For a wine lover, Spain has everything – well almost! From attractive fizz to delicious, crisp, dry whites, sweet-fruited satisfying reds and a unique range of fortified wines. But you won’t find all of these styles all over Spain; Spain comprises 17 determinedly autonomous regions, each growing its own particular grape varieties and frequently producing distinctly different wines from its neighbours.
One of the most independent-minded of these regions is Catalonia, the home of Spain’s Traditional Method sparkling wine, Cava, as well as many innovative and dynamic producers – Miguel Torres springs readily to mind. But Catalonia also has many smaller, lesser-known estates offering distinctive high quality wines, often based on unusual blends of grape varieties.
One such estate is Parés Baltà with vineyards in the hilly Penedès district, west of Barcelona. Here, they grow an assortment of grapes following biodynamic principles – a sort of super-organic regime that I have explained in more detail in past blogs. The all-female winemaking team have created an interesting product range including a delicious red, Mas Petit (Corks, £15.99), made from a blend of Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon, that we enjoyed recently.
I decanted the wine an hour before drinking revealing a lovely deep, ruby colour. The nose, a little dumb at first, soon opened up giving aromas of red cherries, dried herbs and toasty vanilla. To taste, the wine was quite soft and very approachable, concealing the 14.5% alcohol well. There was a hint of subtle vanilla spice from 7 months in older French oak barrels but the main impression was of vibrant red and black fruits and a delightful herbiness.
Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon may not be the most common blend of grapes but here it worked well with, perhaps surprisingly, the soft richness of the Grenache taking centre stage ahead of the usually more forward Cabernet. Food match? Pretty versatile, I’d say, but we teamed it with some roast duck legs coated with an aromatic spicy rub. Delicious!