Agusti Torello Mata, Spill the wine, D.O. Cava/D.O. Penedes

38/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Cava/D.O. Penedes – Sant Sadurni d’Anoia – Agusti Torello Mata – Bayanus 375 Gran Reserva 2004

Spill the wine…….,

…., but when you spill, make sure to do so in my Cava glass! Bubbles, bubbles and more bubbles! During my many years in the restaurant trade, I rarely sold or recommended Cava. The Champagne was flowing and the other sparkling alternatives where not to be considered competition.

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Truth being, to much of the lower quality Cava is being sold in the world, and people rarely get to enjoy the really good stuff, and there’s plenty of the good stuff! Ok, so you’re sitting there thinking, Cava is still no competitor to Champagne! All I can say is, keep drinking your Champagne, that way there will be more Cava left for me! Thank you!

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But seriously, do the maths. Cold, unreliable climate versus warm and reliable climate, what’s better for the maturity (and flavor) of the grapes? Yepp! That’s right. For me the consistency of Cava is far beyond that of the Champagne.

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Now, the one thing the French do better and have been doing for a long time, is marketing. We were the first, we are the best, come and pay 50 euro and upwards for a bottle of bubbly! I have paid that but not any more. Fantastic Cava is to be found on the market for half that and that is some good wine right there!

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The acidity in the French stuff doesn’t allow me to drink more than a few glasses, at best. Cava, well let me tell you, that I can drink for quite some time before I get any inclination of acidity in my stomach. Todays choice is a really price-worthy Cava, only issue I’ve got with it, the bottle is way to small!

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One of the most prestigious Cava producers is Agustí Torelló Mata and they have created more prestige for the reputation of Cava, then any other winery in Penedes. Their hard work and world-renowned expertise has proven that Cava can rival the best Champagnes and sparkling wines in the world!

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Kripta, the amphorae bottle, cult Cava, is a collector’s wine. The goal has been achieved by determination, hard work and the use of fist class indigenous varietals from the best vineyards in the region. Neighboring competitors have increased the use of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, while Agusti Torello Mata winery has stayed consistently true to the origins of Penedes.

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Agustí Torelló, the founding father, decided that he wanted to make a high quality sparkling wine, and so the winery was born in the mid 1950s. The winery is locate just outside Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, just about 30 minutes from Barcelona.

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Knowing that the terroir in Penedès is unique and exceptional, only thing missing was knowledge, how to best deal with the raw materials at hand. At a young age he decided not to follow in his families footsteps – who were actually tailors and musicians!

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What was then a brave endeavor with no guarantee of financial success was supported by his work in the region’s first wine analysis center, which Mata created in 1953. Supplementing his income by managing other estates, the reputation of Agustí Torelló ‘s Cava soon grew on the international stage, while the man himself established a promotional body – the Cava Guild- of which he was justifiably elected President of Honour.

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The fine reputation of the estate and Agustí Torelló’s great work continued to grow into the 21st century, today the winery is still in capable family hands, managed by is four sons: Agustí, Gemma, Alex and Lali. They have expanded their estate’s holdings to 35 ha of organic vineyards but they also buy grapes from over 100 ha to cover their requirements.

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Their range of Cavas includes dry and very dry, low dosage styles, focusing solely on growing the indigenous varies of the area with impressive results. All their Cavas are excellent, but the star of the show is undoubtedly their cuvee prestige, Kripta. The packaging is enough to cause a stir, a distinctive, amphora-shape bottle with an avant-garde label design.

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The idea behind this special vintage bottling came to Agustí Torelló Mata at the family home, Can Rossell, in 1979, when he realized that his winery should make use of the oldest vineyards in Penedès to craft something unique. Intially it was only intended for family, friends and true connoisseurs.

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The idea was to produce an extraordinary cava like none other. And as the extraordinary can not be improvised, they waited over 30 years to market it. Quality, wisdom, perseverance and enjoying something that is unique is in fact the Kripta.

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The wine is only produced in the most exceptional vintages, after an extended period of 5-6 years on its lees, Kripta emerges as a highly complex, full bodied and rich Cava. The perfect ambassador for the exceptional sparkling wines of this estate! Another one of my Mata favorites is the Grand Reserva Barrica, 100% Macabeu! More about the Kripta and Barrica in coming articles as todays hero is the Bayanus!

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Bayanus 375 Gran Reserva 2004, Macabeu, Xarel.lo and Parellada

The Bayanus has a pale golden color with slight green reflections. Clean and bright with a persistent effervescence that forms slow and plentiful bubbles and delicate crown on the surface. Clean aromatics that are incredibly well-balanced. Toasted nuts, fine pastries, freshly baked Brioche, and roasted fruits. There are very fresh and fragrant white stone fruit aromatics, ripe white pears, and apple aromas that are all well defined along with some citric notes.

A creamy and dry palate that is full of volume and very fresh. This Cava is medium to full-bodied. Perfect acidity that is very well-balanced. Persistent finish that presents crianza ageing notes of toast, ripe fruit jams, and fine pastries. A Cava that is well-structured with a pleasant aftertaste that presents slightly bitter almond sensations.

A great Cava but not a “great” Cava, as the bottle is to small! This is a Cava to be shared and half bottle just won’t do it! But for a nice evening in front of he fire place, alone with a book, this is just right!

336 to go!

Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle

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