Landscape in Liquid State
Sicus, Catalunya, Spain
We catch-up with Eduard Piè in El Massís de Bonastre, Catalunya. An extensive mountainous area that stands between the Alt Camp and Baix Penedès plains. Through Sicus, Eduard Piè shares his way of understanding viticulture and the wines it produces. It is a philosophy based on the importance of expressing the terroir in wine, a product so deeply dependent on and connected to the land.
Located beside the sea and with the mountains keeping it cool, this is a very special spot and, at the same time, a clear example of a typical Mediterranean landscape. The urban centre of Bonastre, the lowest point in the valley (170 metres above sea level), is surrounded by vineyards, olive trees and the rolling hills of the massif. It is here that we find the different Sicus estates.
“We bottle the landscape: Our hallmark is to craft wines that are true to their origin, which is why we guarantee, manage, and preserve each of the factors that make up the terroir.” Says Eduard Piè.
Nestled in the mountains, Eduard practices sustainable viticulture and encourages maximum biodiversity in the natural environment that surrounds them.View Wines
What’s a day in the life for Eduard Piè at Sicus?
Depending on which time of year it is, I can be in the vineyard, in the winery or in front of the computer! I have to be in all places at once most of the time!
How would you describe your winemaking philosophy?
My philosophy is about honest winemaking in an almost obsessive way. The result is to express the landscape, to keep the wines low in alcohol content and to maintain great acidity!
Why is vinifying in the clay amphora in the vineyard important to you and what does it add to the wine?
The amphora is an open container that allows microoxygenation and, at the same time, helps to develop the aromas of the wines more than other containers that I have worked with. Furthermore, the amphora in the vineyard allows me to have a constant temperature and capture the landscape without moving the grapes from the vineyard to the cellar. This helps to avoid infection by other yeasts that are not indigenous.
"Our obsession with honest winemaking techniques results in fresh, taut wines with a low alcohol content."
How did you become a winemaker?
My family made wine before me, and formerly those vineyards were destined to produce grapes for the cooperative. In 2009 I decided to harvest in another winery and start bottling the wines myself. I then launched my first wines on the market in 2011.
What was it that inspired you to become a natural winemaker?
Well, I like to call it ‘the kitchen of wine!’ and the addiction of chemicals and manufactured yeasts makes it impossible to express the landscape. So, working with minimal interference is the only way to be honest about terroir.
How do the different terroirs affect the taste of the wine?
We always have a common thread: the landscape: Sea, and limestone mountains. Then the different terroirs lead us to make wines with different tensions and aromas.
"We keep our soils partially un-ploughed, enabling a variety of grasses to grow and aerate the earth while encouraging all kinds of insects and animals to live and thrive."
What is interesting about the grapes, Cartoixà, Cartoixà Marí, Garrut, Sumoi, Malvasia de Sitges, Macabeu, Monastrell and Sumoi?
They are varieties adapted to the area many years ago, so they can withstand heat and drought and express our environment like no other. And all of them have fantastic acidity, which is our signature style.
Your sparkling wines are highly regarded what can you tell us about them?
My sparkling wines come from two very special single vineyards. I look for the elegance, creaminess, and a beautiful integration of bubbles. They are also the wines that are aged most in the cellar.
What can you tell us about your exciting new plans for the future?
We are looking at new plantations higher up in the mountains and terraces with less sunny orientations. Exploring the true potential of the area!
"We believe that to extract a variety’s maximum potential, it is best to work with its terroir of origin, where the grape has been adapted to grow for many years."
What are you most proud of?
I am certainly proud to be making the wines my heart dictates and not the wines the market expects. I allow myself to explore all possibilities, and I question everything!
What’s the one thing that you want people who drink your wine to know?
They will find wines with great ageing potential - which are fresh and speak of a Mediterranean landscape.
What is your favourite food and wine pairing?
I love fish; a ceviche would be perfect with one of the Malvasia wines.
Words by Sarah Jones
Photography by Tom D Morgan