Established in 1997, Cérvoles was the first attempt by producer Tomás Cusiné to grow mountain vineyards since his family bought Castell del Remei, a historic estate in Lleida (Catalonia), in 1982. After taking control of the family’s wine interests, Tomás Cusiné currently oversees the group which includes Castell del Remei, Cérvoles and an eponymous third winery. All of them are part of DO Costers del Segre, whereas the latest acquisition, called Cara Nord, lies in DO Conca de Barberà further south in Tarragona.
Cérvoles, Tomás Cusiné and Cara Nord all have high-elevation vineyards stretching across the hillsides of Montañas de Prades, a mountain range which is part of the Cordillera Prelitoral Catalana. This rugged area stands at a crossroad of various Catalan wine producing regions: Les Garriges in DO Costers del Segre, the southern part of DO Conca de Barberá and Montsant and Priorat further south.
Cérvoles extends across 60 hectares of vineyards, 30 of which are owned by Cusiné. They are planted at an elevation of 680 to 750m in La Pobla de Cérvoles. Red grape varieties include Garnacha, Tempranillo, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon plus a little bit Merlot which is gradually being replaced. In terms of white varieties, Chardonnay and particularly Macabeo stand out, with plantings of the latter added lately.
The grapes used for Cérvoles are usually the last to be picked among the group of wineries owned by Cusiné in Montañas de Prades. In this windy area, wines have high alcohol and robust tannins. Soils are mainly silt-loam and clay-loam with various levels of gravel providing good drainage.
Cérvoles produces around 87,000 bottles per year. The entry-level brand Colors is made in white and red. The white is a commercially-driven blend of Chardonnay and Macabeo (20,000 bottles, €7) whereas the easy-drinking red features 45% Garnacha mixed in with Cabernet, Syrah and some Merlot (23,000 bottles, €9). A step up is a fragrant, supple, single-varietal Cérvoles Garnatxa (17,000 bottles, €14) partly made with whole bunches. Their flagship red is a balanced wine with some depth called Cérvoles which blends Garnacha, Tempranillo, Cabernet and Merlot. Garnacha notes dominate on the nose but the palate displays the structure and flavours of Cabernet with alcohol (15% vol.) going unnoticed. The white Cérvoles (6,000 bottles, €21) is a smoky, creamy oak-aged blend of Macabeo and Chardonnay. Estrats is their premium wine and shares the grape blend with Cérvoles (except for Merlot) but the style is more powerful and concentrated as the wine is intended to be laid down.