Heretat Mont Rubi, Alt Penedes, Spain
L'Avella, which gives its name to the village where the estate is located, is characterised by the interaction of the vineyards within the distinctive habitat which surrounds them; many over 50 years of age. HMR is located in the small town of Font-Rubi, on the western side of the Penedes wine region. It is a family run winery founded in 1984. They own and control over 30 hectares of vineyards at altitudes within 500 and 800 meters above sea level.
HMR have been investing in the recovery of the almost extinct native grape Sumoll. There are only around 300 hectares of planted Sumoll remaining today. This variety requires delicate treatment in the vineyard and winery given its thin skin, which has been referred to as the "Pinot Noir of the Mediterranean".
The harvest is manual, selective and completed in 44.lb cases during the coolest hours of the day, in order to maintain the grape as intact as possible until it reaches the winery. They also use bio-dynamic methods, following the different lunar phases both in the vineyard and the winery.
We asked the wine maker Josep Queralt why HMR are not organically certified. This is his response:
"In HMR we bet for the viticulture that we have seen in the Penedès long time ago, a sustainable viticulture, respectful with the environment, using the traditional phytosanitary products from the area, and that nowadays are the ones authorized for the organic viticulture, like sulphur or copper sulphate.
What today is being certified as organic, was what they used 50 years ago in the area. All the Penedès was organic and did not require certification.
Following this line, and with the will of making a step forward, we have been working with alternative treatments, deficiency correctors and strengtheners, obtaining wine growing with no waste, not even the ones authorized for ecological wine growing.
This is related to the vineyards, with limited and controlled productions, natural spontaneous ground covers, soil regenerations with micro-organisms crops coming from the area's forests, therefore with the will that the vines are balanced with its environment, with more and more living soils and following some of the bio-dynamic guidelines.
The final goal is to produce wines with great personality and depth, that will transmit to the consumer the sense of place and all its complexity.
Currently, we are not officially certified as organic, we do the wine growing that we have always seen in this small place in Alt Penedès, aiming for harmony, respect for the environment and sustainability. We believe that this is the only way to avoid turning the infertile soils of many vineyards into a dessert, placing the atmosphere CO2 to the soil through ground covers and not releasing it again with the soil cultivation.
Following this line, at the winery we use sulphites at minimum possible, ageing the wines with fine lees which are natural antioxidants and all the process is manual, from the harvest to the reception at the winery and the grape selection, as well as the pigeage, de-stemming and pressing".