Blend: 45% Xarel-lo, 25% Macabeo, 15% Parellada, 15% Chardonnay
Vins el Cep is owned by several families, who’s vineyards together produce the unique, terroir driven, sustainable cavas and wines.
Owned by the Carreras family, the 60Ha. Can Prats vineyard estate is located in Sant Llorenç d’Hortons. Macabeo, Xarel·lo, Parellada, Pinot Noir, and Tempranillo are all grown on the estate, which was first developed by Berenguer Raspall, who built the estate’s masia, or farmhouse, in 1393. In 1568, Jaume Prats renamed the estate and consolidated viticulture on the farm.
The Can Castany vineyard estate is owned by the Masana family and was founded in 1448 by Joan Duran. In 1513, Felip Castany named the basilical style masia. The current proprietor, Gil Masana, is one of the founding members of Vins El Cep and is extremely well versed in the cultivation of grapes in this privileged area. It is a 50Ha. completely organically cultivated estate, where Vins El Cep’s oldest vines are found, dating back to 1928. Macabeo, Xarel·lo, Parellada, Chardonnay, Muscat, Tempranillo, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon are all grown.
The Parera family owns the Can Miquel de les Planes vineyard estate. The current proprietor, Pere Parera, founding member of Vins El Cep, is the pioneer in Penedès for biodynamic viticulture, and was the first in the D.O. to push for and implement biodynamic viticulture in his vineyards in 2003. The estate is 30Ha. of completely organic and biodynamically farmed Macabeo, Parrellada, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Finally, the Esteve family, founding members of Vins El Cep, own the vineyard estate Can Simon, which was first founded in 1501 by Mateo Joan. The estate was named in 1673 by Jaume Simon. It consists of 50Ha. of Macabeo, Xarel·lo, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Merlot.
Vins El Cep is the pioneer in D.O. Penedès for the production of sustainably grown cava, and were the first in Spain to produce a biodynamically farmed cava.
What is Cava?
Spain adopted the word, cava, which technically means ‘cellar’ in Catalan, to describe their sparkling wines made using the traditional method. While this style was first created outside of Spain in the 1600s, its birthplace inside of Spain came in 1872 when Jose Raventós of Codorníu first produced traditional method sparkling wine in the town of San Sadurní d’Anoia. Uniquely, the Cava denomination isn’t restricted to one geographical area but rather, it spans eight total wine regions. However, about 90% of Spain’s total production of Cava, Spanish sparkling wine happens within Catalonia, and about 75% is produced within the borders of San Sadurní d’Anoia, inside the smaller Catalan region of Penedès. In 2019, Spain registered nearly 38,000 hectares of vineyards for Cava production, compared to just under 34,000 in Champagne.
How is Cava sparkling wine made?
Cava, like many other sparkling wines of the world is made using the traditional method, or "Champagne method," or método tradicional in Spanish, in which the second fermentation (the one that makes the bubbles) takes place inside the bottle. With this method, spent yeast cells remain in contact with the wine during bottle aging, giving it a creamy mouthful, a toasted bread or brioche quality and in many cases, the capacity to age.
What are the Cava wine grapes?
The mainstay Cava grape varieties include Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo. Macabeo, also known as Viura, lends pleasant aromatics to the blend, while Parellada adds acidity and finesse. Xarel-lo is the grape that gives body, earth and greengage characteristics to Cava. Occasionally Chardonnay is used as a blending grape or sole variety in making Cava wine. Governmental inclusion approval was awarded in 1986 but still, Chardonnay makes up only a fraction of total vineyard area. For rosé, in Spanish called rosado, the local Trepat and Garnacha can be used, along with Pinot Noir (first permitted in 1998 for rosado and in 2007 for white Cavas).
Cava Tasting Profile
Since Cava is a sparkling wine produced on the Mediterranean where temperatures are warmer and there is more sunshine compared with Champagne, you can expect that Cava sparkling wine will generally have a gentler acid profile compared with its French counterpart. Furthermore, especially when the indigenous varieties are used, common Cava flavors will include citrus peel, fennel, wildflower, lemon blossom and flint or saline. Most Cava is produced in the Brut style, so dry, with a slightly rounder finish that balances brightness with brioche notes and supple fruit. Brut Nature or Zero Dosage examples are bone dry, whereas Extra-Dry Cava will be slightly sweet and a Demi-Sec Cava will have the highest sweetness level.
One of the best things about pairing Cava wine is you can drink it on its own or with just about any food! But if you want to focus on bringing out Cava's uniquely brilliant bouquet and citrus notes, rich or seafood-centric dishes are perfect food pairings for Cava. Try Cava with butter poached lobster, seafood risotto, puff pastry and caramelized onions or fried chicken.
Representing the topmost expression of a Champagne house, a vintage Champagne is one made from the produce of a single, superior harvest year. Vintage Champagnes account for a mere 5% of total Champagne production and are produced about three times in a decade. Champagne is typically made as a blend of multiple years in order to preserve the house style; these will have non-vintage, or simply, NV on the label. The term, "vintage," as it applies to all wine, simply means a single harvest year.