Once upon a time … in 2001, Massimo and Antonella packed their bags and left behind Piedmont, Italy and moved to Bonastre, Narboneta in Catalonia. This Italian couple’s journey in winemaking began with a serendipitous encounter with a neglected vineyard in Catalonia's Tarragona region.
How It Began:
When the couple moved to Spain, they wanted to grow all sorts of tasty local produce, but soon came to realise that there was no local wine that danced to the same tune. So, what did they do? They decided to roll up their sleeves, grab some shovels, and make their own wines! They started this by looking for vineyards, and found some, they did.
But these weren't your typical vineyards. Nope, these were like old rock stars past their prime. Many folks thought they were a bit crazy for choosing these vineyards. They were ancient, cranky, low-yielding, and filled with grape varieties that others had cast aside. Some vineyards had even been kicked out of the prestigious D.O. club for lacking colour, like poor Sumoll. Others were never even accepted in the first place! But Massimo and Antonella didn't care about the naysayers. They saw potential where others saw problems.
Whenever they heard of or found similar vineyards, they'd swoop in, capes and all. The couple would either buy the vineyard or team up with its owner, with one rule: to always farm it sustainably. And get this— once, they even found a plot of Bobal bush vines that was a whopping 400 kilometres away from their cosy spot in Bonastre!
Environmental responsibility is at the core of Partida Creus's philosophy. They have adopted organic and biodynamic farming practices, ensuring that their vineyards coexist harmoniously with nature. Their commitment to sustainability is not merely a trend but a way of life. For beginners in the world of eco-conscious winemaking, this means you can savour their wines with a clear conscience, knowing that every bottle is a testament to responsible viticulture.
The Wonder of Catalonia (Cataluña):
Catalonia, or better known locally as Catalunya (Cataluña), with its diverse landscapes, offers a rich tapestry of terroirs. Partida Creus, located near Tarragona in the northeastern part of Spain, benefits from this geographical diversity. The vineyards are influenced by the Mediterranean climate, with warm, sunny days and cool nights that provide the perfect conditions for grape ripening. The soils here vary from clay and limestone to rocky terrains, offering a wide range of growing environments for different grape varieties.
Image Source: Off Grid
Partida Creus's Approach to Winemaking:
Massimo, a self-taught winemaker, began his wine journey back in 2007. But it was the challenging vintage of 2013 that became a real game-changer for him and Antonella. Here's the twist: While organic-certified wines allow for a little dash of sulphur, these two rebels decided to kick sulphur to the curb entirely in 2013.
Now, what makes their wines so special? One word: freshness. Picture wines that are like a crisp morning breeze, filled with precision, a hint of salinity, delicate fruitiness, and just the right dash of acidity. These are wines designed not to be locked away in a cellar, but to be sipped, savoured, and truly enjoyed. They're authentic, vibrant, and alive.
While they hold deep respect for the winemaking heritage of the region they call home, what matters most to Antonella and Massimo, in the end, is their profound respect for the land itself. It's a place they've chosen to embrace, nurture, and honour.
Exploring Partida Creus:
- Partida Creus Brutal 2021: Crafted from a fusion of Vinyater, Subirat Parent, Xarel·lo, Cartoixa Vermell, Blanc de Sumoll grapes, Partida Creus Brutal's essence emerges from Catalunya's clayey-limestone Penedes soils. Each grape undergoes separate, spontaneous vinification. After blending, the wines mature in stainless steel tanks for 7 months. Unfiltered, sulphur-free, it flaunts a fruity-spicy aroma with a hint of volatility. The palate delights in its refreshing, crunchy, and utterly quaffable nature.
- Partida Creus BB Bobal 2020: A robust, herbal red made from the native Spanish red grape known as Bobal, giving you touches of bell pepper-y tones like a Cabernet Franc and baking spice with dark cherry fruit. The fruit from this bottling is sourced from a practising organic vineyard in Pendes. Like all the Partida Creus wines it is fermented with indigenous yeasts and bottled without fining and filtering.
- Partida Creus XL Xarel-lo 2020: This joyously alive white Ancestrale natural wine from Catalunya’s Partida Creus is obtained from 100% Xarel-lo, one of Spain’s most ancient varieties, from old vines on clay-limestone soils farmed organically. Imagine white Japanese peaches with thyme and passiflora, pandan leaf and lime zest with brioche crust.
- Partida Creus VN Vinel Lo Rojo 2021: VN is born from seven indigenous grape varieties: Garnatxa Negra, Ull de Perdiu, Sumoll, Queixall de Llop, Samsò, Garrut, and Trepat. Its name pays homage to "vinel-lo," a tradition of crafting low-alcohol table wines from grape pomace. Harvested by hand, it undergoes natural yeast fermentation and ages for 7 months in stainless steel tanks without added sulphur dioxide.