If age is your outlook on life, then Barcelona-born Joan Calvet is a young man. So much so that when he reflects on his earliest memories of wine, they take him back to his first day at Familia Torres's winery.
“I guess that after making red wines for 20 years, my first day at Familia Torres's winery counts as my childhood. (He laughs.) When I close my eyes, I can still see myself, racking my first wine, cleaning my first barrel, my first wine tasting, my first blend. Everything was new. Everything was a discovery.”
It was a gradual discovery that unfolded organically, and what began as an interest, blossomed into love. This almost alchemical discipline mesmerizes him to this day: “I vividly remember tasting my first must in the winery as this unbelievable sensation, an explosion of aromas and spectacular flavors. But for me, it's like love: you remember the day you met, but you don't remember the precise moment you fell in love, because it is so much more than a moment. It is something that adds up, that lets you be more. It simply happens and grows.”
Joan Calvet tasting Mas La Plana at the Waltraud winery (Pacs del Penedès) where the wine ages
Joan is a man who loves his work and his homeland, and he knows both of them very well. This is why Joan has a very clear notion of what he wants from his wines: the continuation of an exceptional legacy. The work of Miguel A. Torres, especially his introduction of Cabernet to the Penedès region and his extraordinary creation, Mas La Plana, are what guide Joan:
“Finding ways to consistently stand out, to be distinctive and different, is one of my main goals. It's no longer about simply making a good wine, but about finding continuity and consistency (vintage after vintage), seeking perfection even under climate conditions that are occasionally adverse (a herculean task in the vineyard and winery).”
Joan collaborates closely with Josep Sabarich, responsible and orchestra director of the team of winemakers, as well as the wines of Familia Torres in the Penedès.
Josep Sabarich (left with Joan Calvet (right), at de Pacs del Penedès winery, tasting from the barrel.
Joan Calvet's humanity and sensitivity come through in his words and in his wines. He knows how to be the co-star in the creation of timeless wines that offer the world an exceptional palate experience. An exuberant expression of a moment in time: “It is a real treat to observe the wines changing, day after day, how they improve to express the potential they always carried within, their intrinsic essence. At the same time, I love the idea that because of my small contribution, my work, effort, and passion for doing things well, a lot of people will get to enjoy a moment with a glass of these wines.”
No doubt about it. But, oh, the harvest...
“I would describe the harvest as the most exciting moment of all. This is the time we've been waiting and preparing for all year. Every harvest comes with its own particular circumstances, situations and moments you'll always remember. Unforgettable situations, etched into your memory, that you keep learning from, year after year. It is a frenetic moment, no time to catch a cold, even; all of your senses are alert and consumed by this.”
Joan Calvet in the Mas La Plana vineyard (Pacs del Penedès, DO Penedès) at pruning time
Analyzing the two sides of someone like Joan—winemaker and wine lover—is always interesting. For Joan, it's clear: “As a winemaker, I like wines that reveal affection, finesse and sensitivity at every step of the winemaking process. As a romantic wine lover, I like wines with a potent nose that give you a taste of their stories—stories about people, about places...but it should always be a little "flourish," nothing more. Everything in its place.”
Humanity, sensitivity, and a romantic creative spirit. The continued quality of Mas La Plana and Reserva Real couldn't be in better hands.