Located in the small village of Pira in Tarragona, this is the only private cellar in DO Conca de Barberà focused primarily on the production of Cava (85% of their total output). In fact, in the early years, Carles Andreu only made sparkling wines. Until the 1980s, the region was dominated by cooperatives that used to supply base wines to large Cava producers based in Penedès.
The winery was established in 1989 by Carles Andreu. Raised in a family with a long wine growing tradition, he had studied in Montpellier and was a member of the technical team at the local cooperative. At first, his base wines were made at the cooperative and the cavas were then aged in an old cellar.
The Andreu family grows 90 hectares of vineyards in Pira and other villages nearby, but only around 30 are destined to produce their own wines. The rest goes to Sarral, the only cooperative that has remained independent in the area according to Bernat Andreu, who has taken the baton from his father. Their oldest vineyards, aged 90 years, are planted with Trepat. This indigenous red variety displays light colour, very high acidity (comparable with white grapes) and distinctive peppery aromas.
In terms of white grapes, the subtle, vibrant Parellada benefits from a significantly cooler climate than Penedès and is the basic variety for Cava, as it accounts for around 70% of the blends. The rest is usually Macabeo, Xarel.lo and Chardonnay.
Production stands at around 140,000 bottles, 110.000 of which are Cava. The range of sparkling wines starts with three basic, affordable entry-level fizz retailing at €7-8 in Spain. It’s basically the same wine produced as Brut, Brut Nature and Semi-Sweet, although the last one is set to be turned into a dessert Cava. There is also a Reserva which will soon be a Gran Reserva, the oak-aged Reserva Barrica (€16) and two Trepat rosés, one of them also aged in barrels (€18). Grapes for the top sparkling wine, L’Era del Celdoni Gran Reserva (€29), are sourced from an old vineyard which was bought 50 years ago by Bernat’s grandfather, whose name was also Carles Andreu. A Paraje Calificado candidate (Cava’s single vineyard designation) with extended aging, it will be a 100% Parellada from the 2015 vintage onwards.
The family is determined to make the most of the new DO Cava regulations and plans to label their wines Serra de Prades, the name of the subarea they are in, turn their youngest Cavas into Reservas to benefit from the new category Cava de Guarda Superior and use the seal “Elaborador Integral” that distinguishes producers who press all their grapes. In the near future, their bottles will also be individually numbered and will feature the disgorging date. In addition, Carles Andreu will be granted the organic certification in 2021.
The range of still wines consists of a white Parellada (€10), with grapes sourced from the lower parts of L’Era del Celdoni, and three reds made from Trepat. Novell (€8, 2,400 bottles) is a vin nouveau traditionally released on November 11th on the occasion of the festivity of San Mateo; the unoaked young 12@ (Arrobas, €8) is made from Trepat and is in March. The third red is a more serious wine named Carles Andreu (€13,5). Grapes are sourced from the three oldest vineyards owned by the family and are left to ripen until they reach 13% vol. The wine is later aged in barrels for six months.
Their sales strategy is quite unique. Having welcomed visitors for over 30 years, 25% of the wine is sold at the winery door. Its large customer base, who benefit from special prices and shipping conditions, has been a blessing during the pandemic. The rest of sales are split in export markets (25%), distributors (20%) and directly handled by the family.