Partida Creus GT Penedes Garrut 2014 The first sniff of this wine made me think of some sort of antiseptic...then...the next sniff? It smelled like a cherry sweetheart candy. Then it sort of morphed into some of the Pais grape wines I've had or even some of the super funky Gamay. Yes it is a tricky wine. This all makes it sound unapproachable but, oddly, it isn’t.
It is light in color in the glass. When I got around to doing what really matters--tasting the wine (really I'm not sure why I BOTHER talking about what it smells like sometimes...) It has a tart cherry taste and what seems to be some CO2, not enough for it to be sparkly but enough for it to be really lively. It has some dirt on the finish. The earthiness is more understated than I expected given the nose. Dirty isn't a bad thing really, and it blows off a great deal with air.
I was a little afraid of this wine after hearing three different opinions on it. I hesitated to open it. I thought "Monastrell from the South." and thought it might be a big, fruity wine. The Spanish iteration of mourvedre can be that way but this has NOTHING to do with that. cranberry, sour cherry, hints of vinaigrette. It is almost a summertime red and while it is unusual it is easily approachable.
In addition to earth there are other strange hints of vegetation here that call to mind the bitter and aromatic herbs of amaros and the like. All of these complex tastes exist in a light, easy drinking wine. More than one person I talked to about this said something akin to “I tasted it, thought ‘this is weird,’ then poured another glass.”
Partida Creus are located in Penedes, Spain. The area is known for white wines and Cava but, more and more, interesting reds are appearing from the area. Monastrell del Litoral/Garrut is a sub-variety of Monastrell--or maybe not. I’ve found sources saying yes and no to this assertion. This wine does not call to mind other Monastrell. Monastrell is known as Mourvedre in France and is also sometimes called Mataro.
If you are into natural wine? This has no sulfur added, uses native yeast, is unfiltered and aged in stainless steel.
It is unusual wine but do not be afraid of it. This is a fabulous introduction to the more unusual side of natural wine making.