Green apple, perfumed white flowers, salty
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Grapes are harvested manually using small 10 Kilogram (22lb) boxes to avoid damaging the grapes. Fermented at low temperature with native yeasts
Cellar Finca Parera is located in Cataluña, Spain, growing most of their vines in the upper Penedes. They are fourth generation farmers since 1892, organic winegrowers since 1999 and biodynamic winemakers since 2013.
Heir of three generations of country people devoted to the cultivation of vegetable gardens and orchards in the Llobregat valley, Jordi Parera decided, 25 years ago, to sell the fields he owned in a mostly industrial area of Baix Llobregat today and move his operation to the municipality of Sant Llorenç d'Hortons, in the Alt Penedès region. He acquired twenty-two hectares of fertile land where, despite the scarce rainfall, he immediately planted cherry and plum trees.
His son Rubén Parera, a child then, grew knowing his life unfold in the countryside as a farmer, just like his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He directed the fruit tree tradition of his family towards grapes and wine. The plum trees gave way to the first Xarel-lo stocks in 1998, a trend that continued for the next few years. In 1999, the first harvest of those grapes involved the establishment of Bodega Minguet in a farmhouse in El Papiol, where he created a range of auteur wines without DO for a decade.
On this journey, father and son embraced the organic agriculture approach of polyculture for the vines as well as for the cherry, plum and olive trees on the estate. This forced them to adopt new ways of working. Today, the plum trees are gone a small extension of land is devoted to cherries and olives. The vineyards have a very rustic look.
On the over 27 acres they grow a respectable amount of the white varieties Xarel-lo (from vines more than eighty years old), younger Xarel-lo, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and white Garnacha and the red varieties Tempranillo, Sumoll, Garnacha Tinta, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Since 2012, Rubén Parera has focused much if his energies on the new cellar, located in a section of the historic Can Rimundet farmhouse in Sant Joan Samora, documented since the 16th century. In barely 360 square feet, he manages to produce about 50,000 bottles of original wines with a great deal of character under the DO Penedès.
Grapes: Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Xarel-lo
Chardonnay is another native grape to Burgundy (France) and is solely responsible for "White Burgundy" wines. Chardonnay mania reached a peak in the late 1980s during that time it's plantings totaled around 247,000 acres. By 2010 that acreage increase to almost 500,000 acres. Winemakers love Chardonnay for it's malleability. It will respond to a much wider range of winemaking techniques than other white grapes and has the ability to age in the bottle, even when picked early.
Gewürztraminer is an aromatic variant of the pink skinned Savagnin and makes white wines with perfumed full-bodied characteristics. Wines made from this grapes have lychee and roses and can be incredibly savory. It has a long history in Alsace and can be known to create white wines that have exceptionally high alcohol content, sometimes close to 14%.
It is grown in small quantities in Switzerland and Luxembourg as well as in the high Penedes. It is essentially a mountain grape in Italy, where it is still grown in Alto Adige. Gewürztraminer needs a cool environment in order to balance it's aromatics with high acidity, and this is difficult in the warmer climates of the New World. There has been some successful experimentation with this grape in New Zealand and the Pacific Northwest, but it has largely (and literally) lost ground to Riesling, which is more commonly grown in these regions.
Xarel-lo is a white grape variety planted exclusively in Cataluña and is used to produce the famous sparkling wines of the Penedes DO. It is also known as Pansa Blanca and is typically used to conjunction with Parellada and Macabeo to make Cava blends. It has a characteristic vegetal smell and provides a green note to Cava that somewhat sets it apart from other traditional method wines.
Region: Penedes, DO
Penedes is the largest and most important wine zone in Cataluña, producing wines from over 36,000 acres of vineyard. It's close proximity to Barcelona made it one of the first regions in Spain to mass produce wine and when France was stricken with Phylloxera, became an important market.
Penedes rises from the Mediterranean and is divided into a series of three zones. Low Penedes reaches elevations of 825ft. The warmest part of the region which traditionally grew Malvasia and Moscatel de Alejandria grapes for sweet fortified wines.
The second zone, Medio Penedes, is around 1,600 feet above sea level and is the most productive part of the region, providing much of the base wine for the sparkling wine, Cava.
Penedes Superior at 2,000-2600ft above sea level, is the coolest part of the region where some of the best white grapes are grown. The native grape, Parellada, but also Riesling, Muscat, Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay are grown here.
Tasting: Green apple, perfumed white flowers, salty
Pairing: Mayport shrimp, mussels with garlic white wine sauce, ratatouille over creamy polenta