Hand or machine disgorging? Rimarts has the answer!

September 12, 2011
By winepleasures

Rimarts are known across Catalonia for their unique approach to disgorgement, all undertaken by hand.  With this in mind, we set off with a sense of excitement at seeing this process in the flesh.  We were greeted by Ernest, one of the sons that now run the business, in the foyer of the winery.  The winery only produces 70,000 bottles from 14 hectares per year, and all of these bottles are disgorged by hand.  Joining us on the visit were a couple from Finland who also had wanted to learn more about the history of the winery.

We were led straight into the cellar.  Surrounded by bottles of different vintages, Ernest explained a brief introduction into the production of their Cava.  Quality over quantity was consistently reinforced and the philosophy of Rimartsto achieve the best quality Cava possible was by maintaining the traditional methods.  All the bottles are riddled by hand over a period of two to three weeks and treated with the up most care and attention.

Next we were led to the main focal point of the winery, to an area in the corner of the dark cellar to the hand disgorgement machines.  Ernest explained that Rimarts have opted for hand disgorging over machine disgorging because when the bottlenecks are frozen with machines, a tiny amount of the dead yeast cells and ice remain in the bottle and are carried over to the final product.  With hand disgorging, none of the yeast is left in the bottle.  To prove his point, Ernest then demonstrated with a bottle.  A loud pop soon followed as Ernest removed the crown cap from the bottle, having made the technique look seamless (through years of experience and practice).  Then the bottle is quickly corked and ready to be labeled.   All the bottles in the cellar will undergo this treatment to ensure that quality is consistent.

Afterwards we are led back upstairs into the tasting room.  We were treated to five wines and more information about the winery.  Rimarts like to age their bottles for longer than the minimum time required as stated by the regulator.  The standard brut nature reserve undergoes 26 months aging compared to the required 15 months.  The gran reserve is aged for a total of 36 months.  The belief is the wines require longer in the bottle to achieve the optimum balance between the acidity and the fruit, as well as providing the wine with depth and structure.

We are also treated to a special reserve Chardonnay.  The wine is aged for much longer to help achieve the best optimal quality, 42 months in total. See our tasting notes in the e-book 50 Great Cavas

Rimarts passion for producing top quality Cava is infectious, we left wanting to taste more.  Which is how all good wineries should be.

Matthew Smith


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