Argentinan “Mascota” Sparkles Gold in 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World

Rodolfo Sadler, affectionately known as “Opi” has had an illustrious career in the Argentinean wine world.  With over 25 years of experience, Opi is known for exceptional deftness and knowledge of vineyards and grapes with a particular mastery of the different Argentinean terroirs.  Having learned and perfected his craft working for the likes of the National Institute of Viticulture, and Bodegas Santa Ana, Opi started Mascota as a place to showcase his skill and passion for winemaking.

La Mascota 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2016Located in Finca La Mascota, the vineyards sit at the foot of the Andes in an area labelled “Primera Zona,” and recognised as Argentina’s best wine region.  A place with wide temperamental range with alluvial soil comprised of rock underneath clay-loam surface and near the Mendoza River, make for an ideal microclimate for Mascota’s 97 hectares of vineyards.

mv-lm-entrancela-mascota-sparkling-rose-extra-brut-3Inside the cellars, Opi’s hands-on approach means wines are carefully brought to maturity through small batch fermentation and barrel aging.  Expressive tastes are achieved through a combination of skill with artistic license, but with a strict focus on balance and varietal character that reflects the terroirs of the land.  This isn’t to say that refreshing and bright flavours take a back seat to woody or earthy tones that can often times by imbued from barrel aging, but rather base wines and curvee are crafted to enhance fruit flavours that add complexity and boldness to the final product.

Mascota is the culmination of Opi’s achievements as a prolific and celebrated winemaker.  Winemaking is his art, and Mascota is his canvas, where he has shown his ability to create exceptional wines ranging from basic, still, to high end, and sparkling.  No matter the price range, every bottle of Mascota is created with the same care and love and taste like an expensive treat.

La Mascota has the following sparkling wine amongst the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2016>>

La Mascota Sparkling (Gold medal with 94 pts) A wonderfully lively wine with a real dynamic play between acidity and fresh red summer fruits. Wild strawberry and lemon rind on the nose. A brisk style that is attractive and pleasant.Front Cover 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2016

 

Admire the “Pirraminna” from McLaren Vale with Eight Carat Sparkling Shiraz NV

pirramimma 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World by Wine PleasuresThe Pirramimma Winery was founded by Alexander Campbell Johnston in 1892 with the purchase of 97 hectares of farmland near the small Mediterranean-like village of McLaren Vale, nestled in the heart of the Adelaide hills in South Australia. The name Pirraminna which was chosen by the Johnston family to christen the newly purchased property over 100 years ago is an ancient Aborigine phrase which translates to ‘the moon and the stars’.

Since its establishment, Pirramimma Winery has been owned and operated by the Johnston family and is now in the capable hands of Geoff Johnston, grandson of the founder Alexander. Geoff now personally overseas all of the operations and winemaking, using his experience gained studying in both Australia and France. He is widely recognized for producing the first single varietal Petit Verdot in Australia. This began as a small trial area planted in 1983 and was researched for eleven years until 1994 when the first vintage was released. The Petit Verdot vineyard is now the largest in Australia with the well known and awarded variety covering over ten hectares of mature vines. 

pirramimma 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World by Wine PleasuresFor over 100 years the Johnston family has remained true to the Pirramimma philosophy; to produce wines from grapes grown on their own land to ensure the highest quality and standard are met and that the wines produced reflect the individual and unique regional characteristics of McLaren Vale. The production of premium red varieties account for over sixty percent of the vineyards, with Chardonnay being the primary single white grape planted.  However, an important aspect of the Pirramimma winery is that all processing and maturing of the grapes is completed on-site under the watchful eye of Geoff Johnston. This has been assisted in recent times by the recent construction of a 3100-square-metre naturally-cooled rammed earth facility for barrel storage. Here, Pirramimma’s wines may age under the best natural conditions, ensuring that the production of premium quality and affordable wines continues.

The Johnsons’ small family business has now bloomed into an internationally-recognised winery, boasting 250 hectares, of which 180 are covered with vineyards. With a production that not only includes eleven varieties of estate grown fruit, but also ancient and exotic fortified wines, Pirramimma has indeed continued to ascend to new heights as the years have passed.

pirramimma 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World by Wine PleasuresThe Pirramimma Winery is open seven days a week and encourages cellar door sales and visits year-round to enjoy the wine tasting on offer and the picturesque estate.

Pirramimma has the following sparkling wine amongst the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2016>>

Eight Carat Sparkling Shiraz NV (Gold medal with 95 pts)

Front Cover 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2016

Istenič Stara Vas na Bizeljsko Slovenia Great Sparkling Wines

The Istenič brand was born in Stara Vas, a small settlement in eastern Slovenia near the Croatian border, and over the years has garnered attention for the wine region Stara Vas na Bizeljsko, not only from wine lovers in Slovenia but around the world as well.

Istenič 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2016In the year 1968 the Istenič family bought 0.1 hectares of vineyard, and created their very first sparkling wine in the traditional method.  The sparkling wine was named “Barbara”, for their daughter, who was born in that same year.  This was the first privately produced sparkling wine in all of Slovenia.  Janez Istenič, the head of the family, began producing wines as the very first private producer of sparkling wines in Slovenia.  This was a groundbreaking event for wine making in Slovenia, as before this time all wine producers were large and socially owned.

In the 1990s, the Istenič family began to expand their winemaking endeavors.  They built a winery in beautiful Piršenbreg in 1995, which was nestled among 3 hectares of young vineyard.  In these vineyards Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris are planted.

Istenič 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2016Then in late 2006 the family bought 3 more hectares of vineyard in Drenovec, an area considered to be the best site for cultivating grape vines in Bizeljsko.  In this vineyard the white varieties Laški Rizling (Also known as Welschriesling) and Šipon (Also known as Furmint, a grape that originates in Hungary) thrive in wonderful conditions for grape growing.  This property in Drenovec there was an old winery in the very center of the vineyards, and in the year that followed the Istenič family completely renovated this winery.

The landscape in Stara Vas na Bizeljsko is tranquil and idyllic, rolling hills on all sides with vineyards soaking up the sun for many hours each day.  The terroir here is special, containing high levels of silicates that are rarely found elsewhere, and are an important source of nutrients for the vines.  The hills on which the vineyards lie sit at an altitude of between 170 and 350 metres above sea level.  The climate here gives excellent potential to the cultivation of grapes for white wines.  The days are sunny, especially during ripening season, and the nights are cool.  This allows the sugars grapes to reach ideal levels of acidity and sugars.

Istenič 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2016Istenič produces 200,000 bottles per year of sparkling wine, and is one of the leading houses in Slovenia.  Istenič is a multi award winning winery that combines traditional winemaking with modern cellaring technology and a powerful commitment to producing top quality sparkling wines.

Istenič 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2016For wine tourists traveling through Slovenia, the Villa Istenič is a breathtakingly beautiful manor, painted with pristine white and lemon yellow, with foundations laid in 1740.  Rooms and suites may be rented for wine tourism.  It is situated the entrance to the Bizeljsko wine region, on top of a hill with wineries on all sides.  Guests will of course receive a bottle of chilled sparkling wine, and may relax and enjoy all that this exceptional wine region of Slovenia has to offer.

Istenič have the following sparkling wines amongst the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2016>>

Nº 1 Cuvée Speciale (Silver medal 91 pts)
Prestige Brut (Silver medal 90 pts)
Gourmet Rosé 2006 Magnum (Silver medal 90 pts)

Front Cover 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2016

Fratelli Agnes, Rovescola since 1912. Exceptional Frizzantes


The family operating the Azienda Agricola Fratelli Agnes, an Italian winery with beautiful vineyards located in Rovescala, Lombardia, creates truly exceptional Frizzante sparkling wines.  This is most certainly due in part to profoundly deep roots in traditional wine making.  Grapes have been cultivated and wine produced in Rovescala for over 800 years!

Fratelli Agnes 50 Great Sparkling wines of the world

A notarized historical document exists, dated all the way back to March 22, 1192, stating that three Lombardi feudal lords, noble creditors, required repayment from Anselmo, the Count of Rovescala.  Rather than demanding the money back, they requested 2,000 litres of fine wine and an escort of armed men to protect the load on the journey back to Milan.  They requested, “de puro vino suarum vinearum de Rovescalla, de meliori quod habuerit super locum” (pure wine of the vineyards of Rovescala, a place that has the best).  The document is currently held in safekeeping at the State Archives of Milan.  Archaeological finds also attest to the age old winemaking tradition of the region, some dating back to Roman times, including fragments of beautiful relics used for serving wine.

The municipality of Rovescala is nestled amongst thriving vineyards in the region of Oltrepò Pavese.  This area lies in the province of Pavia, in Lombardia.  Located in the northwest region of Italy, Lombardia is frequently referred to as the “Tuscany of the North”, due to the abundance of remarkable and authentic Italian wines.  The Oltrepò Pavese in particular has a wealth of vineyards, medieval villages and castles, panoramic views and authentic Italian cuisine and wine.  This region is the largest producer of wines in Lombardia, and one of the largest in all of Italy, especially of wines made with Pinot Nero grapes.

It is in this rich, historic region that the Azienda Agricola Fratelli Agnes may be found.  The family also has very deep roots in the tradition of winemaking, and began cultivating grapes and producing fine wines in 1912.

Agnes Fratelli 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World

The prestigious winery of Azienda Agricola Fratelli Agnes produces 120,000 bottles of wine each year.  They craft their wines using grapes grown exclusively in their own 20 hectares of vineyard.  The harvest is done manually.  They cultivate Bonardo Pignolo di Rovescala and Croatina, red grape varietals that are local to the Oltrepò Pavese region as well as, to a lesser extent, some other areas of Lombardia.  Vines are planted in plots, and grapes are collected and crushed separately according to type in order to maintain as much of their unique characteristics as possible.

The wines of Azienda Agricola Fratelli Agnes continue to win awards in Italy and around the globe, which further inspires the family to create even finer wines.  To this end, they have recovered and reintroduced old vines of grape varietals that, over time, have been abandoned or forgotten.  One such example is the Bonarda Pignolo, with which they create wines that possess certain flavours unique to this grape.

Agnes Fratelli 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2

Today, the brothers Christian and Sergio Agnes operate the Azienda Agricola Fratelli cresta del ghiffi bottiglia mdAgnes.  With the wealth of knowledge that has been passed down to them from generation to generation, and by respecting time-honoured traditions, they perpetuate the production of superb wines, which capture the spirit of their land.

Fratelli Agnes have the following sparkling wines amongst the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2016>>

Vigna della Composta 2013 (Silver medal with 93 pts)
Cresta del Ghiffi 2017 (Silver medal with 91 pts)

Front Cover 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2016

Franciacorta’s Corte Aura Fizz in 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World

Corte Aura Franciacorta 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World The Corte Aura winery creates outstanding sparkling wines of the Franciacorta region. Franciacorta is a small wine-producing area in Lombardy, northern Italy. It is famous for its high-quality sparkling wines, which are made very much in the image of Champagne. The Franciacorta wine region is located in the Brescia province, in the hills immediately south east of the foot of Lake Iseo.  Corte Aura is located in the area of Adro in the province of Brescia. The commune of Adro lies at the feet of Monte Alto, about 6km from Lake Iseo in the south western area of Brescia. Monte Aldo protects the vines from wind and fog and enables the creation of a perfectly temperate climate for the cultivation of grapes. The small village of Adro has been considered an ideal place for the cultivation of for thousands of years. This is also confirmed by the emblem of the town on which is depicted 3 bunches of grapes.

Federico Fossati, the “Soul of Corte Aura”, was born in 1978.  He came from the Veneto to the region of Lombardia with the determination to produce a Franciacorta of exceptional quality and to reap the benefits from the land, bringing together the particular characteristics and the typicality of the soil to achieve a high standard of wine. Motivated by this desire, Federico Fossati left behind a career in accounting to dedicate himself completely to the fulfillment of his winemaking dream and saw his future in Adro, Franciacorta.

Corte Aura Franciacorta 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the WorldFederico believes that producing wines of fantastic quality is the key to success in creating a product able to withstand the test of time. Even without coming from a wine making background himself, he is inspired by the passion of doing and took a risk with the Corte Aura project, investing all of his resources in the leadership and marketing of his wines.

The grapes used in these delicate sparkling wines are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, in varying amounts depending on the type.

Although relatively unknown in global terms, Franciacorta is widely regarded as Italy’s finest sparkling wine.  Like Cava and Champagne, Franciacorta is made in the traditional method where the second fermentation takes place in the same bottle as the wine is sold to consumers.

There are different types of Franciacorta based on the length of time the sparkling wine ages. The Franciacorta nonvintage is aged for 18 months whereas the Corte Aura Franciacorta 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World SatènFranciacorta Satèn sees 24 months of aging. The Franciacorta Rosé is aged for 30 months and the longest aging goes to the Franciacorta Riserva that has to age for 60 months. These are just minimum aging times.

Corte Aura has the following sparkling wines amongst the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2016>>

  • Franciacorta Satèn 2009 (Gold medal with 96 points)
  • Franciacorta Rosé 2011 (Gold medal with 95 points)
  • Franciacorta Pas Dosè2008 (Silver medal with 93 points)
  • Franciacorta Brut 2010 (Silver medal with 91 points)

50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2016 – Get your copy here:

Front Cover 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2016

Euro 2016 France – Wine Correlation Theory

Eurocopa wine correlation theory by Wine PleausresEuro 2016 Wine Correlation Theory – what’s that ? Wine Pleasures has developed a theory which will virtually guarantee that you can pick a winner at the Euro 2016 Tournament. So if you fancy a punt at the bookies heed the theory! Successful teams at European and World Cups almost always produce wine. How well a team does is directly related to how good the wines are coming out of that country. So let’s look at some of the 2016 group games so far:

France vs Romania 2 -1 France, clearly a superior wine making country.

Albania vs Switzerland 0-1 A no brainer if you happen to know Switzerland is making great wines. Albania does produce wine.

Wales vs Slovakia 2-1 Must be due to the sparkling wines coming on in Wales.

England vs Russia 1-1 No comment.

Turkey vs Croatia 0-1 Two countries making great wine.Could have gone either way.

Poland vs Northern Ireland 1-0 Are Poland must be making some wine?

Germany vs Ukraine 2-0 Some good wines coming out of Ukraine but not good enough against Germany.

Apply the theory to upcoming games – Coming up:

Spain vs Czech Republic – No brainer result in terms of wine

Belgium vs Italy – again another no brainer at the bookies

Ireland vs Sweden – Tricky one. Go for Sweden or a draw

Austria vs Hungary – even stevens? Hungary should have the edge.as some wines were at IWINETC 2016

Portugal vs Iceland – Another no brainer

Apply the Euro 2016 Wine Correlation Theory to other games and you’ll get the final two teams and win yourself a fortune at the bookies

Enjoy the games and the wines from their respective countries!

By Wine Pleasures

Mas Macia since MCCC

50 Great Cavas BohigasThe family owned winery on the outskirts of Òdena (Igualada) has been thriving since the 13th Century. Now known as Mas Macia, its name has changed several times over the years while being passed from generation to generation of nephews and sons. However the value and appreciation of its heritage has not withered in the slightest which is evident by the continual use of the old cellars and the preservation of the original country house.

Fermi Bohigas 50 Great Cavas 2013The property spans over 200 hectares with the use of 35 hectares of vineyard, the family enjoys the advantages of having these vines grown close and this means a quick delivery to the cellars.

It was in the late 1920´s that the history of Cava first began at this winery. Originally it was produced and sold only in the local region but its success grew from there and as it has since been passed through the family and subject to the innovation of the winemakers along the way. It is now the key to their success, producing over 600,000 bottles a year with 90% of these being exported.

50 Great Cava roducer Fermí BohigasThe underground cellar built in 1547 still to this day functions as the place for these Cavas to undergo the fermentation period required to produce the high quality Reservas and Gran Reservas. The impressive hand built cellar with its interconnecting tunnels holding 60,000 bottles each is incredible to walk through. You can appreciate the work that must have been put into such a system, un-phased by the years, apart from some spider webs hanging from the corners and the damp puddles in the path.

50 Great Cava roducer Fermi BohigasA treat for visiting tourists is the interactive activity set up where they can not only see how a Cava was produced by the ancestors of this family but they can create their own, cork, label and all to take home as a souvenir. Another truly unique experience is the insight into typical Catalan life from another time. The house in its very design tells a story of the lifestyle lived. In the centre of the house is a large open space where animals would be herded through. The bedrooms are to the side of the first floor, where it could be kept the warmest and the third floor is used for grinding cereals. Beyond this, the house is filled with pieces of intrigue from the dowry cases of the girls of the family to the enormous dinner set with each piece individually hand crafted.

Bohigas wineryBeyond just another visit on the wine trail, Mas Macia presents the perfect setting for a holistic Catalan experience. Whether it’s a tasting of their Cava stood around a wine barrel in the front garden, or for those visiting in the summer, they can be treated to a show of traditional Catalan dances.

Bohigas have the following Cavas amongst the 50 Great Cavas 2016>>

  • Bohigas Brut Reserva 2013 (Gold medal with 96 points)
  • Noa de Fermí Bohigas 2011 (Gold medal with 94 points)

50 Great Cavas 2016 – The Book available here>>

50 Great Cavas 2016 - The Book

The Finest Wine Producing Regions in Italy

If there was a prize for winemaking destinations, Italy would be a strong contender for first place, at the very least. Renowned for excelling with its cuisine, this Mediterranean, boot-shaped nation also turns a stellar hand to viticulture. Here we look at five of the best wine producing wines in Italy.

The Finest Wine Producing Regions in Italy

Sicily

The hot climate and volcanic soil have allowed Sicily to offer a list of vineyards as long as your arm. A lot of these produce mere table wines, but there are vintages out there. Seek and you will find. Marsala is one such wine and boasts ruby and amber tones. This is a dessert wine and tastes so good that none other than Lord Nelson himself held a penchant for it. He encouraged the local vintners to produce the wine in large quantities.

Campania

The landscapes of Campania, southern Italy, are the place to look for more powerful wines. Produced in the shin of the Italian boot, you’ll find vineyards on volcanic slopes at high levels, which go on to make wines that feel stronger and as if they pack more of a punch than the wines grown in the gentler climes. And it’s in Campania where you’ll find the wine referred to as the ‘Barolo of the South’ — Taurasi, grown from the Aglianico. It’s also the home of the famous Lacryma Christi (Tears of Christ), the white wine which grows in the volcanic soil near Naples.

Tuscany and Cambria

It would be almost criminal to omit Tuscany and Cambria from any list of fine wine producing regions in Italy. Chianti, made from the Sangiovese grape, is the most famous kind of wine in the country and when you hear the name ‘Chianti’, you’ll think of Tuscany, whereas the white Orvieto and the red Torgiano are products of Cambria. Barone Riscoli does a fine Chianti and has been producing wine since the 12th century. It’s one of the oldest wineries in Tuscany.

The Finest Wine Producing Regions in Italy

Veneto

Helping to fly the flag for winemakers in northern Italy is the Veneto region. The hills of Conegliano–Valdobbiadene stand out in particular and have been cultivating the Prosecco vine with stern dedication for more than 200 years now. The Valdobbiadene area can take much of the credit for the wine production, whereas Conegiliano hosts a lot of the wine institutes. Since the steepness of the hills prevents the wine making process from being mechanized, the sparkling wines of the region are the product of painstaking graft by small growers.

Piemonte

Piemonte is a high-altitude region near the Italian bordered with France and rich reds with complex flavours make up the majority of its output. The region grows the black grapes of Nebbiolo and Barbera, which go on to find their way into famous wines such as Barolo, Barbera d’Asti and Barbera d’Alba. Looking to experience somewhere that specializes in Barolo, try the home of Guido Porro.

The beauty of Italy is that you’ll never grow tired of visiting its wine destinations. Wine making is quite simply in the blood.

Images by daviddeamico and kekko64, used under Creative Commons license

Cava Bertha migrates to the vineyards

Cava Bertha amongst the 50 Great Cavas 2016Walk through the centre of the Capital of Cava, Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, and you will see a multitude of doorways advertising the sale of Cava. Step in and you will be sure to be invited to go underground to see bottles of Cava ageing on their lees and you will most likely finish up with a glass of Cava Brut Nature. Most of these producers are small and have been for decades. Others have left behind their cramped and restrictive cellars and have built brand new modern facilities slap bang in the middle of their vineyards. Cava Bertha (formerly Josep Torres Sibil) is one such example of this migration.

Cava Bertha amongst the 50 Great Cavas 2016Owner and winemaker Josep Torres Sibil started crafting Cava in 1989 and it wasn’t until 2014 that the move to the present vineyard location, just 2 kms out of Sant Sadurní was made.  Cava Bertha is clearly visible from the “Cava Highway” (the road connecting Sant Sadurní d’Anoia with Vilafranca del Penedès) but actually getting to it can be a bit of a challenge and a bit of fun at the same time. Drive one way and you have to figure out which vineyard to drive through, drive another way you have fast traffic coming at you as you make a U turn.

Bertha 3Once at the winery you are surrounded by vineyards and great views of the mountain of Montserrat and the Subirats Castle. As the winery has only just been built do not expect dark, musty, cobwebbed underground caves, quite the opposite, you will find a practical, clean and well organized work place where Cava bottles can be easily moved around throughout the whole production process.

Cava Bertha amongst the 50 Great Cavas 2016The jewel in the crown at Cava Betha is the possibility of being able to sit outside on the terrace and taste Cavas in the middle of vineyards and admire the panoramic views. A windowed tasting room is available in the event of rain and/or if it is a bit chilly outside which affords the same views that you get from the terrace.

Josep clearly had wine tourism in mind when he gave his architect the brief on how he wanted his winery to be built. Several visit options can be found on the web site including  “ A Catalan Breakfast in the Vineyards”  which consists of local cured meats, cheeses, breads, olives and coca (not the Colombian kind but the sweet pastry bread kind typical in the region) all washed down with any or all of the Cava Bertha Cavas included amongst the 50 Great Cavas. The extravagance ends with a visit to the winery, that is, if you are able to get up.

A healthier alternative is the Bertha & Fit which consists of a bike ride, run or walk amongst the seven hectares of Chardonnay, Macabeo and Xarel.lo. Yoga too is available upon request.

Cava Bertha amongst the 50 Great Cavas 2016Cava Bertha have the following Cavas amongst the 50 Great Cavas 2016>>

  • SXXI Rosé 2009 (Gold medal with 97 points)
  • Bertha Brut 1989 (Gold medal with 96 points)
  • Bertha Lounge 2013 (Gold medal with 94 points)
  • Cardús 2009 (Silver medal with 92 points)

50 Great Cavas 2016 – The Book available here>>

Avoid Locauto Italy like the Plague

Barrachi 5Italy is probably first choice for many as a grape escape destination in the Old World. Perhaps the most visited wine region in Italy is Tuscany and most wine tourists making the journey to Italy will most likely be landing at Rome Fiumicino Airport or Leonardo da Vinci as it is also called. The FIT traveler will undoubtedly be a DIY wine tourist and one of the first things to do upon arrival will be to rent a car as most wineries tend to be down hidden lanes and not accessible by public transport.

So which car rental company should you choose? Better question would be which car rental NOT to choose? The answer to the latter question is clearly the Italian car rental company Locauto who since 2013 are partners with Enterprise Rent a car.

As Wine Pleasures organizes events and wine tasting tours for thousands of people each year in Italy we often need the use of a car rental company. We had the misfortune on 16 December 2015 to contract the services of Locauto and here is my story.

Upon arrival at Rome Airport I mistakenly made my way to the Hertz desk (our usual car rental provider) and gave in my papers and was surprised to discover we were using a different company namely Locauto.

Around the corner at the Locauto counter there were 3 ladies sat down chatting and having a laugh amongst themselves. After finishing off a few chuckles and words which amounted a 2 minutes, the one in the middle reached out for papers in hand and started the car rental admin. I was then asked to fill in a form requesting information provided at the time of booking online. By now 4 people had made a queue to get a car and at which time one of the employees went off somewhere while the other decided to do some computer work she obviously hadn’t finished prior to the 3 having a chat.

Locauto staff chuckle and giggle while customers wait
Locauto staff chuckle and giggle while customers wait

15 minutes later when all was signed I was told that the car was not ready but would be in 15 minutes and in the meantime I should make my way down to the car pick up area. This I did taking 7 minutes to get to the pick up spot. With papers in hand I was ready to go but this was not going to be an easy task. I was told that the car was not ready yet as it had to be washed and oil checked and so on and it would take 15 minutes to which I said that I could not be delayed any further as I had a meeting appointment somewhere in Marche to keep and suggested they gave me another car or up or down grade. Indeed, I pointed to a Renault Clio which was the model paid for and was told that the car I pointed out was automatic and therefore more expensive. 25 minutes later my car arrived and guess what it was the same Renault Clio that was parked up when I arrived and it was a manual drive.

Next came the damage check and I was shown a piece of paper indicating more than a dozen scratches or dents and was informed that the petrol gauge did not show a full tank of petro l as it was faulty and was told that I should trust Locauto or more specifically the girl in charge that the tank was full – well all of this took 10 more minutes making a total from desk to driving out of the car park a whopping 57 minutes !!

A Locauto scamming technique - faulty fuel gauge
A Locauto scamming technique – faulty fuel gauge

Well after that nothing else to report and yes I arrived about 30 mins late for my appointment.

Next day and just before arriving at the airport I stopped to refuel in order to return the car full of petrol and guess what? The fuel gauge needle marked a full tank and I thought to myself you lying  xxxxxxx

It was touch and go to get to the airport on time and in time to make check in. Returning the car proved to be another difficult task. With 7 employees seemingly all doing  the same thing looking at papers on a podium, I wasn’t prepared to stand around waiting again until someone decided to become available to sign the car in and so applied the shouting strategy to get a speedy attention and this worked.

6-7 Minutes later and the key was taken off me and the time of return recorded. Then came the inspection procedure and was told that there was some new damage on the front right side-wheel which were scratch marks. I said I had not had any accident nor had I hit anything or scuffed a curb. To which I was told that I should have pointed out this damage at time of pick you. Yeah 57 minutes waiting around and you want me to spend more time checking for scratches. As a customer I trust you do your job ad mark all the damage before handing the car over I should not need to check anything.

Don't accpet a Locauto car with dozens of scratch marks or dents. You'll be charged for one you did not make!
Don’t accept a Locauto car with dozens of scratch marks or dents

Then I raised the matter of wasting my time at pick up and the petrol gauge needle to which I was told sometimes it works and sometimes it does not. Further delay arguing was not an option as check in deadline was imminent.

Back in Barcelona our company wrote to Locauto outlining our cause of concern stating while we would not seek compensation for time-wasting and the difference in the cost of petrol of a full tank and a 90% full fuel tank we did not expect to be charged for scratch marks not caused during our 24 hour rental period.

Locauto replied using a no reply email address stating how much they had charged our credit card for damage without mention or apology for the inconvenience caused. Later through their website we endeavoured to submit our reply and claim only to find that the link to bring up a form did not work.

We went to twitter to find the Locauto account – they haven’t got one but there is the #Locauto which makes for interesting reading – most of the comments warning people to stay clear of Locauto. We looked at the Locauto FB page and were surprised how high the like number was at just over 3,000 people but then we went to the Hertz FB and page and saw 247,000 + likes which makes 3,000 seem like a true reflection. Indeed, we thought that these likes were most likely to be forced employee likes. We googled Locauto – pages of bad experiences including on TripAdvisor. Well enough was enough and so we decided to go public with our experience and warn other car rental users who NOT to work with.

From our experience I feel we must echo the stay clear of Locauto as per #Locauto as the service is frankly shoddy and we would say it is a company not to be trusted. As a business, it is not a sustainable one as their strategy is to get sales as opposed to building up loyal and happy customers. If Enterprise Rent a Car are partners they should take heed of the customer service crimes committed by Locauto staff and management and in view of the Locauto experience we feel we must also black list partners Enterprise.

Probable future of Locauto - no customers!
Probable future of Locauto – no customers!

Anthony Swift
Rental agreement number 25233.

We’d love to hear other people’s experiences. Please leave a comment.