Marc and Adrià, Les Cousins. We met them in the facilities of Cims de Porrera, where they make the wines of their project. We wanted to know everything, and, of course, we started from the beginning. It is funny to see their trust and complicity.
They have problems to agree on where they were when the project began (in France or in Priorat). Finally, they agreed on a year, 2000… but then, Adrià, got serious: “In fact, Les Cousins began when we were born, as one might say” They spent our whole childhood together, in Quatretondeta (the village where Marc lived, and where they met in the summer), playing football together, working together in Mas Martinet, in the plot, forced (as they said) … These are some of the experiences that the labels of their wines have reflected. This couple always wanted to do something different, but they didn’t have too much time, and everything required an effort and a commitment that they couldn’t take.
“We knew that we were very young, and we also knew that we were in a world of grown-up people, a world for men, a very classic world…” told us Adrià. “And a very old-fashioned world too” specified Marc. A moment when wines were expensive and rustic, and the two cousins wanted to distance themselves from all this by looking for something which was more fun, more youthful, not so serious.
After many tries, in 2007, they realised that they could make a wine in Porrera, with the vine growers of the Cooperative. They made their first wine, the Sagesse, without knowing it. A great wine, that they wanted to bottle and store. It was not the wine that they expected to make. Marc told us that Les Cousins are always talking about fresh ness, about looking for more drinkable wines, and that 2007 wine was not like that. It was the opposite, it was a superextraction. “It was (…) going against everything (…) a very rustic and forced wine”
With the first Inconscient bottled in 2009 and put on the market in 2010, the situation changed. They got a wine which was much more accessible in every sense, more drinkable and at a very affordable price, ideal for young people, which was their target, what they missed in Priorat.
The Antagonique came later. They wanted to do new things, different things, they wanted to break all the moulds. They already had done it regarding the image of the project, but now they had to do it in the wines too. “And a white wine made from red wine grape varieties, nobody had ever made it” told us Adrià. Marc recalled his experience in Mas Martinet Assessoraments, with Josep Lluis Pérez, during an advising work in Egypt, where, in the desert, all the most popular white grape varieties had been planted, and the variety which best worked was the Garnatxa Negra, obviously
in conditions which were very different from ours. However, based on this experience, they looked for the most productive estates of Garnatxa to make the white wine from red wine grape varieties. The problem came later… with the qualification of the wine, which was very complicated, not only in terms of the legislation, because they were just changing the regulations to allow making white wines from native varieties, but also in terms of the colour, because it was seen as a rosé when it was presented as a white wine, or it was seen as a white wine when it was presented as a rosé. Finally, 2/3 years later, the white wine from red wine grape varieties is a rosé, and this way they don’t have problems.
And all the French names? It was a necessary question, and the answer surprised us because of its simplicity. In Adrià’s opinion: “Why not?” They like the French language, they have been to France, Marc’s partner is French… And it sounds better, more romantic.
The Donzell is an exception. The name El Donzell came out thanks to a good friend, Joan Carbó, who suggested the idea with the terraces of Barcelona in mind. They started to work on this idea by carrying out a blind tasting of more than 20 different vermouths from France, Italy, and Spain, and they concluded that they didn’t like any of them. Then, as they had dismissed the idea of making a vermouth, they started to think of something else, not containing added spirit, macerating fresh and not dry herbs. And they started to carry out tests using a 15.5º rosé as a base, trying different species and herbs… until they finally got the original recipe, which, of course, they didn’t tell us.
And regarding their future… they don’t think too much about it, because they already have a lot of daily work. But years like this year carry some surprises, so without knowing what, when, how, or under which name, they told us that there will be a new wine, outside the DOQ, looking for different things. “Sometimes, when you force things, they don’t work,” said Marc. They have found it this year.
We are eager to know more about it.
Fotografías de Clàudia Grosche @claudiagrosche