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The 'Ars Collecta' range of premium Cavas
In wine terms at least, the end of the year often seems synonymous with festive sparklers. Prosecco keeps on attracting the punters, Champagne is always there for that special occasion and supermarket shelves remain adorned with seasonal offers on different styles of sparkling wine. Cava is always an option and one of the best known producers is Codorníu, Spain's oldest family company, whose history dates back to the middle of the 16th century. Through marriage in 1659, the Codorníu and Raventós families joined forces and in 1872, the first bottles of Spanish sparkling wine were made using the traditional method. In 1984, the first Cava to include Chardonnay, Anna de Codorníu, was launched, a tribute to the last descendant to carry the Codorníu surname and the resultant brand has become the best-selling Cava in Spain. More innovations followed and now, after a decade's work, a new range has been launched, Ars Collecta, a name chosen to pay homage to "the love of things done well with a touch of Mediterranean folly and genius", referencing both the art of harvesting and art collecting.
3 is the magic number - 3 vineyards, 3 climates, 3 grape varieties.
This limited volume collection comprises five Gran Reserva Cavas that express the terroir of three single vineyard sites in very different locations - Conca de Barbera, Alt Penedès and Costers del Segre. Unique to Codorníu, two of these premium Cavas, Jaume Codorníu and 456, are made from grapes grown on all three sites, combining the influences of Mediterranean and continental climates, as well as distinct soil types. Winemaker Bruno Colomer is passionate about what he calls "rolling three territories with nothing in common into one", in order to reach the highest potential levels of quality:-
At Norte restaurant in central London. Image by Robin Goldsmith.
At London's Norte restaurant, part of Grupo Bilbao Berria, I was delighted to have the opportunity to sample both the delicious food, but also three wonderful Cavas:-
Part of Spain's best-selling Cava range, the iconic Anna de Codorníu Blanc de Blancs. Image by Robin Goldsmith.
The other three wines in the Ars Collecta range are Finca El Tros Nou Brut Gran Reserva 2007 (100% Pinot Noir), Finca La Fideuera Brut Gran Reserva 2007 (100% Xarel-lo) and Finca La Pleta Brut Gran Reserva 2007 (100% Chardonnay). More details can be found on the dedicated website.