A cloudy yet beautiful day.
We were fortunate to sit down with Carme Llasat and her husband Jaume and taste the wines of Barthomeus. It was a cloudy day in Penèdes and rain clouds were threatening the harvest. We sat in the courtyard of the Masia Bartomeu with cypress trees to our left and our backs against ancient Roman stables. It didn’t rain on us that day and we spent a happy afternoon tasting wines.
Barthomeus’ place in Penedès history is also about being the champion of red grapes in a region known for it’s whites. Carme’s great grandmother planted Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot many years back. When she did that, all the others in the neighborhood thought it was a novelty. And it was. Even Mr. Torres who started the eponymous Torres Winery in the Catalonia visited her. At the time, looking at the layout of the rows of vineyards, he suggested that she add another row in the middle. She heeded the advice.
2015 Barthomeus Negre.
This is an equal blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It comes across unabashed with big red fruits, jammy red berries with a hint of spice. Fermented all in concrete, this wine spends short time in neutral oak barrels. The fruit is bold and chocolate and cherries come to mind. Carme stated that the fruit was good enough that it showed well without heavy oak treatment. We agreed! The tannins are impressive and the finish is long.
Until very recently, this was the ONLY red wine they bottled. There was no “entry level” , “crianza” etc. They didn’t need to do more. This was a wine designed to be enjoyed upon release and also to be aged. The 2015 is no different. Only 12,000 bottles were produced Production of this wine generally hovers in that neighborhood.
This wine retails for $16.99. Currently the 2012 vintage is available.
The 28METRES is a darn special wine. After years of making just the Negre cuvée, the winery recently released a small batch of select grapes with one year of barrel aging. Careful not to inundate the fruit with wood, 1/3 of the oak barrels used were new. The rest were between 1 – 2 year old. It spent an additional year resting in the bottle before release. As a result, we have a hedonistic but exceptionally balanced wine with chocolate, plums, blackberry and cherry jam framed with cedar and vanilla. It has silky tannins and is more dangerously drinkable than the Negre. Only 3000 bottles were produced and they were sold soon after release.
28METRES gets its name from the elevation of the vineyard from where the fruit is sourced. Carme stated that this vineyard in the Baix Penedès is the closest to the Mediterranean.
At the time of this tasting the 2014 vintage was sold out. The 2015 will be shortly released and expected to retail at $29.99
On the day of our tasting, we never got around to the other wine made by Barthomeus. The rosat is a rosé made exclusively out of Cabernet Sauvignon. Our decision was based on the fact that the reds were so alluring, and the conversation was so engaging that none of us wanted to break the spell.
Catalan Wine 365 wrote a beautiful piece about the rosat a while back and it is worth reading.
This wine retails for $15.99.
We spent an amazing day at Barthomeus. The winery should be visited if you are in the area and the wines are highly recommended.