2008 Raventós i Blanc ‘Manuel Raventós Negra’, Fine Catalonia Sparkling Wine
This Manuel Raventós Negra Cuvée by Raventós i Blanc winery is named after the son of the winery’s founder Josep Maria Raventós i Blanc. Manueal is clearly an absolute historic figure of the estate and has been making wine here since the foundation in 1984.
The Manuel Raventós Negra Cuvée is a personal selection by Manuel Raventós Negra of what he considers all of the best wines of the particular vintage.
This is the ultimate expression of the winery’s savoir-faire (know-how), and also aims at being the best expression of its unique limestone fossils-rich terroir.
This blend is one of a traditional Cava blend: 70 % Xarel.lo, 15 % Parellada, and 15 % Macabeu.
Technically, this could be called a Spanish Cava sparkling wine, but Raventós i Blanc winery chose to leave the appellation to affirm their search of excellence and constant efforts to express the terroir of their land (read more about this topic at Wine Trip to Raventos i Blanc)
Only fruit from the best estate vineyards were obviously selected in this blend. Here is the story:
Vineyard Plots Selection:
The Xarel.lo comes from a site called El Clos. It is a North-facing plot with the coolest and dampest microclimate on the estate, creating very long ripening cycles giving us structured wines with excellent natural acidity.
Parellada is sourced from La Creueta, where a sandy soils gives concentrated wines.
The Macabeu was selected from the La Vinya dels Fòssils vineyard, a marine-fossils-rich site providing freshness and minerality from the lower-lying plot.
The grapes enter the winery by gravity. At each stage, the atmosphere is controlled by dry ice. Slowly pressed at low pressure with juice separation carried out through tasting. Static sedimentation at low temperatures. First fermentation in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. Assemblage and second fermentation in the bottle with a minimum ageing period of 72 months in a horizontal position. No “liqueur d’expédition” added. Disgorging date stated on the back label. 3.452 bottles.
So just how good is 2008 Manuel Raventós Negra?
This Catalan sparkling wine comes in lemon-yellow color with medium intensity, but with shiny gold hues. Nothing amazingly outstanding about its appearance, but it foes look bright and shiny, therefore appealing to look at!
Smelling it though, even for just a second or two, you do realize this is no ordinary ‘Cava’ wine.
A wealth of walnut aromas, sweet spices (nutmeg in particular), some smokiness, hints of tropical pineapple, green apple (cider-like but very elegantly composed) literally jump out of the glass in a stunning intensity combined with great complexity.
You can smell it for minutes and you’ll still be trying to figure out everything it smells like. Very complex, powerful yet somehow very refined and controlled. Though at this stage (the smelling) you’re not quite 100% sure it’s going to be that good at tasting it.
The final revelation comes on the palate…
There is so much happening here as well!
It is very dry, bone dry really one has to admit. But it’s so smooth and creamy it doesn’t feel that way.
Rather, the absence of sugars or any noisy sweet sensation leaves room for the pungent and complex flavors to shine.
‘Amaretto’ clearly comes to mind to describes the dominant flavor, toasty, slightly bitter, nutty obviously, but also creamy and coating like an almond liqueur.
Oaky notes, some tropical pineapple again marry the green dry-cider-like apple.
Mid-body, oily texture, crisp acidity on a dry backbone. Granulous yet smooth phenolics provide a savory drying feel to the finish suggesting a perfect wine to pair with gastronomy.
The totally outstanding feature in the wine, is the iodine, sea-salt like feel you get on your palate.
It is clearly similar somehow to the sensation you get when tasting the water contained in an oyster. An absolute proof that despite the refinement and complexity brought by the oak and long aging on less, this wine’s terroir, full of marine animals, shells and fossils, still shines through into the wine and has been utterly respected through winemaking.
A unique tasting experience very few sparkling wines provide at this level of intensity, refinement, and typicity.
See 2008 Manuel Raventós Negra in Video