Who: Ramon Jané and Mercè Cuscó
What: Vino de España and Corpinnat
Where: Penedès near Vilafranca del Penedès
When: Since 2006
Ramon Jané and Mercè Cuscó are the husband wife team who own and manage Mas Candí, a growing concern in the Penedès just outside Avinyonet close to Vilafranca del Penedès, less than an hour out of Barcelona due west. It sits at the foot of the Garraf mountain, a range of beautiful hillside between here and the sea due south of Barcelona. They built the winery 2005 but there’s a deep history behind. 17th century documents show the Cuscó farming here. While Ramon’s family have farmed in Font-Rubí, 10km north-west of here, for more generations than there are documents for.
Ramon studied viticulture and oenology, and worked in the family vineyard. He also developed a passion for tasting widely and as many great wines as possible with his viti-vini classmate Toni Carbó. Toni owns and runs La Salada with his wife Anna and have both worked with Ramon and Mercè from the start of the Mas Candí project.
As is often the case, before they had the means to develop their own wines, they sold the grapes to a ready market of huge local producers. Little by little they have clawed back their own grapes to make a growing range of their own wines.
They have always farmed organically, taking great care of the environment and from the start were attracted by the slow-growing natural wine movement in Catalonia. They are founder members of the Corpinnat organisation, a self-regulating body of former Cava producers who want to distinguish themselves from the world of cheap industrial Cava with its battery of additives and chemicals in both vineyard and cellar, neither healthy for consumer or environment and which disconnects both producer and consumer from the land, from nature.
Mas Candí makes both still and sparkling wines and from relatively inexpensive, easy drinkers to relatively expensive very fine, yet still great value, wines. They don’t aspire to be considered “natural wine” but they’re as good as. Most of the wines are made without any entrants including sulfites.
They’ve been on our radar for years since getting closely acquainted with legends Laureano Serres of Mendall and Joan Ramon Escoda in 2011. Their wines are ever present in our cellar. And Ramon and Mercè are among the most welcoming of all producers even in the warm, welcoming and joyous atmosphere of Catalonia.
All vineyards and the cellar are certified organic by CCPAE.