A new take on Parellada: Celler Credo – Volaina 2018
For anyone learning the finer details of wine, you typically memorize that there are three core grapes to Cava: Xarel·lo, Macabeu, and Parellada. The first two abound in individual merits, especially my Carignan-cheat-grape, Xarel·lo. But with Parellada, I just sorta understood it to be “wine filler”. Generally neutral and low in alcohol, it neither impeded the blend nor added much except that when making sparkling wine, it allowed you to bring down the alcohol as DO Cava is the only Spanish DO with a maximum alcohol, set at 12.8% (minimum, 10.8%) in the finished wine.
As is the story for many grapes these days, times are a-changin’. They do not suffer for a lack of Parellada in Penedès what with 5.5 million kilos produced in 2017, 95% of which being at 11% potential alcohol or less. And, now that Xarel·lo has shown itself to be an outstanding protagonist in the last 15 years, more work is being carried out with Parellada to release varietal wines, specifically from vineyards that are higher in elevation where it’s often called by its other name, Montonega as seen with Mas Rodó. Once you cross 500m it appears to allow the grape slower ripening, higher acidity, and quite frankly, a much more interesting wine.
Thus we come to Volaina, the newest wine of Celler Credo and 100% Parellada. I think people might forget who is behind this cellar but if you’ve ever done the tour at former Cava house and now lead in the Corpinnat project, Recaredo, you will have passed through Credo as it sits adjacent to their sparkling caves and is where they produce their still wines under DO Penedès. This is often the case in many cellars of Cava/DO Penedès which is why Clàssic Penedès was an easy transition for those who opted out of Cava before Corpinnat came on the scene although now cellars can opt to be in the Corpinnat association making Clàssic Penedès sparkling wines, under DO Penedès. This will all be as easy to take in as potato chips in short order, I swear (hope?)
Everything that applies to Recaredo’s winemaking philosophies applies to Credo and the wines are produced from local varieties as well as organically. In the case of Volaina, it’s something of an additionally intimate project within the Credo line as they’re working with a local Museum of Natural Sciences in Granollers to investigate the importance of butterflies in terms of pollinators as well as their place in the food chain–thus the reason for the butterfly on the label as well as the name which alludes to something that flies in Catalan. Something else of note is that they’re also using spontaneous fermentation to make the wine with a pied de cuve started out in the vineyard which is no small feat for whites given their higher acidity and the tendency for “funk” to occur in wines not made with as much attention as the Volaina.
This is by any measure an engaging wine with a full aromatic profile. On the palate it holds all manner of crisp acidity but people might think it falls off a bit in terms of complexity from the nose. This is only due to the fact we’re used to much higher alcohol in our wines these days and this clocks in at a most quiet and endearing 9.5%. So, for anyone looking for a lighter-bodied wine (that’s not sparkling) to have with or without food or during the summer heat that is now upon us, this is an outstanding option and I hope it leads the way for more Parellada wines to come forth.
Celler Credo - Volaina 2018
Nice, glowing lemon color. Crisp lemon peel and pith, lime blossoms, tart green apple and pear, light exotic touches of quince and guava, fresh garrigue, fennel, and green pea. Tart citric notes on the palate with fresh-cut green apple, medium plus acidic, quite delicate and light on the palate which then leads to a medium finish with light lingering notes of bitter almond.
100% Parellada · 9.5% · 9.50EUR