As children we all loved a good fairy tale. The story of young forbidden love kept apart by some evil adult. Or stories of adventure where a group of companions face unforeseeable odds only to grow in self-confidence and friendship. These stories are timeless and follow us into our adulthood. The story of Anna de Codorníu is a fairy tale in its own right. The story begins in 1551 Spain where a young man named Jaume Codorníu mentions in his will the importance of his vineyard equipment and the joy he received from making wine. Then in 1659, a young heiress to the property of Codorníu Cava, named Anna, married a winegrower named Miquel Raventós and a family winery tradition was born. In 1885 the grandson of Anna and Miquel took over the family winery altering the direction of the family wine business to the exclusive production of Cava. That change in focus lead to an increase in production resulting in a beautiful new winery that took 20 years to complete, in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, ultimately being known as the Cathedral of Cava. Join me as we see where the fairy tale goes…
Anna de Codorníu is Spain’s oldest and largest Cava producer. When I read that Winestudio was going to feature Anna de Codorníu I signed up immediately. Anna produces excellent Cava so if you like bubbles you will like Anna! Additionally, Anna has other winery holding making this family business a true global business. Read my article “Celebrating the Exploration of Cava with Anna de Codorníu” to learn more about Anna’s Cavas and the methode traditionelle in which they are produced.
Protocol Winestudio introduces us to Codorníu: The Codorníu winery dates back to 16th century and has become recognized for producing some of Spain’s finest wines. In 1659 Anna, the heiress of Codorníu, married winemaker Miquel Raventós, but she maintained her surname and became the matriarch of Codorníu. In 1872, Josep Raventós focused on sparkling wine produced naturally, using méthode traditionelle, and thus began the history of Cava. Codorníu owns sizable vineyard properties that allow the brand to control the quality and consistency of grapes. Codorníu vineyards are meticulously cared for through sustainable viticultural practices, and the winery harvests grapes in the “chateau” concept, ensuring fruit will be pressed immediately upon picking.
“What is #WineStudio? PROTOCOL Wine Studio presents an online twitter-based educational program where we engage our brains and palates! It’s part instruction and tasting, with discussions on producers, varieties, tourism, terroir, regional culture, food matching and what all this means to us as imbibers.”
Week 1: Codorníu Overview – We spent our first week getting to know Anna de Cordorniu. Cordorniu was founded in Spain in 1551. In 1872, Cordorniu was the first to produce sparkling wine in the traditional method used to produce Champagne. This innovative sparkling wine became known as Cava. That same innovative spirit lead Cordorniu to lobby DO Cava to allow the use of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Leading to Cordoniu to be the first to incorporate Chardonnay into a sparkling wine! Although the name Cordorniu is synonymous with high quality Cava there is more to Cordorniu. They are not just in Spain, in fact they are comprised of 7 wineries from around the globe; we will discover 2 in the following weeks. Another fascinating Codorniu fact: their wine cellars are a National Historic Artistic Monument exemplifying the importance of Catalan modernism. Cordorniu began and remains a family operation filled with tradition, innovation and Spanish pride. Cordorniu is located in the Penedes region of Catalonia and is the most popular Cava brand in Spain.
Week 2: Anna de Codorniu Tasting – Our second week was filled with bubbles as we all enjoyed a sample of Anna de Codorniu Brut NV. I was sent a sample of this wine over the summer and I can tell you it is awesome! I was thrilled to enjoy Anna’s Brut again, and on a Tuesday! Anna debuted this wine in 1984 as their first Cava to incorporate Chardonnay. Anna lauched this design 2 years ago in the US, seeking a chic, stylish feel to their bottles. Demand for Codorniu is high in the US, thus distribution continually increases year and year.
Anna de Codorníu Brut NV: This wine was produced in the D.O. Cava region of Penedès and was crafted from 70% Chardonnay and 30% Parellada. This wine poured a soft gold into the glass and opened with soft aromas of citrus, tropical fruit, and orchard fruit with buttered toast and a touch of baking spices. On the palate this lovely Cava delivered dazzling flavors of grapefruit, Granny Smith apples, lime zest and brioche. It offered a nice complexity, round acidity and clean finish with a smooth mouth-feel. SRP $14.99. Pair it with food or sip it by itself, either way you will love this sparkling wine! A perfect pairing is spicy Buffalo wings so grab a bottle and some wings and pair it with football!This well priced Cava is well distributed in the US and perfect for all your holiday meal plans.
Week 3: Bodegas Bilbaínas (Viña Zaco) Tasting – Bodegas Bilbaínas claims to be the “other side” of Rioja. They are one of the oldest (founded in 1859) and largest wine estates in Rioja Alta. However, not wanting to get bogged down with tradition, Bodegas Bilbaínas are constantly renewing themselves. If their web site is any indication then I must agree. I encourage you to visit the Bodegas Bilbaínas Viña Zaco web site, it is innovative, alluring and sexy with a great beat! Viña Zaco represents Bodegas Bilbaínas new generation of Tempranillos; modern and distinctive, designed to “trample convention, arouse the senses and bewitch the palate.” Viña Zaco was crafted by winemaker Diego Pinilla with a single guiding principle: “a quest for the ultimate freshest and fruitiest from the Tempranillo vine.” An open mind and an innovative spirit paved the way to this unique Tempranillo, “individual to the last drop.” The newer generation in Spain sees Rioja differnently; therefore, this is not your “parent’s rioja!”
Bodegas Bilbainas Viña Zaco Rioja 2012: This wine was crafted from 100% Tempranillo. It poured a deep garnet into the glass and opened with rustic aromas of red and black fruit, smoke, touch of leather, floral notes of violets and spice. On the palate this Tempranillo delivered pleasing flavors of black cherry, blackberry and plums, along with smoke, licorice and toasted walnuts. This wine is rugged yet well-structured, showing balance between the fruit and earthiness, with round acidity and integrated tannins; crafted to be enjoyed “sooner rather than later.” It is smooth and fresh, providing the best of old world, classic Rioja meets the millennials. SRP $14.99.
Week 4: Bodegas Septima Tasting – “Septima has a special history with its direct connection to the 450 year old tradition of Grupo Codorniu.” This is an interesting juxtaposition to Bodegas Bilbainas’ Viña Zaco who seeks to be modern and edgy. Bodegas Septima sees the Spanish expertise and long history provides them with a distinct perspective in Mendoza wines. Septima is its own brand and wants to stay to that brand and their position in the Mendoza wine community; however, the hold true to the land and where the brand originated. Winemaker Paula Borgo, a native of Mendoza, understands the Argentinian land and terroir. Septima’s focus is “on the best varietals from the best vineyard source” to uphold their commitment to consistency. Septima is working with their partners in both the Spain and Argentina to fine tune their portfolio and brand communication for the US market.
Septima Malbec 2014: This wine was crafted of 100% Malbec. It poured a deep ruby with purple highlights into the glass and opened with aromas of cherries, raspberries, blackberries, violets, smoke, tobacco and a touch of trailing vanilla. These aromas follow through on the palate with added black pepper, spice and a touch of toasted walnuts. It was smooth and round with pronounced acidity, chewy tannins and a lingering dry finish that leaves a slightly burnt note on the back of the palate. This wine represented Septima’s entry level Malbec, as such I found it to be enjoyable, smoother than many at this price point. SRP $13.99
What began as a simple love story, a fairy tale of a young man falls in love with an heiress, today is an global wine business. This business embraces tradition as well as modern styles to provide a wine for every age and every palate. Cheers to Anna de Codorníu!
My Song Selection: There are many famous fairy tale songs but these wines are much more than where they began. These wines are traditional yet they are wrapped in modernity, fun, lively and ready to have a good time.
Whether it be Cava, Tempranillo, Malbec or any of wines of Grupo Codorníu, get your own bottles of the wines of Anna de Codorníu and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!