I am really pleased to be able to offer the new vintage of Recaredo’s outstanding Reserva Particular Brut Nature. This wine was an absolute stand-out for me last year and it continues to impress greatly.
Where is it from you may ask? Well, it is from Corpinnat, which was previously a small zone within Cava, but as the production area for Cava is so vast and the name has become debased, a group of nine producers (of which Recaredo is one) left the Cava DO in 2019 and will now produce their wines with Corpinnat shown on the label. These nine producers want to focus on higher quality production, terroir driven wines and indigenous varieties and thereby limiting use of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. When given an ultimatum by the authorities to stop promoting themselves as a subset, they broke away from the DO and continued to promote Corpinnat and were recognised legally by the EU. In time it is likely that they will be brought back into the fold with a separate appellation. Leaving wranglings about designations and appellations aside, it is easy to understand why Recaredo took this step given the quality of the wines they produce is a world away from what you are likely to associate with Cava. If the following background does not add up to a quality-conscious producer, I am not sure what does.
Recaredo has been crafting wines at Sant Sadurní d’Anoia in Alt Penedès, some 50km due west of Barcelona, for near on a century, in fact ever since Josep Mata Capellades started winemaking in 1924. Today, his legacy is the Recaredo estate, named after his father, which today comprises a patchwork of some 65 hectares of hillside vineyards along the river Bitlles. This spectacular landscape, dominated by the Montserrat mountain, gives rise to naturally low-yielding, calcareous soils, well-suited to fruit for sparkling wine production. Recaredo is run biodynamically with production kept remarkably traditional, artisanal, and unhurried, so no pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilisers are used here; everything is natural, everything is done by hand. They were the first estate in Penedes to be certified biodynamic back in 2010, so while tradition is the watchword here, it is not without progression.
The reputation of this estate is inextricably linked to patience – each of their wines spends a minimum of two and half years ageing on its lees in bottle in their cellars, far and above the minimum stipulation for Cava or Champagne for that matter. Some of their wines spend a whopping 30 years in their cellars. Interestingly, this focus on extended ageing echoes the approach championed most successfully by the winemaker who I consider one of the most talented in Champagne, namely Francis Egly of Egly-Ouriet. That is not to hint at any imitation; Recaredo developed their style of long-aged wines as early as 1944.
The key variety here is Xarel-lo (pronounced charel-low) which accounts for over half of their vineyard plantings. I have been fascinated by this variety and have recently started tasting some impressive still wines from it in order to understand more of its character and attributes. This indigenous Mediterranean variety brings good acidity and structure to the blend and in my experience, a mineral-infused citrus-natured fruit with slightly smoky notes. Its blending partner, Macabeu can offer a more floral-natured fruit, with slightly more honeyed, juicy characters. The issue with both varieties is that pinning down varietal flavour profiles is tricky as often yields are too high to deliver the necessary concentration in still or sparkling wines. Fortunately, this isn’t always the case. Recaredo, for example, produce at substantially less than half the permitted yield for Cava and the results speak for themselves.
Please see my full note below.