First Published Costa News Group April 2012

BODEGAS PARÉS BALTÁ

DO PENEDÉS

Although the original vineyards were first planted in 1790 it wasn’t really until the Cusiné family bought the site, now known as Bodegas Parés Baltá, that the winery moved up a gear heading, ultimately, for the fast lane of quality Penedés wine producion.

Indeed each incoming generation of this still family owned bodega changed gear, including the current incumbents, founder Joan Cusiné Hill’s grandchildren, Joan and Josep Cusiné Carol, who have bought new and fresh ideas to the business, whilst simultaneously respecting family tradition.

Actually Joan and Josep have brought more than just business acumen and innovation to the winery – they’ve each brought along their wives, who are probably the only sister-in-law wine making team in Spain and maybe beyond! So the future looks good – but what of the wines?

Well I was given a no-holds-barred tasting by their representative, Nottingham born and Liverpool Uni educated, UK Export Manager, Anna Booth, whose infinite charm, I hoped, would be matched by the cavas and white wines that I was about to sample. I only had time for the whites, but I’m relishing the reds which should soon arrive!

Selectio S brut Cava has had 30 months in bottle before its release onto the market. This makes it, by my reckoning a Reserva + style – i.e. its ageing is longer than for a regular Reserva but not quite as long as a Gran Reserva. However such distinctions don’t really matter to the the winemakers whose priority is simply to release when the time is right and not according to a calendar.

Made with 100% organic grapes (the family have always farmed organically, gaining the official certificate in 2004), the blend is of all three traditonal varieties Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel.lo plus some Chardonnay. At about 12€ only, this wine, from the company’s Classical Range, wines that are made to enjoy and drink now, was an excellent start! It has understated creamy patisserie notes on the nose but on the palate there is good depth of flavour with a fine mousse.

Perhaps the flagship of the bodega is the Micro-cuvée range, wines and cavas made from low yielding old vines grown in vineyards that boast beneficial micro-climates and terroirs. Their Micro-cuvée wines and cavas simultaneously convey full flavours and elegance, perhaps in no small way due to the feminine influence of the winemakers!

From this range comes Blanca Cusiné 2008 Cava whose Champagne-esque blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (the Pinot having been fermented in 400 litre French Oak barrels) is expressive on the nose, a touch toasty, and deeply flavoured on the palate with a long finish. It’s had 35 months in bottle following it’s second fermentation and as such is a similar style to a cava Gran Reserva.

The Rosa Cusiné 2008, named after the Great-grandmother, is a new release. A peach-melba coloured rosado cava made from 100% Garnacha whose taste and perfume is as good as it looks, sitting so elegantly in a flute tempting the onlooker!

Blanc de Pacs (named after Pacs, the village where the winery is situated) is a dry white still wine with a cool label! Cava’s Parellada, Xarel.lo and Macabeo are used for this super, quite aromatic aperitif wine which is fresh with an attractive medium length. At only about 5€ per bottle it’s a wine to always have in the fridge, just for when you need a refreshing drink!

On the highest slopes of their property, in fact the highest in Penedés, stands the Gewurztraminer vineyard, from whence their elegant, perhaps a touch understated 100% Gewurz comes. A food wine this, one for Indonesian and Chinese cusine (see PS below)! For me the Indigena which is made from 60 year old Garnacha Blanca vines, without any oak, but having had time on its lees with regular stirring, is still developing its creaminess and will be best kept a few months before trying again.

Finally (for now) I tried Electio the Xarel.lo wine fermented in steel but with about five months of French Oak (400 litre barrels) which was a super wine with baked green apples and cream on the nose and an elegant mid-length finish.

PS After a successful first in our series of Ethnic Cuisine and Spanish Wine pairings this week, now is your cahnce to be involved with the next! We are at Restaurante Bajul, Indonesian Cuisine, on Wednesday 16th May, where Chef/Patron Frans is preparing an excellent selection from his menu and I’ll be matching them with some super wines, a different wine for each dish! The cost is only 18€! Please call me to reserve – 629 388 159

Contact Colin: colin@colinharknessonwine.com and through his unique wine service website, www.colinharknessonwine.com

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