This has some weight for a bubbly, but with the dry farmed Macabeo providing plenty of balancing acidity, it is still quite fresh. On the nose, biscuit, almond, lemon zest, brioche and green apple. On the palate, the creamy mousse and gentle fizz has the lemon and green apple replaying, but there is more of a yeasty leesy character. Dry, but not austere, the finish is long and citrus-driven. This would be a beautiful sparkler to enjoy with grilled shrimp taco or sipped for celebration.
Macabeo is found mainly in the Central Penedès and is the grape which contributes a fruity aroma and lively acidity to these blends, being particularly suited to sparkling wines. Chardonnay is the world’s most famous white-wine grape and also one of the most widely planted, with the most highly regarded expressions of the variety coming from Burgundy and from Champagne, for sparkling wines.
Utiel-Requena is a Spanish Denominación de Origen Protegida for wines located in the province of Valencia. It takes its name from the two neighbouring towns of Utiel and Requena and is renowned for the predominant use of the Bobal grape variety. Although these wines are moderately contemporary, the region is anything but. Traces of Phoenician amphorae suggest viticulture and wine production here date at least as far back as the 7th century BC.
Chozas Carrascal has been daring in its viticulture approach, planting its vines at a density of 1,335/acre (3,300/ha), far denser than any vineyards nearby. This forces vines to compete for water and nutrients and drives yields down. The vineyards grow on a slight slope. Sunlight, cool coastal breezes and loamy, chalky soil all contribute to the quality of the wines produced. The La Real plot has an East-west layout, with dense plantings to encourage vine stress.
Both varieties are macerated with some skin contact separately, before a long cool fermentation in stainless steel. The wine remains in tank for 3-4 months, aging on the lees. The tirage is made in January . The disgorgement is done after 12 months of bottle aging in the underground cava by adding organic natural sugar for 10 g/l of total sugars, resulting in a brut cava.
In 1990, husband and wife team Julin López and María José Peidro purchased an established vineyard in the Requena-Utiel region of Valencia in south-eastern Spain. Shortly thereafter, when their extensive studies identified that their terroir was similar to that of many of the French vineyards they frequently visited as a family, they planted several international grape varieties. Today, the Chozas Carrascal vineyard is comprised of 14 plots sitting at 750-840m above sea-level on a thick slab of limestone-based subsoil, distinctive within the region. Their climate is significantly more continental than the rest of the D.O.P., with hot, dry summer days and cool, fresh nights. The winery’s uniqueness was recognized in 2012 when it was awarded ‘Vino de Pago’ status, meaning the winery is its own D.O., separate, distinct and at the top of the Spanish wine hierarchy. To date, there are 20 Vino de Pago properties in the country, each one representing a singular identity that combines the best of tradition and modernity. The 30-hectare vineyard at Chozas Carrascal is planted with 12 grape varieties split between local, indigenous grapes—Bobal, Monastrell, Garnacha, Tempranillo and Macabeo—and widely-recognized French examples: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc. These vineyards are farmed and certified organic and the wines exhibit elegant structure, intense, complex character and, most importantly, delicious drinkability.