With 3,000 hectares of vineyards in the province of Lleida (Catalonia), Raimat is one of the largest vinegrowing estates in Europe and a subzone in itself within DO Costers del Segre. This appellation, created in 1986, was actively promoted by the Catalan producer.
Raimat is the brainchild of Manuel Raventós, a visionary who not only spread the Cava culture passed down from his father at Codorníu. Raventós also wanted to have a large supply of grapes and satisfy his thirst for experimentation. Thus, in 1914, he purchased a vast, arid estate in Lleida, within the area of influence of the Monegros desert. He planted trees and grain to prepare the soil, built more than 100 kilometres of irrigation channels to bring water from the Canal de Aragón, and endured several plagues... The old castle in ruins was reconstructed and a settlement with over 100 houses, including a church and a school, was built to house workers and their families.
The original winery was erected in 1918. It was designed by Joan Rubió i Bellver, a disciple of Gaudí, in the style of the "wine cathedrals" built in Catalonia during the modernist period. But he introduced an exciting innovation: this was the first building in Spain to use reinforced concrete. The new winery, erected 80 years later by architect Domingo Triay, is hidden on a hillside, fully integrated in the landscape.
In the early days, he planted traditional grape varieties (Macabeo, Xarel.lo and Parellada) to make sparkling wines, but in the 1970s international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot or Pinot Noir arrived to Raimat together with Californian wine growing techniques: trellised vineyards, green covers...
Since then, the range has broadened considerably to include relatively exotic varieties like Albariño, Mediterranean grapes like white and red Garnacha or the ubiquitous Tempranillo. Yet, Cabernet and Chardonnay continue to be among the best performers. Some of the latter grapes are destined to Ars Collecta, Codorniu’s premium cavas, including the excellent Cava de Paraje de Calificado (single-vineyard) La Pleta.
Sustainability is a cornerstone of the property. All vineyards are organically certified and active efforts are made to reduce CO2 emissions as well as to encourage renewable energies. Wine tours were recently boosted with the creation of Raimat Natura, a space covering 700+ hectares including vineyards and over 100 species of flora and wildlife, particularly birds. Visitors can walk, ride an electric bike or fly over the property in a hot air balloon. The visitors' centre has its own restaurant where the wines are also available for tasting.
Raimat produces over 20 different wines including Cava, reds, whites and rosés, all of which are organically certified. Clamor is the entry-level range and there are also various varietal wines: whites made from Garnacha Blanca, Albariño and Chardonnay and reds from Cabernet Sauvignon (the standard Raimat and El Silenci del Molí), Garnacha and Tempranillo.
Abadía, one of Raimat's most established brands, is destined to blends, but while Chardonnay and Albariño form the white version, reds and rosés combine Cabernet and Tempranillo. Vall d'Anima, whose labels are reminiscent of the tiles decorating the castle walls, has its own blends: Chardonnay and Albariño for the white, Garnacha Tinta and Pinot Noir for the rosé, and Garnacha Tinta and Cabernet for the red. At the top sits Raimat 100, a blend of Chardonnay and Xarel.lo to mark the centenary of the house.
The range of Cavas includes a Brut Nature (the driest style) produced from Chardonnay and Xarel.lo grapes, and two Reservas: La Fred de Ponent Brut is made from Xarel.lo grown in the coolest areas of the property, and El Cim del Turó Brut Nature, which blends Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The wines can be bought at the group's online store.