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PENEDES

While Cava can be made in many of the DOs throughout Spain, almost 90 percent is made in the Penedés DO. With good money available to vineyard owners who want to sell early–picked grapes to Cava producers, there is little reason to grow grapes for high–quality table wine. There are excellent red and white wines made here, but sparkling wine is the 800–pound gorilla among the vines. The Torres family can afford to do otherwise, but there aren’t many others.

The Torres name represents one of the world’s great wine producers. In the 1940s, Miguel Torres, Sr. was promoting and selling his wines in the United States, China, Australia, and South America. By the 1960s, he was building an all–stainless–steel winery at his family’s facility in Penedés. Miguel Sr. and his son, who joined the winery in 1962, removed all of the then–common, often dirty cement tanks and replaced them with the latest stainless steel models, capable of ensuring sterility and the retention of fresh fruit flavors. In the early 1960s, this was no small accomplishment. At that time in America, Robert Mondavi had yet to visit France and to return, fired with his ideas of a focus upon specific varieties and on French oak barrels and coopers. Stainless steel, the mid–twentieth–century invention that has allowed fresh white wines to be made around the world, was still very new in California. Torres’ adoption of steel was the first of many brilliant moves; the Torres operation continues to evolve today, adding to the DO’s reputation as a place of innovation.

And if Cava is king in Penedés, there are a number of producers who have helped to crown it. Josep Raventós, Codorníu’s founder, deserves his reputation as the first innovator creating a wine fashioned like Champagne in 1872. The elevation and, particularly, the limestone soils make the decision seem obvious in hindsight.

The Penedés region is routinely broken into the Alt–Penedés, the Medio (or Mitja) Penedés, and the Baix–Penedés, reflecting the disparities in elevation within the DO, with some vineyards planted in sites higher than 2,800 feet. All of the grapes (the dominant three—Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada) at those altitudes can be intensely tart, more akin to the structure of chilly Champagne than the fat–styled sparkling wines California tends to produce.

For most American consumers, the image of Cava is limited to the wildly successful grocery–store brands. While those might be excellent values, there are complex and layered versions of Cava, as well as rich Rosado styles (using Monastrell, Trepat, or occasionally Pinot Noir). Though few of them will be large–scale sparkling wines, there’s nothing wrong with that. Instead, the best are using more Xarel-lo (to give greater complexity) and leaving the wines on the lees for long spells, rivaling Champagne’s aging regimens. By law, however, nine months on the lees is enough to meet Cava’s regulations. Reservas must stay 18 months on the lees, and Gran Reservas require 30 months.

With so much worldwide success, Cava may always rule the roost in Penedés, but other creatures have finer plumage. The Torres Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon (dubbed Mas La Plana) helped put Spain on the map in the 1950s and 1960s, and despite a crowd of worthy rivals, the wine continues to wow the international set today.

Showing all 7 results

  • Pizzicato 2018

    Pizzicato 2018

    After several generations winemaking and, later, producing base wine for cava, brothers Albert and Joan Milà i Mallofré decided, in 1993, to start making quality wines. While Albert was in charge of the cellar and vineyards, Joan used his vast experience as an oenologist and consultant to various Spanish wineries to serve as technical director. The Mas Comtal vineyards, which follow organic production guidelines throughout the entire process, occupy a total of forty hectares. Here are planted the white varieties Pansa (Xarel·lo), Chardonnay and a small plot of Müller-Thurgau, in addition to red varieties Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

     

    Grape: 100% Muscat Hamburg

    Colour: Clean and bright. Blush, very pale blush.

    Nose: Crisp nose, where the notes of tropical fruits, white flowers just asking to be drunk.

    Mouth:  Fresh mouth, fruity, easy to drink.

    7.00
  • Pomell de Blancs 2019

    Pomell de Blancs 2019

    “Pomell” is a Catalan word meaning bouquet of several different wild flowers. As this is a wine of blended grape varieties, having a floral character, we have wanted to draw this linguistic analogy.

    It is a perfect combination of the uniqueness of Xarel·lo with the sophistication of Chardonnay.

    Each of the varieties that make up this coupage is produced separately as well as being aged on the lees separately in underground fermentation vats in the manner of the great wines of Loire and Chablis. Upon completion of the aging process, the blending process takes place based on the vintage and the character of each of its components.

    Grapes: 73% Chardonnay and 27% Xarel.lo.

     

    9.10
  • Negre D’Anyada

    Negre D’Anyada

    Those who know it well speak of it as a wine with a distinctly French character, specifically Bordeaux. This is a coupage of the three quintessential Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. It is a wine with brief oak aging (3 months in French oak barrels) and a long repose and aging period in the bottle.

    10.10
  • Mas Comtal Brut 2015 Reserva

    Mas Comtal Brut 2015 Reserva

    A delightful dry Classic Penedes sparkling wine.  What is Classic Penedes I hear you ask, well they make this wine using the Methode Champagnoise, therefore, if you like Champagne, this is the drink for you.  It is produced by Mas Comtal from Penedes using 70% Xarel’lo and 30% Chardonnay grapes.

     

    Colour: Pale straw yellow with golden and bright reflections. Very fine and persistent bubbles.

    Nose: Notes of fresh fruit and dried herbs on the nose.

    Taste: Fresh, fruity and good acidity on the palate.

     

    If you really want to fancy this up, maybe mix it with one of these two gin liqueurs:

    Boe Peach and Hibiscus

    Boe Bramble

    11.00
  • Antistiana Incrocio Manzoni

    Antistiana Incrocio Manzoni

    This is the fourth vintage of Incrocio Manzoni, a little known variety in our country, which Joan Milà (1943-2010) “discovered” and fell in love with on one of his trips to Italy. It is a variety called Manzoni Bianco or Incrocio Manzoni originally from the province of Treviso. In fact, it is a cross between Riesling Renano and Pinot Blanc conducted by Professor Luigi Manzoni. It was one of the most interesting outcomes after a series of various tests carried out in the mid-twentieth century with the aim of identifying new grape varieties that could complement those already existing in the Veneto region.

    This variety stands out for the complexity provided by the PINOT BLANC and the aromatic strength of the RIESLING. Well-managed, it results in complex, aromatic wines with great aging potential. It has to be tried!

    11.35
  • Antistiana Xarel.lo 2017

    Antistiana Xarel.lo 2017

    First production of 100% Xarel·lo varietal wine.

    At Mas Comtal, up to the early 60s, Xarel·lo predominated. It coexisted with some Sumoll although, due to its low concentration of colouring agents in the skin, it was made into white wine. At that time, wine was sold in bulk. It was in the early 60s, with the increase in demand for white grapes to produce the base wine for cava, that the Sumoll and much of the Xarel·lo began to be replaced by Parellada and Macabeu. From 1966 to 1993, all grapes were sold to cava producers. We can therefore say that from 1960 to 1982, the vineyard was geared towards producing grapes for cava base wine: Macabeu, Xarel·lo and Parellada.

    In the early 80s, Albert Milà, with the help and unconditional support of his brother winemaker Joan Milà (1943-2010), a new era was entered upon with the aim of producing quality wines, transforming the family business by completing the production cycle:from planting the vines, their cultivation, making quality wine from the grapes and, once bottled, its marketing. This process led to the reorientation of the winemaking process by substituting Macabeu and Parellada for other varieties aimed at producing quality still wines and, subsequently, to implementing organic production in all 40 hectares of vineyard. Only the Xarel·lo grapevines have been preserved; today, all aged between 50 and 80 years old. The grapes of those oldest vines are the ones that have gone into producing these first 2,848 bottles of 75 cl.

    12.75
  • Antistiana Cabernet Franc

    Antistiana Cabernet Franc

    ANTISTIANA was an ancient Roman town and villa of uncertain location off the Via Augusta on the road running from Arles to Tarragona and on to Cartagena. It is assumed that Antistiana was located in the triangle between VILAFRANCA DEL PENEDÉS, OLÈRDOLA and LA RÀPITA near SANTA MARGARIDA I ELS MONJOS. The Roman general GAIUS ANTISTIUS VETUS was very likely the reason for the name of the Roman settlement. The general also participated in the Cantabrian Wars.

    12.75