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ParésBaltà WineryA Place of Enchantment<br />Pacs del Penedès, Spain<br />
Penny McKinlay<br />Saskatoon, SK, Canada<br />April 2011<br />http://www.wanderlustandwords.blogspot.com http://www.penny...
With thanks to:<br />Martí Mensa<br />Photographer<br />Joan CusinéCusiné& Joan CusinéCarol<br />ParésBaltà<br />
On the final day of my holiday in Mediterranean Spain, I took the train south from Barcelona to Vilafranca del Penedès. <b...
We were on our way for a two-hour journey of enchantment through the vineyards, and I fell head over heels in love with th...
Pacs del Penedès in April is alive with fresh spring greenery.<br />The light southern breeze carries moisture from the Me...
Narrow dirt roads lined with olive trees intersect the fields, and the vineyards are speckled with cheerful red poppies. <...
My host is a chivalrous knight, leaping out of the car to pick yellow roses for Carmé and me. <br />
ParésBaltà is an organic winery, and it becomes clear very quickly that the grapevines are simply one element in an interl...
We bump our way up a hill on the east side of the river valley. It’s a warm day, but we close the car windows. <br />We’re...
“It’s the small things that help you make good wine,” explains Joan as we watch the bees buzzing in consternation at our i...
We ford the river Foix just below its source. Joan and Martí joke about sharing the harvest with the 200 to 300 wild boars...
The grapevines share the hillsides with the pine trees and shrubs rather than displacing them. <br />
Two to five rows of vines are shoehorned into narrow spaces where the lay of the land permits. <br />There’s no room for e...
“You must love the vine if you are going to grow organically” explains Joan as he strokes a leaf. <br />
We stop to admire a pool where the locals swim in the summer. <br />
The hillside is part of the Parc Natural de Garraf, and we drink from the Font del Pèlags (the pilgrims’ fountain).<br />
At the top of the hill is the 12th century  Santuari de Santa Maria de Foix, where Mass is still celebrated once a month.<...
ParésBaltà is a family winery.<br />
It is Joan CusinéCusiné’s son, Joan CusinéCarol who introduces me to their wines. <br />He shares the management responsib...
Their wives, Maria Elena Jimenez and Marta Casas, are the winemakers.<br />
Both women are engineers. They started helping with the harvests and enjoyed it so much that they enrolled in the Universi...
They now share full responsibility for winemaking at the bodega, visiting the vineyards every day at harvest-time in order...
In response to the wide variety of soils and climates on their land, ParésBaltàgrows 18 different grape varietals (12 red ...
Catalonia is the birthplace of cava, a sparkling wine made in the champagne style. <br />ParésBaltà makes three cavas. <br...
Blanc de Pacsis the winery’s top-selling wine and, like Cava, is made from Parellada, Xarel.lo and Macabeo grapes. <br />T...
Of the red wines I tasted, my favourite was Mas Elena, named after Joan Carol’s wife, Elena. <br />It’s made from Merlot, ...
I was intrigued and long to have another taste of Electio, a white wine made from 80-year-old Xarel.lo vines, a native Cat...
As a small family winery that grows all its own grapes, the family is always planning ahead and discussing what they can d...
In recent years, the Cusinés have extended their scope by opening two additional wineries. <br />Gratavinumis located in P...
My dream is to return to ParésBaltà for a much longer visit. <br />In the meantime, I’ll enjoy a glass of their wine, whic...
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Pares Balta Winery, Spain

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Pares Balta, an organic Spanish winery, is truly a place of enchantment.

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Pares Balta Winery, Spain

  1. 1. ParésBaltà WineryA Place of Enchantment<br />Pacs del Penedès, Spain<br />
  2. 2. Penny McKinlay<br />Saskatoon, SK, Canada<br />April 2011<br />http://www.wanderlustandwords.blogspot.com http://www.pennymckinlay.axonsoft.com<br />penny@axonsoft.com<br />
  3. 3. With thanks to:<br />Martí Mensa<br />Photographer<br />Joan CusinéCusiné& Joan CusinéCarol<br />ParésBaltà<br />
  4. 4. On the final day of my holiday in Mediterranean Spain, I took the train south from Barcelona to Vilafranca del Penedès. <br />I was met by Joan CusinéCusiné; Martí Mensa, his friend and amateur photographer; and Martí’s wife, Carmé. <br />
  5. 5. We were on our way for a two-hour journey of enchantment through the vineyards, and I fell head over heels in love with the land, the people, and the wine.<br />
  6. 6. Pacs del Penedès in April is alive with fresh spring greenery.<br />The light southern breeze carries moisture from the Mediterranean, just 15 kilometres away. The air is filled with birdsong and the scent of wild rosemary and thyme. <br />
  7. 7. Narrow dirt roads lined with olive trees intersect the fields, and the vineyards are speckled with cheerful red poppies. <br />
  8. 8. My host is a chivalrous knight, leaping out of the car to pick yellow roses for Carmé and me. <br />
  9. 9. ParésBaltà is an organic winery, and it becomes clear very quickly that the grapevines are simply one element in an interlinked ecosystem. <br />
  10. 10. We bump our way up a hill on the east side of the river valley. It’s a warm day, but we close the car windows. <br />We’re visiting the bees who are returning to their hives after spending the day out in the fields, fertilizing the grapes within a 15-kilometre radius. <br />
  11. 11. “It’s the small things that help you make good wine,” explains Joan as we watch the bees buzzing in consternation at our intrusion into their territory.<br />
  12. 12. We ford the river Foix just below its source. Joan and Martí joke about sharing the harvest with the 200 to 300 wild boars who live in the valley. <br />The boars aren’t interested in the green grapes; they wait for the ripe ones in the fall. <br />
  13. 13. The grapevines share the hillsides with the pine trees and shrubs rather than displacing them. <br />
  14. 14. Two to five rows of vines are shoehorned into narrow spaces where the lay of the land permits. <br />There’s no room for equipment. All the work is done by hand.<br />
  15. 15. “You must love the vine if you are going to grow organically” explains Joan as he strokes a leaf. <br />
  16. 16. We stop to admire a pool where the locals swim in the summer. <br />
  17. 17. The hillside is part of the Parc Natural de Garraf, and we drink from the Font del Pèlags (the pilgrims’ fountain).<br />
  18. 18. At the top of the hill is the 12th century Santuari de Santa Maria de Foix, where Mass is still celebrated once a month.<br />
  19. 19. ParésBaltà is a family winery.<br />
  20. 20. It is Joan CusinéCusiné’s son, Joan CusinéCarol who introduces me to their wines. <br />He shares the management responsibilities with his brother, Josep.<br />
  21. 21. Their wives, Maria Elena Jimenez and Marta Casas, are the winemakers.<br />
  22. 22. Both women are engineers. They started helping with the harvests and enjoyed it so much that they enrolled in the University of Winemaking in Tarragona. <br />
  23. 23. They now share full responsibility for winemaking at the bodega, visiting the vineyards every day at harvest-time in order to judge the fruit’s ripeness. <br />
  24. 24. In response to the wide variety of soils and climates on their land, ParésBaltàgrows 18 different grape varietals (12 red and 6 white) and makes 25 different types of wine.<br />
  25. 25. Catalonia is the birthplace of cava, a sparkling wine made in the champagne style. <br />ParésBaltà makes three cavas. <br />Cava Brut is the most traditional, and it is widely available in Canada. <br />In fact, it’s the best-selling Spanish wine in Nova Scotia. <br />
  26. 26. Blanc de Pacsis the winery’s top-selling wine and, like Cava, is made from Parellada, Xarel.lo and Macabeo grapes. <br />The grapes for Cava are harvested first as cava requires more acidity.<br />
  27. 27. Of the red wines I tasted, my favourite was Mas Elena, named after Joan Carol’s wife, Elena. <br />It’s made from Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon and is aged for 8 months in French oak barrels from the Allier forest.<br />
  28. 28. I was intrigued and long to have another taste of Electio, a white wine made from 80-year-old Xarel.lo vines, a native Catalan varietal. <br />It was unlike any other wine that I have tasted with a tropical, sugary aroma and a complex flavour. <br />Seize any opportunity you may have to taste this wine – it’s currently available in business class on FinnAir.<br />
  29. 29. As a small family winery that grows all its own grapes, the family is always planning ahead and discussing what they can do to move forward.<br />
  30. 30. In recent years, the Cusinés have extended their scope by opening two additional wineries. <br />Gratavinumis located in Priorat (near Valencia), and Dominio Romano is located on the Ribera de Duero. <br />
  31. 31. My dream is to return to ParésBaltà for a much longer visit. <br />In the meantime, I’ll enjoy a glass of their wine, which for me will always be accompanied by the scent of yellow roses, wild herbs and mountain streams. <br />

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