Cava (which is to say Spanish sparkling wine made using the Champagne process) was first produced by Josep Raventos (of Codorniu) in 1872. This “Barcelona Cuvee 1872” is a modern take on those first Cavas. The base wines are made using the techniques of that time but with modern understanding and technologies. Primary fermentation is completed in a mix of concrete tanks lined with ceramic tiles, oak casks, and modern temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Fresh cool must is added to the fermenting juice to lower the temperature which prolongs the fermentation and adds layers and textures (richness) to the wine. The white uses only the traditional Cava grapes (Parellada, Macabeo, and Xarel-lo) eschewing the current trend to add Chardonnay to many top white Cava cuvees. The pink is a unique blend of Pinot Noir and Garnacha (Grenache) that somehow works. In both cases, the distinctive bottles remind me of a stained glass window, Perrier Jouet’s Fleur de Champagne bottles, and a party – all at the same time. The wines speak for themselves.
CODORNIU Barcelona Cuvee 1872 Brut Reserva, Penedès, NV ($25.49)
A classic white Cava blend of 35% Macabeu, 35% Xarel·lo, and 30% Parellada fermented using a system where fresh cool must is added to fermenting juice to lower the temperature. After the second in bottle fermentation, the wine is aged 15-months on-the-yeasts and is dosed to 11 grams-per-liter of residual sugar. Straw color and fully sparkling; dry, medium-bodied with fresh acidity and scant phenolics. Fresh but richer-styled cava offering ripe lemon and more citrus with hints of apple and spice to go with toasty yeast and clean mineral. High quality in the stylistic middle. Delicious. BearScore: 92.
CODORNIU Barcelona Cuvee 1872 Brut Rosé Reserva, Penedès, NV ($25.49)
A unique blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Garnacha fermented using a system where fresh cool must is added to fermenting juice to lower the temperature. After the second in bottle fermentation, the wine is aged 15-months on-the-yeasts and is dosed to 11 grams-per-liter of residual sugar. Salmon color and fully sparkling; dry, medium-full-bodied with fresh acidity and scant phenolics. Delicious, supple, easy-to-like, in-the-stylistic-middle Rosé at a Champagne quality level. Lots of red fruit essence with mineral earth and enough citrus layered over a mineral yeast core. Yum. BearScore: 92+.