Pleasures of Catalonia, Spain

Updated: Mar 23

Combining pleasures of the senses is an integral element in the winemaking process for Miquel of Coca i Fito, who feels that, “Making wine is like...making cuisine.” An attitude he attributes to his younger years, before he and his brother created Coca i Tinto winery, back when he worked as a professional chef in Costa Brava, Spain, and first fell in love with wine.

According to Miquel, the art of making wine and cooking, require a similar approach to creating beautiful food, “First you have to get your hands on quality ingredients...take good care of them so as to preserve their juiceness and freshness...and then combine them together in ways that attain ultimate balance, which is the key to really tasting the full spectrum of flavours…”


Winemakers Miguel and brother Toni became the dynamic duo we know today with the generosity of their parents, who gave their sons the opportunity of growing vines on a small family estate in the upper part of Catalonia, in beautiful Montsant, an area of Spain where vines have been cultivated since Roman times. Fortunately this family plot of land happened to provide the perfect terroir, on terraced slopes near prized Priorat. A region that, “Produces the most acclaimed wines in Spain,” according to the James Suckling Masterclass.


The two main red grape varieties found at Coco i Fito are Garnacha, known as Grenache in France, and Cannonau in Sardinia, where the varietal is believed to have originated before being taken to Spain in the 14th century, and the Carignan grape. Both varieties closely resemble Syrah in displaying a myriad of fruit flavors. However, the real reason Grenache and Carignan grapes were chosen to cultivate by Coca i Fito is due to how well these grapes thrive in rough, rugged landscapes where low-rain and extreme temperatures persist. The minerality characteristics of the wine in part due to the iconic slate, quartz soil known as llicorella which allows vines to dig deep, heightening the grapes fruity essence.


Jaspi Blanc DO Terra:

Fresh, crisp, citrus, with balanced acidity & a pleasing finish, whispering with notes of apple, melon & hints of honey. A white wine deliciously paired with sunshine & seafood.


Jaspi Negre DO Montsant:

Oak, vanilla, chocolate, with bold black fruits, of spice, leather and tobacco; the smooth acidity and earthly minerality make this rich red wine beautifully complex and pleasing to the palate.


To create further pleasure, winemaker Miguel of Coca i Fito has provided 2 recipes for you to pleasantly pair with their wines. Hint: both bring a touch of spice, sweetness and flavors from the sea and are shared at the bottom of the article.


Written by wine love and world traveler: Séanna Marie


BUY COCA I FITÓ WINES HERE


Coca i Fito "Jaspi" Blanc, 2018 | Terra Alta, Catalonia - Spain


This is a delicious unoaked Catalan white wine with aromas of white peach, ripe pear, and honeysuckle. The palate is rich and fresh with impressive balance and mineral complexity.


Pair it With: Grenache blanc is delicious with more steak-like fish including tuna steaks, swordfish, grilled snapper and mahi mahi.


Grape Varieties: 70% Grenache Blanc, 30% Macabeu


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Coca i Fitó Jaspi Negre, 2016 | Terras Altas, Catalonia - Spain


This is a wine with clear identity that will satisfy a wide range of palates. Full of ripe red fruit, balsamic notes and baking spice, this is a powerful wine with smooth but well structured tannins.


Pair it With: This wine is exceptional with grilled meats and vegetables, anything that will hold up to the tannins.


Grape Varieties: 45% Grenache, 25% Carignan, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah

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Octopus Avocado & Strawberry Salad, to be paired with Jaspi Blanc DO Terra.

by Miquel, of Coca i Fito vineyards.

-Serves 2 People


Combine into a large bowl:

  • 2 Avocados (halved and cut into cubes)

  • 1 purple onion (diced)

  • 1 palm-sized tomato (diced)

  • 5 fresh strawberries (sliced ¼ inch thin)

  • 2 legs cooked octopus or squid (sliced ¼ inch thin)

Dressing:

  • 2 limes (squeezed for juice)

  • 3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Pinch of salt and black pepper

Mix dressing with ingredients & marinate in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Add arugula for leafy green freshness.


Ready to serve and savor: bon appetite !



Saffron Seafood Paella (Arroz de Pescado Caldozo) to be paired with Jaspi Negre DO Montsant

by Miquel, of Coca i Fito vineyards.

– Serves 4 People

  • 1 cup of rice: Spanish variety called “bomba” rice, calasparra rice, or arroz redonda. These varieties used in making Paella as they absorb broth, yet retain their form...unlike other forms of rice.

  • 2 cups/1 pound of shellfish: lobster or prawns

  • 1.5 L of fish stock/seafood fumet

  • Large pinch of saffron

  • 1/2 red pepper (cut into bite sized strips)

  • 1/2 green pepper (cut into bite sized strips)

  • 1/2 cup of peas

  • 1 red onion (diced)

  • 2 garlic cloves (sliced thin)

  • 1 3/4 cups/400 grams of crushed red tomato

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1/2 glass of white wine

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Pinch of sugar

  • Salt and black pepper

The "Sauté" | Preparation

In a frying pan/skillet (low/medium heat) add oil & garlic, as it starts to brown add the onion.

After about 5 minutes add peppers and let them simmer and sauté.

Then add heads of lobster/prawns (with shells), letting them marinate with the rest of the ménage. Once mixed, pour in a half a glass of white wine.

After 5 minutes remove heads/shells from the sauté.

Grind saffron (best if dried in the oven a few minutes beforehand). Stir into sauté.

Pour in crushed tomatoes and the pinches of sugar,

salt and black pepper.

Pour in the rice and stir with the sauté for about 5 minutes on low heat.

Add the fish broth/seafood fumet and bay leaf: Let it come to a boil, then reduce the heat and leave it for about 10 minutes to cook slowly.


To prepare shellfish |

1st remove the meat from lobster/prawns, and cut to 1 inch slices.

In a hot, preheated skillet/frying, with extra virgin olive oil fry add the shellfish. Stir continuously for one minute on high-heat to flash cook, making the outside of the shellfish crisp.

Then remove from heat and set aside to be put on top of rice dish.



Returning to rice & sauté |

If we see that the juice has evaporated too much, add the rest of the seafood broth/fumet and season with additional salt and pepper.

After about 3-5 minutes remove the paella from the heat, let sit for about 4 minutes in pan and serve onto plates.

Final step: top with your choice of flash-sautéed shellfish & fresh cilantro.


Recipe paired with with wine Jaspi Negre DO Montsant

Bon appetite!

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