Keynotes for Sparkling WINE Week by Wine Pleasures announced

We’re excited to share that Giampiero Nadali and Liz Palmer will be appearing as keynote speakers at Sparkling WINE Week by Wine Pleasures.

Giampiero, co-creator of Fermenti Digitali (“Digital Yeasts”), will deliver an inspirational session on The Sparkling Wines of Italy from north to south, exploring specific terroirs and production methods.

Liz is a well-respected award-winning author and wine journalist since 2004 and has an international reputation as a critic and judge. Liz has had the pleasure of interviewing and tasting with some of the industry’s leading winemakers, professors and personalities. At Sparkling WINE week she will be presenting Champagne popping out of Covid-19

Also in the 2 day programme will be a talk titled Adventures in Fizz with host Anthony Swift. Champagne, Cava, Franciacorta and Prosecco may dominate the sparkling wine world, but there many other exciting top tier options to consider for import. Anthony will be reviewing the gold medal winners in the annual sparkling wine competition 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World.

Also in the programme and looking to connect with international wine importers are several live interviews with bubble producers from diverse regions such as Champagne, Piemonte, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Penedès and Mendoza.

To view the event programme and register for free here>>

Spanish WINE Week

Join the Online Spanish WINE Week 5 – 7 May 2020 and your industry peers for a free, 3-day online event specifically for wine importers, distributors, the on and off trade and trade journalists.

This summit provides the wine trade with inspiration, business connections & educational content through in-depth live interviews with wine producers, interviews with industry thought leaders, and practical insights on how to cope with the current global conditions. Our goal for this online event is to allow the wine trade to participate, learn and grow together in this time of need – no matter where you happen to be.

Programme

The Live stream will start daily at 13.00 GMT +1 (EST 09.00) and ends at around 19.30 GMT + 1 each day.

Day 1: Tuesday 5 May 2020: 14.00 to 19.30

Time & Activity

Session 1

14.00 – 14.10 A Wine Pleasures Welcome
14.10 – 15. 00 Seminar: The Surprising Terroirs & Wines of Spain. Speaker Clara Antúnez
Spanish wines taste different. Spanish grape varieties give flavours that you don’t find anywhere else. The vineyards are planted on rock, on limestone, on volcanic ash, on clay, on sand, or on mixtures of all these. To fashion these raw materials into modern, exciting wines, there is a generation of young winemaker who have travelled the world and learned all there is to know about winemaking. The results are incredibly varied in style, from delicate, low-alcohol whites to the richest imaginable reds, from gentle rosés to the great sparkling wines. It will be an introduction to open your eyes to a new world of very different wines.

Session 2

15.15 – 16.15 Live interviews with wine producers – Atlante (Valle de la Orotava), Mont Reaga (IGP Tierra de Castilla), Vins Familia Ferrer (Cava & Catalunya)

Session 3

16.30 – 17.00 Seminar: Corpinnat – what’s that? Speaker Xavier Gramona

Session 4

17.15 – 18.15 Live Interviews with wine producers – Bodegas Monte de la Reina (Toro), Bodegas Tempore (IGP Bajo Aragón), Hermanos Frías del Val (Rioja Alavesa)

Session 5

18.30 – 19.30 Seminar: Why Spain’s Garnacha is on everyone’s lips. Speaker Fernando Mora MW
Spain is the origin country for the Garnacha grape (aka. Grenache), an underrated variety in the past, however now it takes part in some of the most exciting wines of the country. This grape shows different faces in the vast Spanish country, since it has very high capacity to show the place where it is grown. In this semminar, we will learn about this grape, the different types, the myths, the expressions and the most important characteristics. Garnacha is cool, discover it! 

Day 2 Wednesday 6 May 2020: 14.00 a 19.30 

Time & Activity

Session 1

14.00 – 14.10 Welcome
14.10 – 15. 00 Seminar: Old Vines, Better Wines?. Speaker Fernando Mora MW
If there is a differential fact in Spanish viticulture it is the existing surface under old vines. Unfortunately, European plans, lack of profitability and other factors are decreasing this amazing resource. Are wines coming from the old vineyards better quality? Will there be old vineyards in 100 years? These and other questions will be answered in a precise and fundamental way. Other countries have been classifying and protecting their old vineyards, because they know the qualitative and marketing power of them.

Session 2

15.15 – 16.15 Live interviews with wine producers – Huellas del Tiétar (DOP Vinos de Cebreros), Bodegas Resalte (Ribera del Duero), Clos Montblanc (Conca de Barberà)

Session 3

16.30 . 17.00 Seminar: Cava 2020. A guide to its wines, regions and styles. Speakers Anthony Swift & Juan Manuel Gonzalvo (Judges competition annual “50 Great Cavas”)

Session 4

17.15 – 18.15 Live Interviews with wine producers – Gramona (Corpinnat & Penedès), Celistia (Costers del Segre), Bodegas y Viñedos Milénco (Ribera del Duero)

Session 5

18.30 – 19.30 Seminar: How ecommerce platforms can help the wine trade industry to develop their online sales. Speaker Nico Bour, Head of Business & Marketing Uvinum (Drinks & Co)
eCommerce in the wine business is a reality. With the development of huge ecommerce platforms like Amazon, uvinum/Drinks&co or Vivino , the wine industry (importers, wholesales, etc..) has now access to millions of customers to sell their products online. Let’s talk about the opportunities and some keys to succeed. 

Day 3 Thursday 7 May 2020: 14.00 a 19.00

Time & Activity

Session 1

14.00 – 14.10 Welcome
14.10 – 15. 00 Natural Wines: Why not?. Winemaker Daniel Ramos defines this niche but exciitng wine category and will cover What is Natural Wine, – A trend or a reality, Natural Wine: Why not?, Markets and final consumers of natural wine.

Session 2

15.15 – 16.15 Live interviews with wine producers – Godelia (Bierzo), DOSTERRAS (Montsant), Ferré i Catasús (Penedès)

Session 3

16.30 . 17.00 Seminar: D.O.P. Sierra de Salamanca: the remote realm of Rufete. Speaker Miquel Udina

Session 4

17.15 – 18.15 Live Interviews with wine producers– Bodegas Vegalfaro (Utiel-Requena), Hacienda El Ternero (D.O.Ca. Rioja), Baldovar 923 (Valencia)

Session 5

18.30 – 19.00  Seminar: D.O. Jumilla Wine Region: The Organic High Plateau: Kingdom of Monastrell. Speakers Carolina Martinez Origane & Esther Gonzalez de Paz
Jumilla is an emerging, exciting wine region, pioneer in Organic wines. Jumilla is one of the oldest DOs in Spain, created in 1966, with strong culture on wine making, and millenarian know how. Monastrell is a late-ripening variety, which thrives in the heat and produces wines that range from lively and fruity, to stunningly complex. In many of Jumilla’s vineyards, Monastrell vines remain ungraftedAdd the moutain barriers and a picture starts to emerge … 

Free registration here>>

Top 50 Sparkling Wines for 2020

The demand for sparkling wines continues unabated and with only four wine competitions completely focussed on fizz, it can be difficult for the sparkling wine lover to make the right choice when it comes to effervescence.

From 162 Sparkling wines entered in to the annual completion 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World organised by Wine Pleasures, our judges tasted through premium bubblies from around the Old and New World to bring you the best 50 available for 2020. Anthony Swift, Competition Director looks at the results.

Once again, the competition to find the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World has popped a breathtaking blend of award – winning sparkling wines from around the world. Of the 162 sparkling wines entered from diverse terroirs and countries the top 50 are dominated once again by bubbles from Italy, Portugal & Spain.  Diverse too were the grape varieties used to make top quality sparkling wines such as Alvarinho and Touriga Nacional from Portugal, Glera, Trebbiano & Sangiovese from Italy, Macabeo, Perellada & Xarel.lo from Spain as well as the classic Champagne varieties based on Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir made in Australia, Austria, Slovenia and the UK.

In the case of sparkling wines made using the traditional method these were classified and tasted according to dosage and ageing time on the lees. In many cases there was significant ageing on the lees giving wines great character and complexity. Gold medals and classified as Highly Recommended each with 96 points in no particular order  are Cuvèe D’Arce by Azienda Vitivinicola Righetti (Valpolicella, Verona, Italy), Zlata Radgonska Penina Selection Rosé by Radgonske gorice (Podravje, Štajerska, Slovenia) Brut Rosé Metodo Classico by Baracchi (Cortona, Italy)  Valados de Melgaço by Valados de Melgaço (Vinhos Verdes – Monção e Melgaço, Portugal) and Casa Ermelinda Freitas – Espumante Branco Bruto Reserva by Casa Ermelinda Freitas (Palmela, Portugal).

Sparkling wines made using the Charmat method were classified and tasted according to dosage. Most demonstrated a combination of great finesse with a fine mousse and crisp acidity. Competition winner with 96 points is Cuvée Rosé Spumante Brut by Societa Agricola Montalbera (Piedmont, Italy). Eight gold medals awarded for this method of production and classified as Highly Recommended each with 95 points are: Eight Carat Pinot Noir by Geoff Johnston Wines T/as Pirramimma (McLaren Vale, Australia) , Arnea Soave Spumante Brut by Casa Vinicola Sartori (Veneto, Italy), Shaw Vineyard Estate Sparkling Cuvee by Shaw Vineyard Estate (Canberra, Australia), Copaboca Proveco by Bodegas Copaboca (Rueda, Spain), Bacio della Luna Prosecco Superiore DOCG Millesimato Brut Nature by Bacio della Luna (Veneto, Italy), Astoria “Arzana” Valdobbiadene DOCG Superiore di Cartizze Dry by A. C. SRL (Veneto, Italy), Cuvée Blanche Spumante Extra Dry by Societa Agricola Montalbera (Piedmont, Italy)

Once again, this year saw just 2 Frizzantes entered with Bonarda Cresta del Ghiffi by Fratelli Agnes (Lombardia, Italy) gaining a silver medal and a place amongst the 50 Greats.

Quality was high. Traditional method vintage production dominated the competition with some nice prices, most ranging from €5 to €20 giving wine lovers plenty of affordable options to whet their appetite. For those looking to splurge on long – aged sparkling wines should consider getting their hands on Gold medal winners from Maison Wessman (Wessman One – Champagne, France (30 months) at €80 a bottle or Rovellats (Rovellats Gran Reserva Brut Nature – Cava, Spain (60 months) – a snip at just €17.06

Charmat method production wines range from €5 to €18.

Bubble lovers will more than likely find it a tough task to find the sparkling wines amongst the 50 Greats published here in their preferred wine retailer as most wines are “boutique” and therefore not mass produced. Best option would be to look online to see if the producers sell direct to the wine lover or if there are any online retailers selling the product.

We hope the results of the competition will encourage both the trade and the wine lover to find, try and enjoy the most exceptional sparkling wines at Christmas and during 2020.

To view the top 50 Sparkling Wines to try in 2020 click on the banner below:

 

 

Top 50 Sparkling Wines for 2019

From 157 Sparkling wines entered to the annual completion organised by Wine Pleasures, our judges tasted through premium bubblies from around the Old and New World to bring you the best 50 available for 2019. Anthony Swift, Competition Director looks at the results.

Once again, the competition to find the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World has popped a breathtaking blend of award – winning sparkling wines from around the world. Of the 157 sparkling wines entered from diverse terroirs and countries the top 50 are dominated by bubbles from Italy, Portugal & Spain.  Diverse too were the grape varieties used to make top quality sparkling wines such as Alvarinho and Touriga Nacional from Portugal, Glera, Trebbiano & Sangiovese from Italy, Macabeo, Perellada & Xarel.lo from Spain as well as the classic Champagne varieties such as Chardonnay and/or Pinot Noir made in Australia, Austria, Slovenia and the UK.

In the case of sparkling wines made using the traditional method these were classified and tasted according to dosage and ageing time on the lees. In many cases there was significant ageing on the lees giving wines great character and complexity. Gold medals and classified as Exceptional each with 97 points are Freixenet Can Sala by Freixenet (Penedès (Cava), Spain), Soldati La Scolca Spumante Brut Millesimato d’Antan by La Scolca (Gavi, Italy) and Adega de Palmela Medium Dry by Adega de Palmela (Península de Setúbal, Portugal). 

English new comers to the competition Blackdown Ridge and Court Garden both with vineyards in Sussex make a statement for English Sparkling wine with both obtaining Gold medals.

Sparkling wines made using the Charmat method were classified and tasted according to dosage. Most demonstrated a combination of great finesse with a fine mousse and crisp acidity. Three gold medals awarded for this method of production and classified as Outstanding: Eight Carat Cuvee Rosé by Geoff Johnston Wines T/as Pirramimma (McLaren Vale, Australia) , Mateus Sparkling Rosé Brut Baga And Shiraz by Sogrape Vinhos (Porto, Portugal), Viña Albali Sec by Félix Solís Avantis (Castilla La Mancha Valdepeñas, Spain

This year saw just 3 Frizzantes entered with Bonarda Cresta Del Ghiffi by Fratelli Agnes (Lombardia, Italy) gaining a silver medal and a place amongst the 50 Greats.

Quality was high. Traditional method vintage production dominated the competition with some nice prices, most ranging from €6 to €25 Euros. Charmat method production wines range from €5 to €15.

Bubble lovers will more than likely find it a tough task to find the sparkling wines amongst the 50 Greats published here in their preferred wine retailer as most wines are “boutique” and therefore not mass produced. Best option would be to look online to see if the producers sell direct to the wine lover or if there are any online retailers selling the product.

We hope the results of the competition will encourage both the trade and the wine lover to find, try and enjoy the most exceptional sparkling wines at Christmas and during 2019. To view the great sparkling wine discoveries for 2019 click on the banner below:

After 300 harvests, Mas Codina go back to organic roots

Up in the Alt Penedès, watched over by the impressive peak of Montserrat, Mas Codina is a small organic family winery, which maintains very much of a local and traditional feel, growing 40 hectares of red and white grapes. A lazy Saturday morning provided the perfect excuse to pay a little visit to learn about their personal process and sample some of the fruits of their labours.

The house was constructed back in 1681, with grape cultivation beginning some time after that (records are a little patchy so far back in the mists of time!). When wine production first began, it was originally stored in barrels and sold to other wineries in that format, along with harvested grapes ready for processing, but in 1985 the family began bottling their own wine. The business has grown from there, still today growing all of their own vines, and selling some of their grapes on to other wine producers.

Many of their vines are still in the traditional style of freestanding bushes, making the most of the available space, slowly being replaced by the system of row support wires now more widely seen around the world. The different varieties are planted in differing directions to make the most of the sunlight. While around 10% of the crop is harvested by machine in the cooler night-times in August, the rest is all lovingly harvested by hand slightly later in the year as the other varieties ripen, and more helping hands are available assist with the picking.

Seeking to be kinder to the environment, and also following the increasingly popular trend, Mas Codina was certified as an organic producer in 2017, after the required three years’ conversion period. Today, they use no chemicals on their grapes, only certain minerals such as copper and sulphur to help in natural prevention of crop diseases. In place of harmful insecticides, natural hormones are used to discourage moths from destroying the grapes. Old, gnarly olive trees provide a rustic border to the vineyards, and are also used for the production of organic olive oil.

The cellar keeps the bottles cool to allow the Cavas to age and create their complexity, with climate control if needed to maintain exactly the right temperature during the hot summers’ days. The pressing and storage machines are glistening and modern, to maximise the efficiency of production, but as the winery’s unwritten motto says, the quality of the product is down to the grapes and the traditional know how that goes into their growing and cultivation through the year. Good grapes mean a good final product; the machines simply facilitate the process.

The grapes are separated from the twigs, cooled to around 15° to protect the aroma and avoid oxidation, and pressed. Like many grape growers, Mas Codina keep only the finest grapes and the first pressing for themselves, selling off any excess and further pressings to other wineries. Of the wine produced, 70% is cava, and the rest is still wine, both red and white. Roughly 65% is exported, 25% being consumed in the local Catalan region, and 10% being consumed elsewhere in Spain – it seems the rest of Spain has not yet discovered the deliciousness within.

As any good winery visit should, ours ended with a tasting.  Seated around a small round table, the anticipation was palpable – having featured several times previously in the annual 50 Great Cavas competition, it was little surprise that the Cava we tried was delicious, and it was just a shame there was not the chance to try more – rumour has it that the Mas Codina Brut Rosé is especially tasty!

The award winning Cava we tasted on the day was the Mas Codina Brut Nature Reserva 2015

Tim Hall
Travel Blog Writer>>

Wine Pleasures To Show Award Winning Sparkling Wines in London

Organisers of two annual sparkling wine competitions, Wine Pleasures takes a selection of the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World and a sample of some of the 50 Great Cavas from Spain (the only competition exclusively for Cava) to the London trade and media at the Glass of Bubbly Champagne & Sparkling Wine Tasting & Summit London 30 April 2018.

50 Great Cavas 2018 – The Competition has been running for 8 years and is valued by wine importers from around the world when it comes to discovering great Cavas for import.

50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World 2018 – The Competition  has been running for 5 years and is an off spring of the 50 Great Cava initiative accommodating all methods of production of sparkling wines from around the globe.

At the 50 Great Cava table will be the following gold and silver medal winning producers and Cavas:

Celler Vell Brut Nature Reserva 2014
Cava Gran Fuchs de Vidal Reserva, Brut Nature 2014.
Via De La Plata Chardonnay Brut Nature Reserva 2015
Mas Codina Brut Reserva 2015
Cava Adernats Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2012
Castellroig Brut Nature Gran Reserva Josep Coca 2011
Finca Valldosera Subirat Parent Brut Nature 2011
Finca Valldosera Brut Nature 2012

View the 50 Great Cavas for 2018 here>>

At the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World table will be the following gold and silver medal winning producers and sparkling wines:

Contro Tempo Ortrugo dei Colli Piacentini DOC 2017 by Mossi 1558, Italy
Charmat Method
Astoria Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Millesimato 2017 by Astoria, Italy. Charmat Method
Donna Giulia 2013 by Fattoria Le Terrazze, Italy. Traditional Method. Competition winner!
Verduzzo Grand Dessert 2015 by Cormons, Italy. Charmat Method
Brut Rosé  2014 by Baracchi Winery, Italy. Traditional Method
Zlata Radgonska Penina Selection  2014 by Radgonske Gorice, Slovenia. Traditional Method
Cuvage Rosé Brut Nebbiolo D’Alba DOC 2017 by Cuvage, Italy. Traditional Method
Côto de Mamoelas 2015 by Provam, Portugal. Traditional Method

View the 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World for 2018 here>>

Venue: Le Méridien Piccadilly Hotel London W1J 0BH

Date & Time: Monday 30th April 2018  11:00 – 18:00

Bubbles of Gold: Wine Pleasures announces the 50 Great Cavas for 2018

4 December 2017

Yet again the only annual wine competition for Cava has uncorked a breathtaking range of Brut Nature and Brut Cavas from young to long aged ready for Christmas and throughout 2018.

Freixenet Casa Sala 2007 wins the competition with Gold and receives a score of 98 points has been classified as Exceptional.  Also with Gold and classified as Exceptional with 97 points is Celler Vell Brut Nature Reserva 2014

Still in the Gold medal category and classified as Outstanding (96 & 95 pts) are the following Cavas: Ramón Canals Reserva Numerada 2013, Duran 5V Gran Reserva 2012 & Ramón Canals Gran Reserva Limitada 2011 (Ramón Canals Canals), Adernats XC 2013 (Adernats) Castellroig Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2013 & Sabaté I Coca Josep Coca Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2011 (Castellroig), Cossentania Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2011 (Castell d’Or), Cava Reyes de Aragón Gran Reserva 2010 (Bodegas Langa), Rovellats Gran Reserva Masia Segle XV Brut Nature 2008 (Rovellats), Nuria Claverol Homenatge 2013 (Sumarroca), Gramona Imperial Brut Gran Reserva 2011 & Gramona Celler Batllé 2006 (Gramona). Outstanding Rosé is the Vega Medien Rosé 2015 by UVESTE.

23 Cavas classified as Highly Recommended were awarded Silver medals. Most of the medals were awarded to producers in the Penedès wine region (Catalonia) with some awards going to producers located in Calatayud (Bodegas Langa), Extremadura (Vía de la Plata), & Valencia (Bodegas Vegalfaro & UVESTE). Some interesting retail prices too amongst the 50 Greats ranging from €4,50 to €50 Euros making Cava a luxury you can afford whenever you wish.

Those looking to splurge on long aged Cava (Cava Grand Reserva Larga Crianza) should try and get their hands on prize winners from prestigious Cava producers Agustí Torelló –  kripta Gran Añada 2008 (96 months), RRP €47 & Gramona – Celler Battlé Brut Gran Reserva 2006 (120 months), RRP €50.

The results of the 2018 edition of annual competition 50 Great Cavas can be viewed at http://www.winepleasures.com/50-great-cavas-2018 and contains all the Gold and Silver medal winners with photos and tasting notes for each. 50 Great Cavas 2018 is a useful resource for both the trade and the end wine consumer/wine traveller.

Gran Reserva 2004 Brut Nature Magnum – the pride of Montesquius Cava

A patchwork quilt of vineyards greets you as you wind your way down the 2 lane road the leads to the small town of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia.  Off in the distance, you see the silhouette of the jagged mountains, and as you get closer to Cellers Most Doré (producing Cava under the brand name of Montesquius), the mountains become real as you can make out the details of trees and rugged rocks. A quick walk to the front doors from the car park leads you to a modern chic tasting room hugged by a large brick archway, which acts as the focal point in the room. In addition to a long tasting bar, chic old barrels have been painted white, and act as tables for tastings.

Founded in 1918, Montesquius has changed ownership a few times, but is currently owned by five workers who bought back the company in 2013.  Due to the change of ownership, and business structure of the larger organization who purchased the company in the 1990’s, the company decided to only keep 4 important hectors.  The rest of the grapes used in Montesquius wines are purchased from 720 farmers, who are empowered to farm their land, make their own decisions, and grow the best grapes they can.

The company has a wide range of products, from entry level wines to premium.  Montesquius makes DO Cava, DO Penedes still wines, and DO Catalonia still wines.  In addition to utilizing the traditional 3 grape Cava blend, Montesquius also uses Chardonnay in many of the Cavas.  A focus on long-aging Cavas continues to excite the two winemakers, and an interest premium Rosados is also a fun and unique project.

The underground cava is quite extensive.  Four floors deep, covering over 6 kilometers, it houses, on average, 6 million bottles of Cava, as the specialty is long-aging Cava.  The company prides itself on a quality and personal touch.  Because of this, the Cava bottles are inspected and hand-stacked for aging, in the cold, humid cave. The temperature stays between 16-17 degrees Celsius all year, and the oldest part of the cave was hand-carved about 100 years ago. Not only is this better for the wine, but it also provides more jobs to the local community, something that is very important to the owners.  They employee about 50 people at this site.  And, they understand the dependence of the business on the community, and the community on the business.  Without one, neither would be successful.

2017 sees the Montesquius Cava amongst the 50 Great Cavas for the first time. 50 Great Cavas is a unique and annual competition only for Cava produced under the rules and regulations of the DO Cava.

Montesquius Gran Reserva 2004 Brut Nature Magnum (94 pts 50 Great Cavas) – A very complex Brut Nature Gran Reserva. Roasted nuts, damp earth and orange peel on the nose. Complex in the mouth , long and citric.

Robert J Mur Millesimé 2012 Reserva Brut Nature (93 pts 50 Great Cavas) – Quite floral and musky on the nose with a hint of red fruit character.

Source 50 Great Cavas 2017>>

Montesquius Gran Reserva 2004 Brut Nature Magnum also won a prize competing with sparkling wine producers from around the world in the annual competition 50 Great Sparkling Wines of the World obtaining a gold medal with 95 pts!

Torelló, amongst the 50 Great Cavas for 2017

The Torelló estate dates all the way back to the 14th century shown by a document dated the 17th of June, 1395. Throughout the years the name has changed through marriages but today it remains the original Torelló name which is the 22nd generation on this estate. Finca Can Marti, as it is also called, occupies 135 hectares; 80 of which are strictly for grape vines. They first produced Cava in 1951 and have been producing high quality wines ever since.

The great-grandfather of the current operator Ernestina Torelló helped replant the vines in Penedès that were destroyed in the devastating phylloxera plague that lasted until the end of the 19th century. There is a monument in the council square and even a street honoring him in the town of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, Penedes. There is now a two day festival in September celebrating the end of this terrible disease where Cava, music, and traditional food takes place. Be sure to wear the color yellow!

When you first arrive to the Torelló estate you drive down a long windy driveway lined with olive trees and vineyards. The 439 olive trees on this estate are centuries old and are still producing olives used to produce bottles of their own olive oil. There are two main buildings on this estate both of which are from the Medieval ages. The upper house called the Can Marti De Dalt is the agriculture center whereas the Can Marti de Baix, the lower house, is the center of the cellar and where the installations are situated.

Here in the Alt Penedes they grow the Macabeo, Xarel.lo, Parellada, Malvasia, Chardonnay, and Muscat white grape varieties, as well as Garnacha, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Syrah red types. No grapes are imported from other areas to make the wines here at Torelló. The Cavas and wines at this winery are produced with one main objective: the strict and passionate care of the vines and grapes on the Can Marti estate.

When you begin your tour you follow your guide throughout the process of wine making where you can see they still harvest and sort through the grapes by hand. You’ll learn about disgorgement, the bottling process, and you will also understand the different ageing processes and times. You’re then brought up to the upper level looking over the pool and courtyard where you get a stunning view of the estate and the perfect backdrop.

Then you are taken to part of the family’s house where your guide will show you the original family document dating from 1395 protected in a frame hanging on the wall. It is written in old Catalan and Latin since those were the languages back then. Be sure to look at the bride’s box and the antique secretaire chest. Both were used in the family in the past and have incredible history.

The passion for quality is very prevalent when visiting this winery. You’ll quickly learn that the winemakers here at Torello prefer more complex and mature styles of Cava and still wine. They say that the bubbles should be in your cheeks more than anywhere else when you take a sip which makes it perfect for summer, celebrating, or just when you want to have a high quality glass of wine.

2017 sees the Torellló Cava amongst the 50 Great Cavas for the first time. 50 Great Cavas is a unique and annual competition only for Cava produced under the rules and regulations of the DO Cava.

Cava Torelló 225 Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2010 (94 pts)  – A classic Brut Nature Gran Reserva. Fine bubble and mousse with clean yellow straw appearance. Complex toasty notes on the nose, slightly earthy, long and fine.

Special Edition Brut Reserva 2011 (92 pts) – Fine creamy bubbles and mousse. Baked apples, quince and vanilla character follows through from the nose to the palate. Crisp and precise wine.

Source 50 Great Cavas 2017>>

Great Cava with Indigenous Grape, Trepat by Carles Andreu

Low seated bush vines separated by fields of golden wheat follow the rolling hills within the basin of the small county of Conca de Barbara in the town of Pira, 115 km northwest of Barcelona.  As you approach Celler Carles Andreu, you feel the serenity of the crater.  Isolated from the rest of Spain, with its own unique weather conditions and soil, Conca de Barbara is the perfect setting for the Trepat grape to thrive. The oldest vineyards, planted by the grandfather of the family, are over 80 years old; the second oldest Trepat vines in Conca de Barbara.

Today, the family owns about ninety hectares of vineyards in the Conca de Barberà county, where they mainly grow the traditional grape varieties in this region (Macabeo, Parellada and Trepat).  The largest vineyard is only 6 hectares, allowing for more diversity in the vineyards.

The vineyards extend across the municipalities of Pira, Forès, Sarral, Solivella, Barberà de la Conca and Montblanc. After decades of growing grapes, in 1991, Carles Andreu established the bodega that still bears his name today. A small bodega housed in the old manor house of Cal Celdonitakes advantage of the space where wine used to be fermented many years ago, respecting the facings and architectural shapes of the house, which was built in 1796.

The Andreu family has long respected tradition, and only produces wine with 1/3 of their grapes.  The remaining 2/3 are sent to the local co-opp in order to better support the region. From the 1920’s to around 1985 there was no private production in this area.  Then, in 1985, Bernat’s father began making Cava.  In his first year, he produced 4,000 bottles.  Now, the Andreu family is responsible for the production of about 140,000 bottle.  All 250,000 kilos of Andreu family wine grapes are hand-picked.  The remaining 750,000 kilos are machine harvested and sent to the local co-opp.  And, during harvest you will be sure to find Bernat’s father (55 years young) still active in the vineyard.

The star grape, Trepat, is local to this region.  With a total of 1,000 hectares of in Conca de Barbara, Trepat accounts for about 20% of the total wine production in Conca de Barbara; not to mention, 90% of the world’s Trepat is grown here. The weather in Conca de Barbara is very supportive to the needs to Trepat.  They are not coastal, need lots of sun during the day and cool nights.  At 400 meters above sea level, this crater seems to be the nursery the Trepat grape needs in order to thrive. Although the Trepat grape has a dark skin, the sugar concentration is more similar to a white grape, and even during cold and dry years, they are still able to produce.  The sugar content in this late ripening grape is ideal for Cava (as well as a beautiful red), with good acidity and low tannin.

Although both the building and family tradition date back centuries, the Andreu family has embraced technology in order to increase the standard of their final product.  In 2002, construction began on a tunnel and two cellars.  Two years later, the project was completed, and if you’re lucky enough to get a tour, you will see the tail end of the Cava process in the dark, cool caves under the front vineyard.  This is where the family allows the Cava to take its time and age gracefully.  You cannot rush a good thing, and the family embraces this slogan.  Many of the Cavas are aged well past the required number of months for the Reserva and Gran Reserva categories, allowing consumers to enjoy a superior product. Indeed Carles Andreu has 3 Cavas amongst the 50 Great Cavas 2017 which are as follows:

Carles Andreu Reserva Barrica 2012 A very distinctive style with notes of vanilla and spice on the nose. The palate has fine bubbles & a very attractive forward fruit style with notes of preserved lemons & a long salty finish.
Cava Rosat Brut Carles Andreu 2013 A toasty style with more lees ageing evident on the nose. Tart, crisp acidity, ripe strawberry fruit, long & salty.
Cava Brut Nature Carles Andreu 2013 More notes of time spent  on lees – toasted bread, brioche, honey and roasted nuts. Complex, crisp & fresh but with a real depth of ripe peach fruit character & a long finish. Stands out from the crowd.

Source 50 Great Cavas 2017>>