The Colet family has been growing grapes since the 1783, producing a quality grape from lands which they rented from their landowner. In exchange for the privilege of renting the land, the Colet clan paid 25% of their bounty to the landowner.
Sergi Colet, Colet Vins’ winemaker, shared with us that his father, Josep Colet, saw an opportunity to acquire the land the family had been working for over 200 years, and did so 25 years ago. Today, Colet Vins has grown from the family property located between Sant Martí Sarroca and Pacs del Penedès, to striking winery building located on the main drive out of Pacs del Penedes where they make their acclaimed sparkling wines.
The Colet story is a similar story to many in the region, where farmers who prided themselves on growing great wine grapes made the transition to wine producers in the typical bodegas style (barrels of wine sold to stores, or locals buying/loading from the barrel direct), to a more modern winery with bottled varietals in the recent times.
Colet chose to stay with creating sparkling wines exclusively, producing six regular varietals: a priori, a posteriori, vatua!, traditional, grand cuvée, assemblage. Colet has received great acclaim for all their sparkling wines, including a 90 rating from the Penin Wine Guide for their tradicional, and Sergi’s commitment to producing quality sparkling wines under the “Classic Penedes” moniker within DO Penedes extends to great lengths. As he shared with Zolta Csaba and I during our visit, Sergi even picks the grapes at night to ensure the proper temperature is maintained from the harvest to the initial maceration at the winery. Most sparkling wine producers don’t take this extra step, instead they’ll harvest during the day, store the grapes for 24 hours at a colder temperature before maceration.
This commitment to the minor details in production carries through their entire operation. Colet only produces sparkling wine from grapes grown under their watchful eye from their lands only, unlike other Cava houses in Penedes who buy their grapes from independent growers to increase their production volumes. This ensures Sergi keeps track of the process from start to finish and is involved daily with all aspects of the operation. During our visit, a transport truck arrived a little early for a order pick up, and Sergi himself jumped on the forklift to load up the semi trailer. That’s commitment personified.
Yearly production at Colet runs around 130.000 bottles per year, and all sparkling wines are vinified using the traditional method, with second fermentation occurring in the bottling, anywhere from 18 months (as per the “Classic Penedes” guidelines set by DO Penedes) and up. In fact, Sergi revealed to us he has a secret new limited production sparkling wine which has been aged for several years; we’re looking forward to this being unveiled later on this year. The great majority of Colet’s production is exported, and the day we visited there was in fact several large pallets ready for shipment to Japan.
Zoltan and I were treated to a tasting at the family masia near Sant Marti Sarroca, amongst their olive tree grove and their 29 year-old Xarel·lo vines. There we tasted the a priori and the unique a posteriori. Both are great sparkling wines for everyday drinking at anytime, but the a posteriori is a very unique product as it is made from 100% merlot. Now I’m NOT a fan of merlot on its own, in fact, you could say I’m like Paul Giamatti’s character, Miles, from the movie Sideways when it comes to Merlot. However, Colet’s version, in sparkling form, is simply outstanding. Factor in the aromas of herbs and olives in the outdoor tasting, it was downright sumptuous.
Colet Vins has started to make inroads in the enotourism experience, offering tours of the vineyard, as they say this is the best way to introduce the public to exactly what they do. I will say that the steps they are taking to gear up and accept people to their vineyard are impressive, including their participation in the newly minted “Carretera del Vi” which the regional and local governments have gotten behind, plus the wineries and DO Penedes itself.
After tasting their entire lineup of cavas, plus the extra special Navazos, which is a combination of sherry from Jerez with a base of wine from Colet (predominately Chardonnay) to create the second unique product produced by Colet, Sergi’s sparkling wine story will continue to be an outstanding one.
Tim Brown (aka Timmer on social media) has been involved in marketing for over 20 years and a wine enthusiast since his first exposure to Duck Pond Winery in Newberg, Oregon, back in 1995. After coming to Europe in 2012, he made his home in Catalunya in 2013 and became enchanted with the wines and winemakers of the region. Now he shares his experiences so international visitors can enjoy the region’s wines, while continuing his work in the marketing world. Sommeliering and wine snobbery isn´t his thing, and he continues to learn more about wine from a Catalan perspective on a daily basis.