While the team at Xtrawine place much of their focus on finding spectacular vintages from across Italy and bringing them to you via our website, we are also more than happy to recognize that there are many wonderful wines from outside of Italy that are more than worthy of a few moments of your time. In fact, the team is of the opinion that nobody should limit their wine tasting experiences and should make the effort to explore new producers and interesting vintages whenever they have the opportunity, no matter where they might be from.
That brings us to this week’s producer profile. Here we will be looking at one of Spain’s most excellent winemakers, taking a bit of time to explore their history and the land that they call home before conducting further exploration of a truly superb wine that we recommend all of our visitors try.
Located in the district of La Noguera, which is part of the historical country of Urgell, Castell del Remei is located about 250 metres above sea level, which already hints at the various properties that the land where their grapes are grown can give to the wines that they produce.
The history of Castell del Remei dates back hundreds of years, with records showing that 1780 is the first time that evidence of vines being planted on the estate can be documented. However, it took a while for the people working the land to realise the true quality of what they had available to them, which resulted in the wines that they produced being of fairly poor quality and offered in bulk.
This all changed in the latter half of the 19th century, as the winemakers that had made the estate their home began focusing more on getting the most out of their land and producing wines of exceptional quality. A move towards bottled and barrel-aged wines began allowing them to develop the reputation that the land deserves, as did a focus on using more modern irrigation techniques to counter the sometimes difficult climate.
Over time, four grape growing families, all from the Bordeaux region, began making wines in the area, ageing them in American oak barrels while also using classic French vinification methods. This resulted in the company being the very first to make aged wine from Catalonia available on the open market under its very own brand, while also being the first in Spain to make use of French techniques in an effort to improve their product.
The company began to receive awards for the quality of its product and eventually extended their winery to include an additional annex that allowed them to focus on the production of white wines.
The land is characterised by calcareous, almost chalky soil but that isn’t the whole story. Across the entire estate there are actually a number of different soil types in play, all of which combine to offer the team the chance to experiment with different grape varieties, in addition to helping to lend each of their wines a unique quality that is at once both indicative of the region while also offering something completely new. This has led to the wines produced by Castell del Remei containing an enormous amount of nuance and complexity, which has naturally made them a favourite amongst wine enthusiasts.
Interestingly, each of their plots is located at the bottom of what was once a small sea, which covered a large part of Spain during what was known as the Cenozoic area. This interesting background is largely what contributes to the interesting level of soil diversification that the company enjoys and also offers it the uniqueness that so many producers struggle for but so very few actually manage to attain.
However, the company does not produce wine without its difficulties. They recognize that the occasionally arid local climate can have something of a detrimental effect on the wines that they produce, which is countered by a state of the art irrigation system that ensures that the grapes grown by the company are supported with all of the nutrient they need to show their true quality when the fermentation process starts. This is aided by a shallow water table at the northern end of the vineyard, which provides extra irrigation during the driest years, while also allowing for a certain amount of drainage during rainy periods. As such, the grapes grown by Castell del Remei tend to meet a certain standard of quality on a consistent basis, despite what some may consider fairly difficult conditions.
The winery has not been without its problems, particularly when facing up to the phylloxera pest that decimated its vineyards, many of which needed to be replanted. However, they continue to focus on producing quality wines and now build on the impressive history they have created.
With so much choice on offer it can be difficult to pick a wine from this manufacturer to focus on, especially as many of their products are worth examination. However, we have decided to settle on the Castell del Remei Cava Brut Nature for its obvious quality and the fact that it demonstrates the evolution of the company into stellar white wine production, as well as the reds that it was more traditionally known for when it was first founded.
This beautiful sparkling white wine is of a quality to match even the best Proseccos or Champagnes and is definitely worth exploring by those who are looking for alternatives to those most famous of wines. Featuring a pale yellow colouring with small hints of green dotted around, the wine itself offers notes of pear and apple alongside lemon leaves and fresh cut flowers.
This notes come to the fore when the wine is tastes, leaving the drinker feeling refreshed and engaged. A dry taste that offers good acidity and excellent length is what is on offer with this most gorgeous of wines, which is truly capable of demonstrating just how much the Spanish wine industry has to offer.