With production totalling around 45 million bottles, Codorníu is Spain’s second biggest cava producer after Freixenet. It is, however, the country’s oldest family company, with documented winemaking activity going back to the mid-16th century. The complex of historical buildings in the modernist style – the work of architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch – was recognised as a National Artistic Historical Monument in 1976, and receives 100,000 visitors each year.
Codorníu also boasts one of the world’s biggest cellars (25 kilometres spread over five levels), which is home to Celler Jaume, a luxury micro-winery, experimentation centre and current heart of the company’s R&D activity, where winemaker Bruno Colomer and his team have worked since 2013.
This is where the new Ars Collecta range is made. It comprises three single-vineyard sparkling wines sourced from three different wine growing areas in Catalonia: the Raimat estate in Segrià (Costers del Segre), Serralada de Prades mountains in Conca de Barberà, just on the other side of Montsant's distinctive schist soils, and Penedès, marked by the influence of the Mediterranean. Each area results in a single-varietal Gran Reserva Cava aged for 100 months: Finca La Fideuera (Xarel.lo from Alt Penedès), Finca La Pleta (Chardonnay from Costers del Segre) and Finca El Tros Nou (Pinot Noir from Conca de Barberà).
The blend of the three plots results in 456, the house's premium sparking wine named after the number of harvests carried out by the family. An extremely young, subtle fizz with great cellaring potential, it blends 50% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 10% Xarel.lo. Despite very limited quantities in the first 2007 vintage (only 1,000 bottles of 456 and 300 bottles of each of the single-vineyard wines), production is expected to rise in the coming years. Prices are high: €175 for the 456 and €80 for the single-vineyard Cavas. Premium cava Jaume de Codorníu (20,000 bottles, 5 years of aging, €30) has also been included in the collection –grapes are sourced from nearby plots within the three areas described above.
This cava giant features an exceptionally extensive range. Highlights of the reservas category include the cavas Reina María Cristina Blanc de Noirs Brut (15 months, €15), Gran Codorníu Chardonnay (15 months, €13), where part of the base wines are barrel-fermented; Gran Codorníu Pinot Noir (12 months, €12), from vineyards over 25 years old and Codorníu Non Plus Ultra (15 months, €10), made with Macabeo, Xarel.lo and Parellada and sold as brut and brut nature.
Another well-known range are the ‘Annas’. On the market since 1984, the name pays tribute to the heiress and last person in the family to bear the Codorníu name. Anna Brut (12 months, €9) is the entry-level cava, which is also made as brut nature. This latter product was a pioneer in incorporating Chardonnay, which currently accounts for 70% of the blend, together with 15% Parellada and 15% Xarel.lo and Macabeo. More recent-ly, there have been launches of Anna Brut Rosé (€10, 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay); Anna Blanc de Noirs (9 months, €10) made with Pinot Noir, and Anna Blanc de Blancs (15 months, €10), basically devised for the restaurant industry, with the same varieties in the same proportion as Anna Brut. In 2014, Codorníu brought the Cuveé 1872 cavas (9 months, €7) out onto the market, commemorating the year in which Josep Raventós produced the first cava.
Codorníu exports 45% of its production to over 90 countries throughout the world, with its main markets being the United States, United Kingdom and Belgium. The group includes a dozen wineries, one of which is in Argentina (Séptima, in Mendoza) and an-other in the US (Artesa in Napa Valley, California). In Spain, the group is present in Rioja (Bodegas Bilbaínas), Ribera del Duero (Legaris), Priorato ( Scala Dei), Conca del Barberà ( Abadía de Poblet), Penedés (Bach), Costers del Segre (Raimat) and Valle del Cinca (Nuviana).
The wines can be bought at the group's online store.