Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

'Corpinnat', yet one more classification for Cava wines

Published:  11 April, 2018

Cava, Spain's sparkling wine Denomination of Origin based almost entirely in Penedès, Catalonia now has another potential classification to add labels.

If this seems like déjà vu, that's likely due to being reminded of Cava de Paraje that launched late last year. This newest classification called, Corpinnat was officially announced on April 10th in Sant Sadurní d'Anoia by six Cava producers: Gramona, Llopart, Nadal, Recaredo, Sabaté i Coca and Torelló.

Winery associations formed for the common goals of promotion and wanting to stand out have become a regular occurrence these days. What makes Corpinnat something unique is that it's a fully registered certification with the European Union and has a series of strict guidelines.

While quite numerous, the most interesting are: producers must have 100% organic production, fully own 75% of the vineyards for the grapes that go into their wines, grapes bought in must be paid at a minimum price of 0.70€/kg (average prices are about 0.40€/kg), and age for a minimum of 18 months.

The grapes are a unique aspect as 90% must be the "historic" varieties of Xarel·lo, Macabeu, Parellada, & Malvasia for the whites and Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Sumoll for the reds. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Trepat are deigned to a definitive backseat role that's maximum 10% of the finished blend.

While all Corpinnat members are currently DO Cava producers, they welcome any Traditional Method sparking producer from within the boundary set up which comprises about 80% of DO Penedès and 50% of DO Cava delimitations. This leaves the door open to producers who have left DO Cava completely (most notably, Raventós i Blanc) or others who are producing sparkling wines under the Clàssic Penedès classification within DO Penedès with all to be unified by 'Corpinnat' on the label.

The initial six Cava producers involved have already reached out to 60 cellars in the region to see if they want to join, according to Ton Mata, general director, Recaredo.

“Our standards are very demanding but we're very much open to new members and promoting this territory," he said.

All six of these producers make Reserva and Gran Reserva wines and three of them (Gramona, Recaredo and Sabaté i Coca) also produce Cava de Paraje.

While Corpinnat members state that their certification is in no way meant to compete with Cava de Paraje, it could easily be argued that this is a considerable amount for the consumer to keep in mind when so many are turning to Prosecco for its ease of product name recognition. This is going to be a large part of their uphill climb but unlike Cava de Paraje, which has plucked out individual plots from a greater whole of Cava vineyards, Corpinnat is “striving to define a singular territory and origin", said Xavier Gramona.

There's a great deal to read into the formation of Corpinnat. By enforcing 100% organic grapes, largely excluding Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and essentially banning purchase of base wine (as well as other stipulations) they have in effect blocked out the big three producers of Freixenet, Codorníu, and García Carrión who produce the vast majority of Cava and in turn are seen to have the biggest say in the direction of the DO.

Once their wines are released with "Corpinnat", the cellars will have to first overcome not being interpreted in the same light as say, Grandes Pagos de España who essentially self-nominated their vineyards to be 'Grand Crus' of Spain. Corpinnat has largely sidestepped this by focusing on a singular region but it will remain to be seen how their Tasting Committee will rate potential newcomers to maintain the standards of this initial core group.

Then there will be educating the consumer as to the merits of these wines and forming a separate identity that is largely free of any association to either Cava or Penedès but viewed as consciously-grown, fairly-paid, and high-quality wine. They've just started the efforts locally in Catalonia and as for internationally only time will tell if this will be the name that finally helps consumers more easily identify top sparkling wines from Spain's Catalonia.