As is now par for the course on the Xtrawine blog, we will be dedicating another article this week to one of the many wine producers in Italy, some of whom go relatively unsung, at least in comparison to the companies that produce some of the more popular wines in the world.
This is particularly the case for sparkling wine producers that make anything other than Prosecco or Champagne, not least because Prosecco’s dominance of international markets has put it on an equal footing with Champagne when it comes to quality and popularity amongst those outside of Italy.
While this is wonderful, and richly deserved, for Prosecco, it perhaps means that some of the other great international sparkling wine producers do not receive the same level of attention as they perhaps deserve.
This is why we have decided to focus this week’s article on Raventos I Blanc, which is one such producer that has worked tirelessly to create stunning sparkling wines that can be enjoyed by people all over the world. Here we will be examining some of the history of the company and one of the most wonderful sparkling Rosé wines to emerge from Spain in recent memory.
Many believe that the story of Raventos I Blanc starts back in 1872, when CAVA was first produced and the dreams of creating a world class sparkling wine that could rival those produced in other nations first came into being. This aspiration led to the great wine producer Josep Raventós Fatjó creating Xarello, from the same vineyard where de la Finca comes from in the present day.
Though it received acclaim, as did the sparkling wine created by Manuel Raventós Doménech in Penedés that was made using Xarello, Macabeu and Parallada grapes in 1888, the name of CAVA soon began to fall into disrepute as the wines made under the label began to focus more on volume than they did on quality, leading to many looking elsewhere for their sparkling wines, such as the aforementioned Champagne and Rosé.
Raventos I Blanc came into being with the aim of lending distinction back to the CAVA name through the creation of fine sparkling wines that would be able to compete with some of the largest producers in the world on both quality and quantity. Placing a focus on establishing a unique geographical distinction and terroir for their sparkling wines, the company aimed to remedy the low viticultural standards that had plagued CAVA for so many years.
They began work on this by continuing a family vine-growing tradition that stretched back more than twenty generations, using plants that had been growing since 1497. The founder of the company Josep María Raventós i Blanc, adopted a philosophy that stated that man should share as close a link as possible with his land and the nature that surrounds it, building on the traditions that were held dear by the surrounding Catalan country folk, whose heart and soul was rooted deeply into their land. It is a philosophy that has since been taken on by many producers around the world, particularly those that favour organic and biodynamic winemaking techniques.
His aim was to create a true alternative to Champagne, rather than to join the multitude of companies making CAVA that had given Spanish sparkling wines a less than stellar reputation. It is an aim that the team at Raventos I Blanc have tried to achieve in the years that have followed, as they work hard to recreate the long-lost characteristics of the land and life based around the traditional farmhouse of the winery, located in the Penedés region.
Bringing together everything from the local vine-growing culture through to the land, animals and working practices that allowed the region to establish its reputation in the first place, the company has worked hard to establish sparkling wines that could be enjoyed by all throughout the world, creating a biosynergy between man and land that is reflected in the company’s wines.
However, the CAVA distinction had long been a hurdle that the company needed to leap, especially given the damage to reputation that had occurred due to the focus on volume by other producers throughout Spain. With their aim to create high quality and honest wines that focused on native grape varieties and quality over quantity, Raventos I Blanc eventually made the difficult decision to leave the CAVA DO in 2012 and embark on its own path, creating sparkling wines that are free of both the CAVA name and the restrictions that are placed upon wines that fall under its banner.
Today, Raventos I Blanc creates some of the most stunning examples of sparkling wine to emerge from Spain, using its philosophy of using local grape varieties and working in synergy with the land. Perhaps unsurprisingly, their wines surpass the vast majority of those that fall under the CAVA distinction, so let’s take a look at one of the best to emerge from the company in recent memory.
While Raventos I Blanc is perhaps best known for creating stunning examples of sparkling white wines, it is the company’s Rosè De Nit Reserva 2012 that we will be choosing to profile this week, as it is one of the finest examples of a sparkling Rosé in the world today.
Making use of the biodynamic philosophy that has served the company so well since the decision to remove the CAVA distinction in 2012, this is one of the first wines that they produced without having the CAVA label attached to it.
Innovation through the Monastrell grape variety can be sensed instantly, as the wine brings together complexity and gorgeous freshness that is sure to pique the interest of anybody who enjoys a nice sparkling wine.
Featuring a soft, creamy mousse and a pale salmon colouring that has just the slightest tinges of copper, this wine has a beautiful bouquet that brings to mind strawberry, red currant and freshly baked bread. Further exploration also offers a greater sense of the land, with slight floral and spice notes offering an extra layer of complexity.
It is not less wonderful when introduced to the palette, with these notes being complemented by the taste of raspberries and the soft minerals that demonstrate the true quality of the terroir.