The Wine: Litrona Xarel-lo Vermell 2019
Finca Parera Litrona Xarel-lo Vermell is a white skin-contact (orange wine) natural wine made from 100% Xarel-lo Vermell certified biodynamic grapes grown in Penedes, Catalunya, Spain. The grapes were macerated on the skins for 5 days in cement vats, then pressed, and aged for 10 months. The wine was bottled unfiltered with no added sulfites.
The Producer: Finca Parera
Ruben was born into a family of farmers. He is currently in the fourth generation of farmers (since 1892) and heads his family's small winery Finca Parera (production is less than 1,500 cases annually). The family's vines are planted alongside their certified organic cherry orchards – the first to become so in Penedès. It wasn't until Ruben finished his viticulture and enology studies that they started making wines under their label.
Their vineyards are located in the Upper Penedès. Upper Penedès is by far the furthest inland and is defined by its relatively high-altitude, mountainous characteristics. Grape yields in this area tend to be small, but the quality is excellent. This area also enjoys the most rainfall and has the greatest temperature fluctuations. The Pareras' vines are planted in mostly calcareous-clay soil. They have young vines as well as vines around 78 years old.
Ruben converted his family's 10-hectare estate from organic to biodynamic (2013). In addition to grapes and cherries, the family also farms almonds and olives. They have a vegetable garden as well as a beehive for personal honey. Everything on their land is farmed according to biodynamic principles. Ruben has continued the natural process into the cellar. Grapes are manually harvested. Fermentation occurs spontaneously with native yeast. Low to no SO2 is added. Ruben is crafting wines of the terruño (terroir). He is seeking drinkability without compromising depth and complexity. Other objectives of Finca Parera are recovering autochthon varieties such as Sumoll and Xarel-lo. (source: Sylvester Rovine)
The Region: Penedès
Penedès is a sub-region located west of Barcelona, in Catalunya, Spain. Penedès is Catalunya’s most important wine district and carries the status of DO, Denominación de Origen. The region is famous worldwide for its main product: the excellent Cava sparkling wine – made with the Champenoise method.
The Terroir of Penedès
Penedès has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers. The three subregions in which it can be divided, Baix Penedès, Medio Penedès, and Alt Penedès (where Azimut is located) – respectively low, middle, high Penedès, - have slightly different climates due primarily to altitude and distance from the coast. Soils range from calcareous, the prevalent formation, to sandy and clayey.
The Red Wines of Penedès
Red wines are usually blends of native varietals such as Tempranillo, Penedès main red grape varietal, Garnacha (Garnatxa), Monastrell, and Carinena. In recent years, a handful of producers have been experimenting with international varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with good results.
The White Wines of Penedès
White still wines, in other words, non-Cava white wines, are made from the same native varietals used for Catalunya’s flagship sparkler, Xarel-lo, Macabeo, and Parellada. Only recently Chardonnay has been used both in Cava blends and as a still wine, a trend that’s gaining popularity.