A Viña Franca selection

Celler Tiques (Joan Rubió)

Joan Rubió and Àngels Margalef

In 2015, Joan Rubió and his wife Àngels Margalef created Cal Tiques, a 10-hectare farm in the heart of Catalonia. In conjunction with their business partner, Aart Jan Hemmink, the pair focuses on organic and biodynamic farming at La Finca Cal Tiques.

Celler Tiques produces mostly still white and sparkling wines from indigenous Penedès grape varieties Xarel-lo, Macabeu, Monastrell, and Ull de Llebre (the local term for Tempranillo). Joan believes that the essential character of the grapes can only be found in the skins, so the wines (including all of the whites and sparkling) are made with various degrees of skin contact, ranging from a few hours to a few weeks.

Joan was drawn to viticulture from a young age. Born in Penedès to a vine-owning family, he went on to study viticulture in Tarragona, though ultimately returned to his native region to farm. However, like most growers in the region, Joan sold his grapes off to large Cava houses. He knew that his viticultural path had much more in store for him.

During his time at school in Tarragona, Joan struck up a friendship with Ton Mata, whose family owned Celler Recaredo. The family offered Joan a job and he immediately jumped; two short years later, he was made the technical director of the estate – no small feat for such a renowned Cava estate! Joan remained with the family for over 13 years. During this time, he discovered a love for biodynamics. Perhaps his biggest achievement at the estate was converting all 50 hectares to biodynamic farming, which is still upkept by the team today!

Today, Joan and Àngels’ farm spans three municipalities: Santa Margarida i els Monjos, Vilafranca del Penedès, and Castellví de la Marca, located just 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) from the Mediterranean Sea. Here, soils are dominated by limestone and clay, which are optimal foundations for the farm’s Xarel-lo, Macabeo, Malvasia de Sitges, and Sumoll Blanc. Joan also farms a handful of reds: Monastrell, Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), and Sumoll Negre. All fruit is handpicked and transported to the cellar in 20kg cases. Grapes are picked according to taste. During harvest time, Joan can frequently be found sampling fruit from his vines, only deeming them ready for harvest when phenolic ripeness, acidity, and overall balance are all in check.

After meticulous sorting, grapes are put into stainless steel tanks and see a bit of skin contact. The free run juice is then collected by gravity and without the use of pressing. Only gravity is used in the cellar (no pumps). Post-fermentation, wines are aged in used barrels, stainless steel tanks, or an assortment of large ceramic jars made from different soil types, which are selected depending on the unique personality of each wine. All of these jars are made by Carles Llarch, a local potter residing in the nearby Foix mountains.

Joan’s winemaking is as hands off as it gets: fermentations are done with natural yeasts, wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered, and no SO2 is added. However, it’s his scrupulous farming methods that really bring his wines to the next level. It’s no surprise that Joan’s colleagues frequently ask him for viticultural advice, which he gives freely and generously to spread the good word of organic and biodynamic farming. The resulting wines are vibrant, energetic, and undeniably alived, marked by a distinct character that transports us to coastal Spain with every sip.

Key information

Catalonia

Catalonia

10 hectares

Founded in 2015

Organic with Biodynamic Principles

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