92/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Penedes – El Vendrell – Barthomeus – Barthomeus Red 2012
…., first day of spring! Already? Time flies and the vines are crying, which means that we are about to see green vineyards very soon. More and more wine related activities are underway and the calendar is full, not that I’m complaining, just wish there was more time! The village is preparing for the wine fair of our section of Penedes, the Baix (the lower) Penedes, it’s getting close now and we are meeting up every Friday evening to tie up the last bits and bobs! Almost all done, just a few sommeliers missing!
It is the 4th year for this particular fair and we have now set the program for the wine cellars, that have been invited and will demonstrate their wines. It all starts the 9th of May and goes on until the 11th. A really god opportunity to get aquatinted with some great wines of the region. One of the cellars participating is Barthomeus. Here is their story!
The masia Barthomeus is currently owned and operated by the family of Llasat, a constellation of three siblings. It was probably acquired by Bartomeu Minguella whose name is still preserved in the historical records of the mansion. Three generations earlier, in 1635, the forefather was Joan Castanyer. He was a farmer and lived in El Vendrell in his ancestral house in the High Street of the town, which is still kept in order and where the original wine cellar has been preserved.
In 1911 the great grandfather, Joan Recasens Minguella, was one of the founders of the “Cooperativa del Vendrell” and he was the first president of this, in the days, high producing wine cooperative. The father of todays generation, Carles Llasat, followed in his fathers footsteps and fifty years later became the President as well. Now, the three Llasat siblings, with the support of their mother are following the ancestral path and not only are they cultivating the vineyards but also elaborating wines.
Masia Barthomeus has a property of 30 Ha. and is situated between 28 and 50 m. above sea level, in close proximity to the Mediterranean coast and not far from Via Agusta, the ancient Roman trade route of Catalonia. Its surface is covered by vineyards, olive trees and carob trees, Mediterranean forest of Aleppo pines, Kermes Oak and with an important amount of palmetto and some American aloes. All together it is like an island of green in the middle of an urban zone which becomes a fauna refuge fighting the influence of humans.
In 2001 they decided to go against the progressive degradation of the surroundings and with the aim of preserving its biodiversity, they obtained for that an extension of 50 Ha. to be declared REFUGE OF WILD FAUNA, that is to say, a protected natural zone, by the Department of Environment of the Generalitat de Catalunya. In 2012 they slowly began to turn all viticulture into ecological growing, under CCPAE (Catalan Council of Ecological Protection).This culture excludes all sorts of chemical treatment (herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers) which damages the fauna too, in order to keep an ecological balance.
The masia Bartomeu has 15 Ha. of vineyard distributed on 18 parcels of different dimensions. They are distributed in two different zones which are almost equal: one of them looks to the sea somewhat higher than the Sant Salvador shore; the other is situated behind the little hill where the masia stands and looks at the little village of San Vicenç de Calders. The different locations have their own microclimates. The one looking at the sea receives the see-breeze and the other one doesn’t.
There are two different varieties of red grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. This decision was taken many years ago when it was realized that this land had been ground for red grapes. In fact, some of the vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon are among the oldest in el Baix Penedès because they were planted in 1987 and have adapted themselves extraordinarily well to this place.
The vineyards were born more than 2000 years ago. As the archaeological remains tell us, the “masia” (farm house) Barthomeus was built by the Iberian people and in the V century they traded with the Greek and Carthaginians and later with the Romans and all of them left their traces here, especially the last ones.
The great quantity of Iberian, Punitian and Roman amphoras coming from these peoples clearly show that the trade of wine had been very important in that little Roman “villae” where the masia Barthomeus now stands. Imagination has no boundaries and I can easily ponder about how the Romans traveled through this landscape and during such journeys needed shelter, a hotel if you wish. They would probably be welcomed at the Barthomeus mansion to spend a night or two and enjoy some wine and dinner. Today, you are able to do the same as the family have built a separate agroturistic house on their land, which is possible to rent. Welcome to my hood!
Barthomeus Red 2011, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Only 5.500 bottles produced. Deep cherry red color with purple edges, slight orange and medium-high intensity. Clean and bright. Slow flowing tears. High aromatic intensity of ripe black and red (berries) fruits. Ripe plums, peach, banana and a hint of aniseed. It is a mouthful with a long lingering taste. Very fresh. Quite structured, large and fatty. Tannic yet smooth and elegant. This is a well made wine and very price-worthy!
288 to go!