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STEFAN MEETS… ANDERE MONJO&RAFA CAMPS

Eating figs. Here I am, on a lonely crossroad between Sant Jordi Desvalls and Diana. It’s a sunny day of October and I really feel lucky of starting the week right here, in this beautiful place in the Empordà.

30 minutes later we park in front of Andere and Rafa’s house; Andere Monjo, creative, designer, teacher and definitely an artist. I feel fascinated on how she uses colors, and how she transmits sensations through them. And also her connection with the soil: something organic that calls me. And Rafa Camps, founder of La Natural, a distribution and production company of natural wines, and also someone with a great sense of humor.

Andere’s quiet smile welcomes us and in less than a minute we feel at home. We talk about connections, people in common… this is the first time that we meet, but it’s like we have known each other before.
We go upstairs to visit Andere’s workspace, an authentic museum where the light creates an amazing effect on her paintings. It’s so inspiring to listen to an artist talking about inspiration in such a natural way. Andere talks about how she enjoys teaching kids and how during the lockout she experimented with materials and some nature elements she found outdoors (reminds of how Georgia O’Keefe worked). And then, experiments became art: a vivid avalanche of color and life, a personal approach, an authentic style.

After a while, we go downstairs and we start talking about wine and gin. Rafa shows us some of his wines. Rafa’s wines are made with organic grown grapes from the Emporda region. He ferments his wines spontaneously without adding yeast, sulphur, or clearing agents. This way his juices are pure, natural and alive.

I’ve always loved the idea of natural wines, it’s such a romantic approach where nature makes wine. Natural wines are expanding the wine’s world, from a traditional to a new, young and curious target (just look at their crazy labels!). But then, sometimes when I taste natural wines, they are a bit too far of the trail for me. I can’t wait to start the conversation with Rafa, a man with a huge knowledge of natural wines.
And we start the conversation the best way: by tasting. First we tried his white, Els Liants, made from mostly xarel·lo and a small percentage of moscatel – super fresh and crisp, very clean and almost a little floral. No oxidation at all, which I was suspecting because of the lack of sulphur. Later we tried two of his reds. La Figa and Pepe, both fermented using the carbonic maceration technique, leaving the wines extremely fruity and light, with less tannins. La Figa and Pepe are super charming and just like the white very glou-glou able.
Tasting is the most effective way of starting a conversation and building bridges. And it works: despite my previous experiences, I love all the wines that Rafa is serving, all very clean and fruity. Yeah, definitely it has blown my mind!
And now I’m gonna try to prepare a cocktail especially created for Rafa and Andere: a Martini con historia (Martini with history). Previously, I freezed some water on the bottom of the porró. I use La Mallorquina gin and instead of vermouth I use a wine from 1985 from my grandpa, an Optima Auslese. Gin-wine relation is 4:1. After some refreshing sips, Rafa brings Virra, a wine you can drink like a beer, less alcoholic and very fresh. And Andere prepares some delicious pa amb tomàquet and olives. Truth is that we have met for the first time a couple of hours ago, and we feel like we are friends for life: they are the perfect hosts.
Crafting gin and natural wines it’s different but I think that tasting them it’s similar: both are easy drinking, without the seriousness of more traditional wines. More freedom. More glou-glou. And definitely, more natural.

They say “a guest never forgets the host who had treated him kindly”. I’ll never forget this sunny day of October.

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