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Details for Pardas ‘Negre Franc’

AppellationDO Penedès
Cabernet Franc
(click to find out more)
Cabernet Sauvignon
(click to find out more)
Celler Pardas
(click to find out more)


Penedès is the largest and probably best-known wine region in Catalonia, in northeastern Spain.  It’s the closest one to Barcelona, being only an hour’s drive west from the region’s capital city.
The coastal strip ‐ Baix Penedès ‐ is the hottest, producing fortified wines and full reds.  Further inland white varieties dominate in the hills of the Central and Alt Penedès.  These have long been famous for Cava, Spain’s answer to Champagne, which is made largely from the traditional local varieties Xarel-lo, Parellada and Macabeo, although Chardonnay and, to a lesser extent, Pinot Noir are increasingly used.  Parts of Alt Penedès are over 800m and sufficiently cool to support Germanic varieties like Riesling.
Penedès reds are made mostly from the usual Catalan varieties: Garnatxa (Grenache), Tempranillo (called here Ull de Llebre), Samsó/Cariñena (Carignan) and Monstrell (Mourvedre).  However, it was an early adopter of “international” (i.e., French) varieties, mainly thanks to the efforts of the region’s dominant producer, Torres.  It has become the top region in Spain for fine Cabernet Sauvignon.

Celler Pardas

Winemaker Ramón Parera and viticulturalist Jordi Arnan founded Celler Pardas in 1996 to produce wine from an abandoned farm, Finca Can Comas, near Torrelavit in the Alt Penedès region of northeastern Spain.
Can Comas had no remaining vineyards so they planted their own, mainly with Xarel.lo, Malvasia, and Sumoll but also with the Bordeaux varieties Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The local varieties were obtained by taking cuttings from ancient vines in the region, rather than commercial strains from nurseries.  Can Comas’s output is supplemented by some very old Sumoll and Xarel.lo vineyards located a few kilometres to the north in the Anoia valley.
They also renovated Can Comas’s medieval farmhouse and long-disused cellar, building a new gravity-fed winery.  Celler Pardas released its first wine from the 2004 vintage, and rapidly developed a reputation as a winery to watch, especially for its range of Xarel.lo-based whites and high-end Collita Roja red made from Sumoll.
All their vines are unirrigated and farmed organically.  They don’t plough the vineyards to avoid erosion, and plant cover crops between the vine rows to retain moisture in the soil.  Indigenous wild yeasts are used for all fermentations, oak is kept to a minimum, and the wines are not fined or filtered.

about this wine About this wine

I haven’t been able to determine the exact grape blend for this wine in this vintage; it clearly changes slightly from year to year.  The Celler Pardas website only has technical details for the 2009, which was 66% Cabernet Franc, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon and 11% Sumoll.  Those numbers are echoed by the vintage-less tech sheet from the UK importer but is contradicted by their usually more up-to-date webpage for the wine, which states 53% Cab Franc, 31% Cab Sauv, and 16% Sumoll.  Meanwhile the U.S. importer’s tech sheet displays the 2011 label and claims 73% Cab F., 18% Cab S. and 8% Sumoll.  Whatever, you get the general idea!
The vineyards themselves are less fluid.  This wine comes from five mostly north-facing plots between 200 and 300 metres altitude.  Four are located on the main Pardas estate, Finca Can Comas, outside Torrelavit in the Alt Penedès, and were planted with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon in the late Nineties.  The properly old-vine Sumoll comes from the Pont Nu vineyard a few kilometres to the north, which was planted in the Fifties.  All are farmed organically, with no irrigation.  Instead, natural vegetation is allowed to grow between the vine rows to cover the soil, reducing moisture losses and preventing erosion.
Grapes are hand-harvested, allowing imperfect bunches to be eliminated before they are carried to the winery in small 20kg crates.  After destemming and crushing, each plot is fermented separately in resin-lined concrete vats using the wild yeasts naturally present on the grape skins.  SO2 is not added during fermentation.  The Sumoll spends just two weeks fermenting on the skins, while the Cabernet plots are macerated for longer, between three and five weeks.
After alcoholic fermentation the wines are racked twice to separate them from the lees and skins.  Malolactic fermention is not induced but allowed to occur spontaneously.  Aging is in 225 and 300 litre French oak barrels.  Small barrels like these can impart strong oak flavours if the barrels are new, but only 20% of them are; the rest are second- and third-use.
After a year in barrels the wine is blended and bottled.  Today Celler Pardas don’t fine or filter any of their wines, but this 2011 was lightly filtered before bottling.  A liitle SO2 was added at this stage to prevent spoilage.  The wine then aged in bottle for a further year at the winery before release.

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