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2007 Manuel Raventos, Raventós i Blanc
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The Raventos family have a viticultural tradition dating back to 1497, making them one of the oldest continuous vineyard owners in the world. Josep Maria Raventos i Fatjo is credited with producing the first Cava in 1872, creating a legacy that the following generations take very seriously. In 1986 Josep Maria Raventos i Blanc decided to sell his share of Cordoniu, then under the ownership of the family, keeping the best vineyards for the newly created Raventos i Blanc estate (46 plots each of them with a completely distinct identity). The focus since has been on quality and regionality, in particular expressing the special properties of the terroirs around Saint Saturni d’Anoia.
The sparkling wines are made using only the indigenous varieties Xarel-lo, Parellada, Macabeo and Monastrell and show real depth, expression and longevity. Current proprietor, Pepe Raventos, places high importance on the health of the vineyard environment creating a biosynergy where the animals, the vines, the soil and the people work together as an agricultural unit. The estate reached its certified organic status in 2012.
As of 2013, Raventos i Blanc are no longer part of the Cava DO and have started the process of creating a new, terroir driven appellation, Conca del Riu Anoia (the proposed delimited area covers the are between the Mediterranean Sea and the Catalan mountains spanning between the river Anoia and river Foix.)
The decision to leave the DO stemmed out of the desire to set a standard in high quality wine production where rules such as the use of only indigenous grapes, ecological viticulture (100% Biodynamic), estate produced and estate bottled fruit and minimum ageing requirements apply (18 months). In the words of Pepe Raventós the aim behind this new proposed appellation is " to recover the name Conca del Riu Anoia: a small geographical area, to help us to better understand and convey our viticultural traditions, the strength of our land, our unique grape varieties and the characteristics of our soils"
Xarello, also knowm as Xarel-lo, is a white wine grape that forms the backbone of the Cava Spanish sparkling wine, being one of the three traditional grapes used in its production.
The other two grapes are the Catalan indigenous variety Parellada, and Macabeo which is better known as Viura, the main white grape of Rioja.
Xarel-lo contributes intense aromas in the blend which many believe underpins Cava's unique character. A handful of producers has experimented with making small quantity of still wines from Xarel-lo which are generally being met with good reviews.
Xarello is also known as Cartuja, Cartuxa, Moll, Pansa, Pansa Blanca, Pansal and Xarelo Blanco.
Parellada, Macabeo and Xarel-lo are the dominant grapes used in the production of the Spanish sparkling wine Cava. Other grapes that are allowed in the blend are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Garnacha, Monastrell and Subirat (loosely related to Malvasia). Single varietal cavas tend to be made by 100% Macabeo (which is also the preferred grape for Cava, typically forming at least 50% in multi-varietal blends).
Cava can be white or rosé, the latter is produced by adding in still red wine sourced from Pinot Noir, Garnacha, Monastrell or Trepat into the fermented sparkling wine prior to bottling.
Over 95% of Cava production originates from in the Penedès area in Catalonia. Aside this, a further eight different regions throughout Spain are also producing small quantities of Cava. The village of Sant Sadurní d'Anoia is home to many of Spain's largest production houses , led by Codorniu and Freixenet.
Bodegas Gramona are acknowledged, in Spain and beyond, to be the the finest of all Cava Houses (it has recently been voted among the Top of 100 Wineries of 2010 in the Wines & Spirits Magazine. The essence of their winemaking approach centres on extensive ageing and low levels of sugar, just like many finest Champagnes.
Only wines produced in the traditional method (méthode champenoise) are awarded the DO (Denomination Origin) Cava, those produced by other processes such as tank fermentation, may only be labelled vinos espumosos (sparkling wines).
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