Cava Recaredo

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Josep Mata Capellades founded Cavas Recaredo in 1924, naming the domaine in honor of his father, Recaredo Mata Figueres. Josep Mata Capellades built the cellars in his house, in the historic centre of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia. Parts of the cellars are now over 80 years old and have been conserved in their original form. Recaredo is a pioneer in the production of totally dry cavas, in working with oak barrels and in longer-aged cavas. Cavas Recaredo is currently managed by Josep and Antoni Mata Casanovas, the sons of its founder, with Ton Mata actively involved and representing the succeeding generation.

Recaredo owns forty-six hectares of vineyards in the Alt Penedes district planted primarily to the Xarello, Macabeu and Parellada grape varieties, with smaller amounts of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Monastrell (Mourvedre). Viticulture at Recaredo is based solely on dry farming; no herbicides or pesticides are used and only organic fertilizers are applied when necessary; grapes are harvested manually; and, production is limited to cavas that are completely dry. The estate strictly follows an organic viticulture regime.

Vinification is carried out entirely at the Recaredo cellars in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia. The musts from the oldest Xarello vines ferment in oak barrels, which give structure and greater complexity for longer-aged cavas. Some of the base wine is aged in oak barrels for some months. This wine will be used to add greater finesse and structure to the final blending. At Recaredo, the wines are aged in-bottle in continuous contact with the second fermentation lees; the bottles are closed with 100% natural cork stoppers. Disgorging is carried out on an exclusively manual basis, at the cellars’ natural temperature, without freezing the necks of the bottles, a process that produces the most natural product possible. The cavas of Recaredo are disgorged totally dry with a zero dosage and all cuvées are vintage-dated.

Effectively, Can Recaredo, as the domaine is known, is a deeply traditional producer of the finest Cavas available in the market. To visit the cellars and observe the process is to return to another time when artisanal, hand-crafted products of the highest quality were the universally accepted standard, the goal that all sought to achieve. Here, in brief form is the Recaredo commitment:

• Production of single-vintage cavas only.
• Production of completely dry cavas: “Brut Nature”.
• Vinification, production and ageing 100% in-house.
• Ageing in bottle inside our caves, with real cork stoppers.
• Remuage by hand, in traditional racks.
• Manual disgorgement without freezing the bottle’s neck.

2014 “Terrers” Corpinnat Brut Nature: Recaredo’s flagship wine is an evocative, delicious, and riveting encapsulation of the house style. With its four years of lees aging, and its hand-riddling and manual disgorging, “Terrers” is a “basic” cuvée that sees more back-of-house time and labor than the overwhelming majority of Champagnes of any echelon. Built on the back of the minerality-enhancing Xarel-lo (56%), with smaller amounts of Macabeu (42%) and Parellada (2%), the 2014 vintage of “Terrers” offers even more penetrating minerality than usual, with snappy orchard fruits, citrus blossom, and a nougat-like character all given definition by sizzling acidity. Its extended lees contact is felt more in the wine’s palate-commanding breadth than in any blatantly yeasty character, and it possesses a precision—an almost arch air of elegance—that shames its peers, while all the while remaining irresistibly delicious. Disgorged June 9th, 2019.
2011 “Serral del Vell” Corpinnat Brut Nature: With the 2008 vintage, Recaredo debuted their “Serral del Vell” cuvée—a single-vineyard offering whose embrace of a specific terroir runs counter to the mass blending that characterizes most sparkling wines in the Alt Penedès (or, for that matter, in Champagne). This highly calcareous high-altitude plateau produces wines of rigorous minerality and kinetic linearity, showcasing the region’s ability to rival Chablis in its transmission of limestone essence. The 2011 is both powerful and graceful, with a quince-jam quality to its vivid yet taut fruit (comprising equal parts Xarel-lo and Macabeu), and a tunneling, long-echoing finish of impressive cling. Notes of raw almond and vanilla bean speak to its nearly eight years of lees aging, but this wine is built on freshness rather than autolytic heft. Disgorged September 13th, 2019.
2007 “Reserva Particular” Brut Nature Gran Reserva: The most viscerally classic of Recaredo’s offerings, “Reserva Particular” traces its origins back to 1962, when Josep Mata Capellades debuted the region’s first ultra-long-aged sparkling wine. The current iteration of the cuvée uses the estate’s oldest vines of Macabeu and Xarel-lo (two-third and one-third, respectively), planted between 1950 and 1955 on steep slopes in the northwest sector of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, and it is a plumper, more thickly textured take on these limestone-dense vineyards than the “Serral del Vell” above. Recaredo’s characteristic precision and drive are on full display, but the overall impression is enveloping and luscious rather than hyper-chiseled; there is an analog-rather-than-digital quality here that evokes a bygone era of less-governable fermentation and a more open-armed embrace of wildness. The 2007 “Reserva Particular” spent over eleven years on its lees during secondary fermentation. Disgorged July 22nd, 2019.
2006 “Turo d’En Mota”: Recaredo’s most towering achievement, “Turó d’en Mota” expresses the outer limits of their methodology and stands unquestionably as the greatest sparkling wine produced in the Alt Penedès. This single-vineyard offering, produced from pure bush-trained Xarel-lo planted in 1940 on a northeast-facing (and hence acidity-retaining) slope, spends a staggering eleven years on its lees under natural cork for its secondary fermentation. Even after all that time, the lees buttress rather than dominate the wine’s profile, and its articulation of calcareous depths rivals that of the greatest Champagne or white Burgundy, but with a proudly and distinctively Mediterranean accent. Borne from a meteorologically balanced, healthy growing season with adequate rainfall, the 2006 is a skeptic-silencing masterpiece, with notes of white truffle and raw vanilla framing a penetrating, saliva-inducing palate of immense salinity and breadth. It is truly a wine outside category, and it must be tasted to be believed.
2014 “Intens” Corpinnat Rosat Brut Nature:Recaredo’s uncompromisingly vinous, deeply colored sparkling rosé is produced from fully ripe Monastrell and Garnacha, pressed slowly and given six hours of skin-maceration, and given five years of lees aging. Bright, sappy, and bursting with salt-flecked fruit, this 2014 simultaneously expresses the verve of the vintage and the solar imprint of the terroir. If most still rosé from the French stretch of the sea straitjackets itself with overcropping, sulfur, and a rush to bottling (that salmon color so beloved by the market requires some coercion), “Intens” expresses the full luscious heat of the Mediterranean in typically Recaredo-esque visceral fashion, yet it remains scintillatingly vibrant and refreshing to drink. Disgorged July 19th, 2019.

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Sparkling Wines, Even if 2020 Hasn’t Earned Them

By Eric Asimov
Nov. 12, 2020

The end of 2020 is mercifully in sight.

Ordinarily, November and December would be the time for gatherings, parties and celebrations. These are the months when the merchants of sparkling wine earn their keep.

This year? Sigh, and cue the shrug emoji.

We will find ways of commemorating the surreal nature of this year. But give up on sparkling wine? That’s just knuckling under to the forces of darkness.

Sparkling wine is made in just about every winemaking region of the world, in a multitude of styles and from almost any conceivable grape.

In recent decades, we’ve come to accept that sparkling wine can be appropriate for any occasion, not just christenings and ceremonies. All the same, nothing suggests a festive mood better than sparkling wine, even if the parties will be more subdued than usual.

This month we will look at several different sparkling wines, each from a different place and made with different grapes. Here are the three I suggest:

Ferrari Trento Brut Metodo Classico NV (Taub Family Selections, Boca Raton, Fla.) $25

Domaine Huet Vouvray Pétillant Brut 2014 (The Rare Wine Company, Brisbane, Calif.) $32

Recaredo Corpinnat Terrers Brut Nature 2014 (Rosenthal Wine Merchant, New York) $33

The Ferrari is produced in northern Italy using the same method as Champagne. It even uses a Champagne grape, chardonnay.

The Recaredo is a cava, though it isn’t called that. Recaredo is like a number of leading Catalonian producers that feel the term “cava” has been diminished by the millions of low-quality bottles turned out every year. It, too, is made using the Champagne method, but with local grapes — xarello, parellada and macabeu, grown in the Penedès.

The Huet comes from the Vouvray region of the Loire Valley and is made of chenin blanc, though not by the Champagne method. Instead, Huet employs the methode ancestrale, like a pétillant naturel. Huet does not use that term, although it calls the wine pétillant in another sense of the word, which indicates that the carbonation is gentler than would be typical in a Champagne-style wine.

If you can’t find these wines, plenty of other choices are available. Other good cava-style wine producers include Gramona, Raventós i Blanc, Mestres, Bohigas, AT Roca, Loxarel and Parés Baltà.

Likewise, if you can’t find the Huet, other good chenin blanc sparklers include François Pinon, Jacky Blot, François Chidaine, Arnaud Lambert and Foreau.

The Ferrari should not be hard to find, but if you can’t for some reason, a lot of other Champagne facsimiles are out there, including Franciacorta in Italy or any number of California sparklers. You could always try a Champagne, too, or go further afield, as with a sekt from Germany or Portuguese sparkling wines.

Drink it with fried chicken, or with pizza. Try it with jamón Ibérico with nuts, or really anything you like. I don’t much like Champagne with caviar — that’s vodka’s reason for being — but if you like, why not? Or just drink it with ceremony.

As for 2020, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

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