Raventós is a legendary name in Catalonia with a winegrowing tradition dating back to 1497. The Raventós i Blanc family proudly states that the first Cava made in 1872 by their ancestor Josep Raventós Fatjó came from Xarel.lo grapes grown in their estate. Their trajectory is similar to Codorníu until 1984 when Pepe’s grandfather, Josep María Raventós i Blanc, and father Manuel decided to set up on their own. They built a new winery around an ancient old oak tree in their 90-hectare estate covered with vineyards and forests.
In 2012 Raventós i Blanc abandoned the DO Cava to create a new appellation governed by more stringent criteria: 100% indigenous grapes, organic or, better yet, biodynamic farming and longer ageing times. Pepe Raventós, third generation in the history of Raventós i Blanc, currently manages the estate.
The estate has been divided into 44 plots within seven bigger areas based on different soils and microclimates: Clos del Serra, La Vinya Més ALta, Costers del Serral/Vinya dels Fòssils, Les Barberes/Oliveres, El Llac, La Plana and Travesseres/Gran.
The core principles in Raventós i Blanc are organic or biodynamic wine growing, the use of indigenous varieties from at least 80% of their own vineyards in the Anoia valley, fermentation of all their sparkling wines (always indicating harvest date) and a minimum of 18 months aging. Ancestral farming practices on the vineyard, particularly animal traction, are now back in use.
Their sparkling wine range includes two entry-level wines sourced from the youngest vines in the estate as well as grapes bought from regular purveyors: Blanc de Blancs, which used to be called L'Hereu (€12) is a traditional blend of Macabeo, Xarel.lo and Parellada aged for 18 months while De Nit (around €15) cleverly blends white and red grapes (the previous combination plus 7% Monastrell) resulting in a lovely pale sparkling rosé.
The next step includes De la Finca (€17 in Spain), a blend of Macabeo, Xarello and Parellada sourced from Vinya dels Fòssils which is aged for 3 years; and the recently released Textures de Pedra (€25, around 6,300 bottles) which is described as a blanc de noirs, but is a blend of white (Xarel.lo, Parellada) and red grapes (Xarel.lo Vermell, Sumoll and the indigenous Bastard Negre which had been previously misidentified as Monastrell). A serious and mineral wine, Textures de Pedra comes from the highest plot in the estate with distinctive stony soils.
Manuel Raventós Negra (€70 in Spain, 4,000 bottles) is made with Xarel.lo (around 70%) plus variable quantities of Macabeo and Parellada and it is aged for at least six years. Over the past few years some older vintages have been released under the label Manuel Raventós Enoteca with prices soaring above €150.
The latest release is Mas del Serral (around €100 in Spain), Pepe Raventós’s most ambitious sparkling wine so far and the one that reflects his own learning experience. Grapes are sourced from Clos del Serral, a north-facing vineyard surrounded by a forest where grapes tend to ripen two weeks later. Planted in the 1950s with Xarel.lo and Bastard Negre (Graciano), the wine is all about tension. Despite being aged for 100 months, there are no oxidative notes; instead, it still feels young. The first 2007 vintage offers great cellaring potential.
As the brand Raventós i Blanc is now exclusively for sparkling wines, the still wine business has been reinforced with the purchase of a property in La Juncosa del Montmell (Baix Penedès), whose highest elevation reaches 600 metres. These low-intervention wines are called Can Sumoi, the name of the 400-hectare property, mostly covered by forest and with 20 hectares under vine.
Pepe also markets a new range of natural wines with no additives and sulphur added. Called Naturals Pepe Raventós, he makes them in the garage of his house. Grapes are sourced from vineyards planted around the family house, all of which are small plots of vines older than 40 years. Production ranges from a few hundred bottles to just over 2,000.
Three wines have been released so far: Vinya del Mas is a pet-nat Xarel.lo sourced from a small plot just outside the kitchen; the white Vinya del Noguer is also a 100% Xarel.lo from a vineyard planted next to the garden; and finally Bastard Negre (the local name for Graciano) is sourced from El Serral, a terraced vineyard to the west.