Peter Morrell takes a look at four festive sparklers from the world’s oldest Cava producer
I have been looking at and tasting the Cavas of Codorníu, producers of Spain’s most luxurious Cavas. This year they have released four recommended vintages to celebrate Christmas.
Codorníu dates back more than 450 years, steeped in rich history, Codorníu is the oldest family-owned business in Spain, and the first vineyard to produce Cava. In 1872, Josep Raventós redirected the family business and became a cava pioneer when he produced the first bottle of sparkling wine, applying the Traditional Method to a combination of traditional Penedès varieties: Xarel·lo, Macabeo and Parellada.
Its deep roots as a key player within the Cava scene has made the brand one of the most recognised names in the business. As bestselling Cava brand in Spain, and present in over 50 countries this is the fizz you need to know about. And, if you haven’t heard of it already, here is your chance!
The Codorníu Non-Vintage Brut is a traditional Cava from Codorníu. Made from the traditional grape varieties Macabeu, Xarel·lo and Parellada, this fizz has a fine elegant mousse and some very pale straw yellow shades. As an accompaniment to dried fruits and nuts, the Codorníu Non-Vintage Brut is the ideal drink to pair with after dinner treats. This fizz leaves a fresh aftertaste perfectly refreshing for after dinner.
The Codorníu Vintage Brut is the perfect introduction to the category. A traditional, flagship cuvée for Codorníu made from the classic local varieties passed down through the history of cava. This wine combines three different grape varieties: Macabeo, Xarel.lo and Parellada, to get a fresh and savoury sparkling. This tasty wine pairs beautifully with tapas. For a Spanish twist to Christmas, why not taste it with ham and cheese croquetas? The tasty, deep-fried bites can be made ahead from frozen for perfect no-fuss entertainment. The fine mousse and balanced freshness on the palate granted from the Vintage Brut is ideal to compliment any rich taste from the croquetas.
I have tasted the next wine, the Anna de Codorníu Brut, is an excellent example of everything that Codorníu represents – history, versatility and brilliance.
The wine is made from 70% Chardonnay, with Macbeo, Xaerlo, and Parellada grapes forming the remaining 30%. It pours a pale straw yellow, and has fine streams of bubbles which create a long lasting mousse on the surface. The bouquet show bright aromas of green apples, citrus and flowers. Moving to the palate is has a pleasant effervescence, the aromas on the nose persist and are joined by honey, toast, pears and peach. There is slight minerality, and well balanced acidity making it a refreshing aperitif and a match with seafood, charcuterie, and goat’s cheese tart. The finish is fruity and long lasting.
Stock up your wine trug with this to ensure your Christmas starts with a touch of luxury.
Meanwhile, for a variation of the traditional Cava taste and feel, why not try the more premium Codorníu Ars Collecta Blanc de Noirs? Its main grape variety is Pinot Noir from Costers del Segre for an intense fizzy experience. This wine has a much smaller production, and is made from top quality pinot noir grapes. It is aged for a lot longer contributing to its intense mouth feel with beautiful and velvety flavours on the palate. It matches perfectly with seafood, or red fruit desserts.
Codorníu represents the history of a viticulture family that dates back to the sixteenth century. The oldest document the compant possesses mentions the Jaume Codorníu’s vineyards and confirms that, in 1551, the family already had presses, barrels and tanks to make wine in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, where Codorníu has its premises.
In 1659, the marriage between Anna, Codorníu’s heiress, and Miquel Raventós unites two of the main wine dynasties. The heirs decide to take the Raventós surname, but they also preserve Anna’s surname.
Codorníu, as a brand name would reach international prestige in 1872. Josep Raventós changed the family business and became the first man to produce a bottle of sparkling wine by using traditional methods and combining the local varietals from the Penedès region: Xarel·lo, Macabeo and Parellada, and that’s how the cava’s story starts.
Since then, Codorníu has been a symbol of continuity,
innovation and loyalty to its origins. Five centuries of history and experience that join tradition and modernity. Codorníu is able to innovate and, at the same time, meet the exigencies of offering cavas with an exceptional quality. Codorníu has always been a pioneer in the most technical aspects, by using new press methods, improving the stir systems, or by introducing new varietals such as Chardonnay in 1984 and, later on, in 2002, Pinot Noir.
Codorniu are also at the forefront of an exciting new way of classifying Cava that will allow consumers to choose the wine by its maturity
To find out more about Codorniu visit: Codorniu l www.codorniu.com