Appreciating the Blend of Wine and Nature at Can Feixes

The 21st century has arrived at Huguet De Can Feixes, a remarkable winery where respect for the natural environment and a dedicated passion for winemaking blend to produce some of Spain’s most extraordinary wines. 

The history of Can Feixes dates back to the 1400s, when the Feixes family began to cultivate the lands that the Huguet family currently owns. When there were no direct descendents to carry on the “Feixes” name, Josep Huguet I Pomes bought the estate. Today, three of his sons maintain the winery: Josep-Maria, the main winemaker, and his younger brothers Joan and Xavier.

During my safari-like expedition through the family’s 80 hectares of vineyards, Xavier points out the vines of white grapes (Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Parellada, Malvasia de Sitges, and Chardonnay) and red (Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir). The vineyards are set at an extremely high altitude on the boundary of the Penedes and Anoia regions, allowing the grapes to mature slowly. This is ideal for the quality of wines that the Huguet brothers aspire to produce.

I fasten my seatbelt as Xavier’s truck maneuvers across the hilly property, until we arrive back at the main house, with its whitewashed stone archways and panoramic views of the rolling Catalonian countryside. The Huguets have preserved a small family chapel and converted the old cellar into a museum, both of which are attached to the house.

Despite the conservation of the estate’s architectural history, the Can Feixes production facilities are extremely modern. Massive steel tanks press the grapes to produce about 240,000 bottles of still and sparkling wine every year. However, Xavier explains that their harvest is still done completely by hand, allowing them to inspect the grapes to ensure quality before the winemaking process begins.

After gaping at the winding rows of bottles aging in the cellar, it’s time to head upstairs to taste the wines. We begin with Cava – the Huguet Gran Reserva 2006 Brut Nature. It’s very dry, but still light and refreshing, with a fruity character and hints of green apple.

Next are two whites – the Blanc Seleccio 2009 and Chardonnay 2005 Vintage. The Blanc Seleccio is made from a blend of mostly local grapes (Parellada, Macabeu, Chardonnay, and Malvasia de Sitges), and expresses the delicate floral and fruity character of the region. The Chardonnay (aged) is the exact opposite, complex, full bodied, and rich with flavors of exotic fruits, toffee, and honey.

We finish our tasting with red wine. Negre Seleccio 2006, aged in French and American oak barrels for one year, is a young and aggressive red, full of life and flavor. The Reserva Especial 2000 is my favorite though. It is more rounded, still-bodied, and calm. “We can stay here one hour and every five minutes we will taste different things,” says Josep-Maria.

While their list of wines may be simple (“The color of the grape is white or red, not rose,” Josep-Maria tells me), the Huguet brothers have shown that a deep understanding of one’s surroundings combined with a respect for both traditional and contemporary oenology yields the perfect recipe for crafting delicious, high-quality wines.

Kerrie Lopez, NY Travel Writer for Wine Pleasures