a design that takes good care of aesthetics and ergonomics. With Pulltap’s, waiters all over the world know that they can pull out a cork while standing at the table, with one hand on the neck of the bottle and the other operating the corkscrew. The double joint makes the opening of a bottle an effortless process, where the force only acts in one direction. With many other wine openers, the cork is pulled against the neck of the bottle, with the risk of the cork breaking.
The original model is today called Classic. The company found that it was necessary for most people to use both hands. A newer addition is a sliding knife blade that is pulled out with just one hand. This patented model is called Slider. Variants of this model are called Slider Boss and Samurai. Pulltap’s also produces corkscrew models for left-handers, with the spiral symmetrically opposite to the regular one.
Both the handle and the lever for the Classic and Slider models are made of stainless steel. The handle is lacquered and the lever nickel-plated, to achieve a protective effect and prevent rust. Slider Boss is made of aluminum with a stainless steel lever. The handle can be made in many different colors and finishes and can also have inlaid hardwood. Included are a teflon-coated spiral worm, a knife blade and a beer or soda bottle opener.
The entire production process takes place in the country, in the Barcelona area, with the exception of the spiral produced in France. It is a work that is mostly manual, and very slow, when printing logos and names on a form that is so complex. Arnau says that he himself has participated in this work this past week.
Imitations have been a big problem for Pulltap’s, and they have two shelves where they display only some of all the imitations made in other countries, such as China. Arnau holds two seemingly identical wine openers next to each other. The devil is in the details, they say. Maybe it will not be more true than here. The copy from Argentina has a 30% smaller metal original, it has a finish of chrome instead of nickel – and it seems more flimsy.
At most, Pulltap’s made 4 million wine openers annually. But due to the many imitations, they are now down to 1-2 million. They would rather use energy to further develop their own product than to try to fight the imitations. They have introduced the brand name Pulltap’s Genuine, that is engraved onto all openers. And since 2014, all genuine Pulltap’s products have come with a P engraved next to the brand name.
Pulltex is a distributor for Pulltap’s products in Europe and America. It is a large company headquartered in the Llobregat area, closer to Barcelona airport, which produces and distributes wine accessories. But they also make wine openers, and for the sake of confusion some come with the name Pulltap’s. They want to be associated with Pulltap’s, so they have taken a name that is close. Palomero nevertheless points out that the relationship with Pulltex is obviously good.
Ramón Brucart is still alive, and he is approaching 85 years of age. Arnau says that he has good contact with the company, which still has the character of a family business. But it’s time to go, as I have an appointment in Barcelona in the evening. So this time it is not time to contact the inventor himself. I imagine he could have had interesting stories to tell. But it will be next time.
Jura is a small, yet diverse wine region. Stéphane Tissot is one of its most dynamic and creative producers, and boasts a huge varieties of styles. Here he has made a sparkling wine with vin de paille in its dosage. And vin de paille? A traditional Jura thick and sweet dessert wine made of dried grapes.
Indigène ferments with indigenous yeasts, hence the name. Then the second fermentation is begun with vin de paille. This wine has the same grape composition as Tissot’s crémant Normale: 55% chardonnay, 35% pinot noir, the rest poulsard and trousseau. These two wines are separated after the first fermentation, when Indigène is dosed with vin de paille, added daily in tiny amounts. The second fermentation takes six months – and adds to the richness and complexity of the wine.
Straw yellow. Aromas of clementine, yellow apple, spices, dried fruit, bread and nuts. Glyceric, smooth with good concentration, and a long salty finish.
Last Thursday I had the pleasure to revisit Bellies, a 100% vegan restaurant in the eastern neighborhood of Stavanger, Norway. Here you are not served “vegan burgers” and such. The focus is on the tastes of the ingredients, and there is a high level of creativity in the presentation. Add to this a select wine list that mostly highlights natural wines and you have got the picture.
I had the “Full Bellies”, a ten servings presentation (dishes of various sizes), accompanied by a package of five wines, plus an elegant champagne, the Les Vignes de Montgueuxblanc de blancs extra brut (J. Lassaigne). Among the wines were a stylish, slightly buttered, tropical fruit-scented Saint-Véran, Les Pommards 2020 by Jessica Litaud, a fresh Loire white, Saumur 2021(B. Stater-West) and an interesting relatively full-bodied oak-treated beaujolais, Morgon Dynamite 2020(A. & Y. Bertrand). All these were wines that I will keep an eye on, and good enough to be featured.
This time I concentrate on a brilliant fruity, earthy, full-of-life red from the Loire valley. Nadège Lelandais can be found in Rochefort sur Loire, a few miles southwest of the city of Angers. There she cultivates 4.5 hectares of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and chenin blanc. She has been practicing organic and biodynamic viticulture since the start in 2005.
Our wine Vigneronne is made of cabernet franc, handpicked and fermented in fiberglass vats and aged several months in older barrels.
Vigneronne 2021(Nadège Lelandais/ Les Vignes Herbel)
Dark purple. Fragrant with raw red fruits (cherry, red currant), blackberry, and with an earthy note. Juicy and fleshy in the mouth with fine tannic structure, herbaceous with fresh acidity. Simply delicious.