Azimut, Penedès Brisat Orange 2021
Parellada, Sumoll Blanc, Garnatxa Blanca, and Moscatel
From the importer-
Many of the European winemakers we work with have been writing their family chronicles for quite some time – like the Suriols here, working on the same property since the early 1600s (and living in the area some 500 years before that). Originally a traditional mixed farm, the estate gradually became focused on grapes, despite the catastrophic arrival of phylloxera an aphid that nearly devastated vineyards in Europe at the time, including the Can Suriol ones, in 1890. But the family replanted and kept going: the 1940s marked the beginning of their production of bottled wine, first for own their use and to sell to local tavernas, and then in the 1980s, as Francesc Suriol Cantí, a chemistry graduate and oenologist took over and started bottling cavas under the family name that they still bear today.
An even more important step (for both man and nature) came in the 1990s, when the Suriols decided to switch vineyard management completely to organics, rejecting pesticides, synthetic herbicides, and fertilizers. The estate got its official certification in 1996, and some 20 years later, Assís Suriol, its current head, took it even further by introducing biodynamic practices and limiting the use of sulfur. “The decisions we make are unique for each vine. We never apply general recipes to our vineyards, only Mediterranean viticulture based on ecology and the wisdom of our farming ancestors,” he says. “For us, the most important thing is not the certification, but a clean conscience and staying true to the local philosophy. The complicity of the moon cycles and the astral influences, although not as decisive as our daily work, are always helpful too.”
Following a truly holistic biodynamic approach, the sustainability effort extends to all areas of production – the farm’s “waste”, like compost and cow manure, is returned to the soil for its nourishment, a big part of their energy supply is covered by their own solar panels, the glass bottles are always sourced from the Iberian Peninsula and generally less than 100 km from Grabuac… Working with locally typical grapes such as Parellada, Macabeo, Xarel-lo, or Mataró and Garnacha rather than the globally present varieties is another part of the picture.
Residing in Penedés, an area renowned for its fine sparkling wines, the Suriols focus on secondary-bottle-fermented cavas, which are very elegant and delicately creamy thanks to their long aging on lees. Both the cavas and still wines are primary-fermented using only indigenous yeast: “We let nature choose the best yeast strains that will remain on the grape skins at the time of harvest. This way, each vineyard, variety, and vintage brings in a different type of yeast that then gives rise to a naturally vast array of flavor nuances in our wines.” The malolactic fermentation happens naturally as well, in concrete tanks rather than stainless steel; a choice that Assis explains as bringing more stability to the wine: “Concrete is without electrical charge, and the tanks offer good temperature stability especially when buried underground, as ours, are. Hence, they are perfect for slow aging with a naturally cleared and stable wine as the end result.”
A super important part of Suriol’s natural approach is their Azimut project, named after the Arabic word for direction. And the direction here is clear: promoting organic agriculture! Using their export network as well as connections to local farmers, Assis & co. have created a brand of fun, easy-drinking wines made from their own and certified organic grapes that they purchase from their neighbors, thus encouraging them to pursue respectful viticulture. Based on typical local grapes and the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle, these wines are the perfect everyday dash of joy and color that can be enjoyed, as Assis would say, with a clear conscience.