By Jamie Drummond
2008 Parés Baltà “Indigena” (Garnatxa) Penedès Spain – $25 (approx) from Profile Wine Group
Never let it be said that I shirk my commitment to GFR over the weekends. Seeing as I am stuck at home today on a rather grey Toronto afternoon/evening I thought I’d share with you a smashing bottling that I tasted last week. Now I’m being a bit of a tease seeing (if you live in Ontario, Canada) as this wine is not available through the LCBO. I can however tell you that the smashing and smart Sommelier at Malena restaurant, Zinta Steprans, has a few cases stashed away… and Profile Wine Group tell me that there will be more arriving shortly so you’ll stand a better chance of seeing it around.
It’s a damn interesting wine this organically farmed Garnacha… or Garnatxa as it is known in the Penedès region. A stainless steel ferment followed by a short sleep in some second fill French oak barrels ensures that a bright fruit character remains after elevage. I get a bundle of bright ripe and wild forest fruits on this, with a haunting floral perfume that I find gives this wine a very particular allure. The wild fruits and flowers continue onto the palate, with a refreshing juicy berry fruit acidity accompanying those flavours. There’s also a very satisfying mineral component in there, something that Balta is well known for in a number of their wines. It is a lean style to be sure, and quite a change from so many of the dense, dark examples of this variety one often finds in Spain. I’d chill it down just a touch before serving… I can see this being a favourite over the coming months…
Just had a visit with Jordi Fernandez at Gratavinum in Priorat, who told me that Pares Balta is owned by the same family as Gratavinum. I was knocked out by the Priorat wines and by the Garnacha wines we tried there. Hoping that after I drink the bottle of 2πr I brought home that I can find some more Priorat wines here in Toronto. We didn’t get to Pares Balta this trip but I’m confident their wines will be great value.