The Wine: XL Xarel-lo Ancestral NV
Partida Creus XL Xarel-lo Ancestral NV is a white' sparkling natural wine made from grapes farmed organically in Penedes, Catalunya, Spain. This wine is made naturally without any addition - native yeasts, no sulfites, unfiltered, unfined.
The Producer: Partida Creus
The name Partida Creus is a reference to the crosses used for separating holdings back in the day. Massimo Marchiori and Antonella Gerona are an Italian couple from Piedmont. Both of them architects who initially moved to Barcelona for that reason. Around the year 2000, they moved out to the country in search of a “slower” lifestyle.
They settled in the Massís de Bonastre (Baix Penedés) characterized by its clay and limestone soils. There they started farming all kinds of local foodstuffs but had trouble finding wines made in the same style so they started making their own, recovering old vines of local grape varietals. In most cases, these vineyards were close to abandoned. Whenever they find a new vineyard, they’ll go to the nearby town, find out who the owner is and approach them to buy or at least farm the vineyard, organically.
People think they’re crazy for doing this as they are very old, low yielding vineyards and in most cases, obsolete grape varietals. Some have been disqualified from D.O. for lack of color, as was the case with Sumoll, others were never even accepted. Now they’re known as the crazy Italians making incredible natural wines with the grapes that all of the locals had written off in exchange for the more “international” varietals.
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.