BottlesXO was recently lucky enough to sit down with Maxime Bazart, representative of the incredible biodynamic winery Parés Baltà, producers of our latest sparkling wine; a great bottle of Cava. He told us all about the winery, their experiemental methods and their earthy philosophy of winemaking.
So let’s share a little bit of his knowledge! Read on below.
Spain is the world’s number one producer of organic wines, and Parés Baltà, just 30 minutes outside of Barcelona, is one of the country’s best examples; a historic organic winery that has in recent years passionately strode in to the world of experimental biodynamic winemaking methods.
Located in the middle of a national park in Penedes, the winery has been active since 1790 and in the capable hands of the Cusiné family for generations. It is steeped in literally centuries of tradition but prides itself on a young, forward-thinking team led by two female winemakers; the wives of Joan and Josep Cusiné, Elena Jiménez and Marta Casas.
With this new generation comes a new focus, an aim to really represent the vast range of terroir that can be found Parés Baltà’s 100 hectare, 5 estate domain via organic and biodynamic winemaking.
What really seems to separate the recent work of the winery are not only their methods but the philosophical seriousness that it brings to them, philosophies that are deeply intertwined with biodynamic production, which Maxime describes as a “new way of thinking”.
He also describes biodynamics as a way of becoming “more closely connected to nature”, and it’s hard to argue. While organic winemaking specifies the need for all-natural products regardless of where they are produced (meaning they can, for example, purchased from external suppliers), biodynamic winemaking stipulates that everything should be produced by the winemakers from their estate’s own natural resources.
Maxime tries to explain this in terms of a dichotomy between old and new world winemaking; the new world tends to “place and emphasis on the winemakers themselves; in the old world the winemaker is seen more as a messenger translating the messages of nature”. This certainly fits the Parés Baltà philosophy: the winery’s years of organic production have allowed it to embrace these relatively radical methods with ease.
The Parés Baltà Cava Brut itself nicely sums up what Elena Jiménez and Marta Casas have been trying to accomplish at Parés Baltà over the last few years. It’s a simple wine, but one made with an exceptional attention to detail. It is made with 60% Parellada, 30% Macabeu and 10% Xarel-lo grapes, each with their own important role. The Macabeu brings volume, the Xarel-lo gives structure and minerality, and the dominant Parallada offers the fruitiness that is necessary for an approachable, drinkable Cava.
It’s also fermented in the bottle for sixteen months (the minimum for most cava only being nine months) made with local grapes, biodynamically farmed; sipping it, you can almost see the streets of Barcelona.
Toward the end of our conversation, Maxime pulls up a picture of the vineyard in which some of its grapes grew, messy, overrun with grass. Natural. “My father wouldn’t have liked this,” he says. “But to make great wine that represents its home it has to be like this. You need nature; you need life”.