The Masia Gustem
With Barthomeus, we visited the coastal region of the Penedès in the Baix Penedès. We now move to higher ground. In the Alt Penedès, in the town of La Granada is Masia Gustem, the once country home of the Ferré family. Much has been written about the story of how they lost their inheritance and regained it along with the vineyards of what became the Ferré i Catasus winery.
Long story short, boy falls in love with girl. Boy’s family does not approve and disowns him. He thus loses his inheritance. Undaunted, the young couple move to Barcelona and work their way through the food industry. He sets up the legendary restaurant 4Gats in Barcelona. Boy then buys back his family estate, thus establishing what becomes Ferre i Catasus winery. So, it is like Romeo and Juliet, but no one dies and there is wine! The boy was Josep Maria, the father of Lluís Ferré.
Grenache or Garnatxa?
We arrived at Ferré i Catasus on a rainy morning. Thankfully by the time we got there, the rain had ceased. Harvest was in full swing and there was a frenetic energy in the cellar.
Our guide was Charlotte who is French, but is spending her time helping make wine at the winery. It was interesting to see a French winemaker at a Catalan winery. Some of our best exchanges involved debating the origins of Garnatxa or Grenache and it’s expression on either side of the Pyrenees.
A woman run winery
The two winemakers of Ferré i Catasus are women and they are both named Nuria! Between the two Nurias and Charlotte who assists them, this is pretty much a women run winery.
A family winery
Looking at the number of labels that Ferré i Catasus produces (wines from Penedes, Cava, Rueda, a Vermouth and a Priorat), one might think this is a fairly large winery. While the ambitions of growth are evident, this feels very much like a small family run winery. And it should, because ultimately this is a family run winery with Lluís Ferré at the helm.
Art as Wine. Wine as Art.
It is easy to be seduced by the beauty of the Masia or the breadth and quality of the wines at Ferré i Catasus, but pause a moment to admire the details itself. Remember, this is the family that owns 4Gats in Barcelona and hence, their link to the Catalan Modernism Art movement cannot be ignored. Like the artists, there is an attempt to incorporate nature into the structure of the Masia itself. The sense of art even permeates the labels of the wines. And the walls of the winery are adorned with art and reference to the natural surroundings of Penedès.
Upstairs of the winery is Sumoll, the restaurant. The menu is very Catalan and pairs remarkably well with the wines of the region. The food here is elegant and the style that is so uniquely Catalan permeates the service and the food, all of which was delicious.
Get the paella.
I recommend the Arròs negre amb galeres i escopinyes, a style of Catalan paella made with squid ink, shrimps and cockles. The wine I recommend with it? The Gall Negre, a small production Merlot that is simply superb!