La Bacanal del Vi at Bar Cortijo Tarragona

Now in its’ VIII edition, La Bacanal del Vi is an anarchic natural wine tasting event with a whiff of spontaneous combustion.

This time the excuse to walk down Carrer Unió and crossing in to Carrer dels Rebolledo 27 was to meet up with 17 of the finest local producers of natural wine, an event known as La Bacanal del Vi.

I have written about this before: Bar Cortijo has been the precursor in putting Natural Wine on the table and this is not mean feat. Natural wine can be the epitome of liquid anarchy because you are never quite sure of what you are getting. Once tried, and several glasses later, you are hooked for life and traditionally made wine will seem boring in comparison. Obviously not all natural wines are that interesting but Santos Masegosa has a nose for unearthing the most complex stuff and operates like a fine truffle dog. I saw him in action last year at the H2O, the natural wine fare, and it was a delight to see him sniffing, sampling, evaluating the content hundreds of bottles on display with academic dedication.

La Bacanal del Vi has become one of the key local events related to natural wine. Old maverick favourites like Mariano Taberner and Laureano Serres were out in force, with Mariano on cue for a tangent and introducing his Marianet a wine-beer hybrid full on deep round flavours and totally refreshing. The new kid on the block was Fernando Angulo-Alba who came all the way from Cadiz and whose favourite way of opening a bottle was to clean-cut the neck with a knife. His offerings where, incidentally, some fantastic complex concoctions served is small bottles and an instant hit.

I will not go in to details about the wines which are subjective experience, suffice to say that the great thing about La Bacanal del Vi is that is has none of the elitist posing associated with wine tasting. It is a boisterous, happy gathering which, aside from the wine, has Santos and family delivering plates after plates of tortilla de bacalao served with beans, bread covered in assorted home made pâtés and Fideuà.

Taking part this year either in bottles or in the flesh were Joan Ramon Escoda-Escoda Sanahuja. Prenafeta, Laureano Serres-Mendall. Pinell de Brai, Antonio Vilchez-Naranjuez. Marchal, Mariano Taberner-Bodega Cueva. Requena, Carles Mora-Clot de les Soleres. Piera, Jordi Llorens-Celler Jordi Llorens. Blancafort, Pep Torres-Casa Pardet. Verdú, Maximo i Antonella-Partida Creus. Bonastre, José María Espí-Bodega La Encina. Villena, Agustí & Jordi- Los Comuns. El Molar, Moises Virgili-Celler +9-La Nou de Gaià, Gaitano Pellisa. Ni Ni. Rasquera, Francesc Ferrer-Celler Frisach. Corbera d’Ebre, Toni Carbó-Celler La Salada. Les Parellades, Núria Renom. El Garraf, Josep Serres-Portes Obertes. Pinell de Brai, Fernando Angulo-Alba Viticultores. Sanlúcar de Barrameda.