Castell d’Encus “Taleia” (Costers del Segre, 2013)
Raül Bobet has a long list of achievements: He has a masters degree in chemical engineering and a doctorate in oenology. He has 18 years of experience at Bodegas Torres, Spain’s largest producer of DO wines under its own label, where he served as chief oenologist. He is currently proprietor and chief oenologist at both Castell d’Encus and Ferrer Bobet. There is no question that Raül Bobet knows how to make wine.
But Raül Bobet doesn’t merely make wine. With a Zen-like belief in the unity of art and science, he makes world-class, soulful wines that express a purity of fruit and concentrated intensity balanced by fresh acidity and elegance.
The vineyards of Castell d’Encus lie in the northeast Spanish DO of Costers del Segre, at the high altitude sub-zone of Pallars Jussà around 3,000 feet in the sub-Pyrenees. Vines were cultivated there by Hospitalier monks between the 12th and 18th centuries. Raül was drawn to the site in part due to the seven fermentation pools (lagares) that were carved out of stone centuries ago and that he still uses today. Raül also believes that Costers del Segre has the ideal climate for producing the type of wines that he wants to make. Wines with “…freshness, wines which can last, wines that aren’t explosive, more reflexive, with a more feminine and sensitive feel and less alcohol”.
The name “Taleia” comes from the Catalan word for obsessive commitment. Combining organic farming and ultra-modern vinification alongside the most ancient techniques, Taleia was intended to be something like a French Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé. It is produced from vines planted on chalky soils that fermented with natural yeasts in a combination of new French oak barrels, stainless steel and the lagares. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc with a little Semillon, the wine is simultaneously rich and crisp with heady aromatics of ripe white fruits and blossoming orchards.
Raül likes to say that Castell d’Encus is less a winery and more of an experimental project. However you define it, it’s an estate as dynamic and exciting as you’ll find from any winemaking region in the world.