With summer parties starting to be planned, Cava makes an excellent alternative to Champagne. Tim, Trainee Manager at Majestic Bangor, shares his trip to the Cava producer Codorníu just west of Barcelona…
Shortly after being woken by my alarm at 5 am I left the sleepy shores of the United Kingdom with a group of Majestic staff and embarked on a trip to Spain for a tour of the Codorníu winery. The winery itself is conveniently situated just twenty five minutes outside of Barcelona near Sant Sadurní in North Eastern Spain. Clear blue skies and a cool Mediterranean breeze welcomed us for our onward journey to the vineyard itself. Driving through a sea of manicured vineyards up to the main house was an impressive sight indeed; vines basking in sunshine and avenues of busy workers enveloped by rolling hills.
Upon our arrival to the main house, which dates back to the fifteenth century, we were invited for a short lunch consisting of intricately made tapas and a glass of finely chilled Pinot Noir Cava. This was the perfect beginning to the tour after an early start to the day. We were introduced to the winery’s centuries-old family history in perfect English by our Spanish guide, who seemed to be as passionate about Codorníu as its early pioneers would have been.
Their cellar collection consists of deep caves spanning five floors. Some caves date back to when the winery was founded in 1551 and were dug out by hand, whilst the new floors have been built on a much grander scale. Contained amongst the caves in an upper level is a small, delightfully decorated chapel for private use to the family and its workers. As a visitor experiencing the winery for the first time, the chapel felt like the heart of the place, pulsing the lifeblood of the Codorníu family into the character of the wine. Unique to Codorníu is the train ride, which showcases the sheer size of the deepest and oldest cavity encompassed with sparkling wines of different vintages. Not being gimmicky at all, it’s the perfect solution to experience the vast warren of avenues en-masse.
The tasting took place under the careful supervision of chief winemaker, Bruno Colomer. He was most welcoming and incredibly passionate about his job. Working in unison with his surroundings and his dedicated team of oenologists, he has produced some sublime products, all of which were laid out in front of me and inviting me to dive in and have a taste. Bruno informs me that he is driven by excellence and holds a strict graded grape selection process to make the base wine for all of their Cavas. Unlike some producers of Cava that buy a base wine from various producers, Codorníu prides itself on producing sublime single varieties of their own to assemble their Cavas. Growing their own grapes to be vinified gives the winery’s ethos a true understanding of hierarchy and uniqueness, which focuses on the heart of the product, good quality estate produced wine.
My Favourite Cavas from Codorníu:
Codorníu Extra Brut is a delicately dry, light bodied Cava which displays notes of green apple, citrus and almond, and finishes with a light brioche character. It’s reasonably priced and great value for the money when you look at how much effort goes into producing it. I’m a huge fan.
Reina Maria Cristina Brut Reserva Vintage. This award winning brut Cava was originally launched in honour of the regent Queen of Austria who granted Codorníu the official provider of the Royal House in 1897. Beading fine, persistent bubbles, this Cava is deliciously dry and has fresh, light floral aromas. Being well rounded with a luscious mouth feel, the RMC embodies pear and brioche flavours. This was my overall favourite from the tasting.
Get yourself a ticket to Barcelona, go to the winery and give yourself the whole day free to wander around and experience the magic of Codorníu. Or just pop in and try what I tasted. Celebrate, experience, enjoy.