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Cava country (Penedes, Spain – Day One)

Cava is to Spain what champagne is to France. Way back in the 19th century the area in and around Penedes to the south of Barcelona there was a lot of grapes growing, but they weren’t known for quality wines. The indigenous grapes were macabeu, xerello and parellada, grown for their yields and ability to ripen but provide plenty of acidity. In 1872 after a visit to Champagne, Josep Raventos Fatjo returned to his estate in Penedes and had the revolutionary idea to begin producing traditional method sparkling wine, from the indigenous grape varieties which as I mentioned had plenty of acids ideal for the wine. This proved to be a wise decision and changed the entire wine industry in the region. His son then wanted to protect the reputation they were gaining for high quality sparkling wine, and thus created one of the first DO classifications in Spain to protect the name and area of production. As the Spanish government weren’t particularly interested they went to Brussels to get the protection, but the problem was that they couldn’t agree with the area of production, only that it must be made in the traditional method. The Denominacion de Origen area covers Penedes, areas to the south near Valencia, and even as far west as Rioja, however 95% of the cava produced comes from the Penedes region.
Traditional method bottle of cava

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Can Feixes – 7/06/2012

Huguet Gran Riserva Cava Brut Nature 2007 (60% parellada, 20% macabeo, 20% pinot noir)
Lovely tight crisp tropical yellow green notes, some passionfruit, stone fruits, some minerality and very integrated autolysis. Vibrant fresh but exquisitely balanced, reflective of the varieties and region, but really a cut above. Amazingly subtle and long, like a Champagne twist on Cava.

Can Feixas Blanc Seleccio 2011 (Parellada, macabeo, chardonnay, malvasia)
Fresh bright, slightly uriney sauvignon blanc fume stink, again green fruits on the nose. Very full fruit driven fresh vibrant textural volume. Bold stone fruits and some very ripe citrus notes. Pretty intense now, perhaps will settle down in some months. Wonderfully juicy and drinkably refreshing.

Chardonnay 2007 (barrel fermented, new oak – five French coopers)
Very creamy toasty almonds and maize notes, slight toffee aromas, ripe citrus peach notes. Full crunchy bold hot texture, multilayered, very ripe and fruit heavy, oak meshes well with the ripeness of the fruit, thank god there is no malolactic as it would make it far too fat. Well balanced, just too warm a region for the variety, like Sicily.

Negre Tradicio 2007 (merlot, tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot)
Sausage meat, toasty notes, black olives, black fruits. Wonderful acidity and freshness, beautiful balance, bright red and black fruits, fresh plum and cherry notes, Full and generous yet soft and approachable with solid structure and character.

Reserva Especial 2005 (70% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot)
Dusty chalky clay notes, slightly smoky meats, full voluptuous, very tight in structure and looking a little youthful/green in texture. Oak looking a little prominent still, lot’s of potential. The structure is all there, the pieces around it just need to fall into line. Slightly warm.

Huguet Gran Riserva Cava 2007

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