Passionate about Cava
The family Huguet produces first and foremost Cava. They are very passionate about Cava. Winemaker Joan Huguet believes in terroir, diversity and history. A history shaped by a lifetime of being immersed in the craft of making the best Cava possible.
There must be in everyone a love for Cava, Spain’s sparkling wine. There is a uniqueness to a well made Cava in the traditional method known locally as Methode Champenoise. For starters, in the so-called classical blend Macabeo adds delicate aromas, Xarel-lo adds a balanced acidity and aromatic structure, while Parellada, well, adds even more freshness and floral aromas. Winejus tasted Cava Huguet Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2009 with as star grape the Parellada.
Catalunya is Cava country
Although there are 7 regions in Spain where Cava is made, Catalunya and especially Penedès south of Barcelona is renowned worldwide for its Cava. About 85% to 95% of the Cava production comes from Penedès. Do note that many other areas in Spain make great sparkling wine, yet they are not produced under the Cava label because the producers don’t want to be bound by the rules of the Consejo Regulador DO Cava. The heartland of Penedès Cava is the area around Sant Sadurní d’Anoia.
There are two leagues of Cava
When I visited the Penedès one producer told me: “There are two leagues of Cava. Either the very good to the excellent quality or poor quality produced from a simply blended wine sourced from any number of vineyards.” One of the excellent Cavas producers out there is Cava Huguet Can Feixes.
Cava Huguet born in the heart of the Penedès
Cava Huguet – Can Feixes is one of the 9 members of Corpinnat, which means ‘born in the heart of the Penedès’. Corpinnat was created in 2017 to promote Cavas produced from specific terroirs within the historic winegrowing area of the Penedès. They work with respect for the (mainly) autochthonous varieties within the geography, climate, geology and history of each terroir. However, the Corpinnat label is about much more than just terroir.
Corpinnat values terroir and quality
Their Cavas are made from 100% organic grapes, at least 75% must be estate grown or come from the Corpinnat designated vineyard area. The grapes are harvested by hand and entirely vinified on the premises of the winery. Corpinnat’s commitment to quality shows as well in the bottle ageing time of Cava, which is always longer than 18 months. Sometimes even more than 30 or more than 60 months. Cava DO starts only at a minimum of 9 months.
The passion of the family Huguet for Cava
Bodegas Can Feixes is located near the village of Cabrera d’Anoia and has been the domain of the Feixes family since the 14th-century. Can Feixes has constantly produced wine since 1690. Unfortunately, the Feixes family died out in 1904, and the Huguet family, originally from Piera, acquired the property in 1945. The current Huguet generation, the three brothers José-Maria, Joan and Xavier, run Can Feixas with enormous passion.
The principles of sustainable agriculture and organic farming reign at Can Feixes
The Huguet family devotes specific high parcels to the production of their world-class sparkling wine. The altitude of the vineyards on the slopes of the northernmost part of the Penedès mountains (400 meters, or even higher), in combination with the calcareous soils and the sea winds, ensure the good ripening of the grapes. Can Feixas works according to the principles of sustainable agriculture and organic farming using many traditional techniques but also new oenological technologies.
The Parellada variety performs exceptional here
We tasted the Huguet Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2009, their long-ageing cava. A blend 56% of the Parellada variety, locally known as ‘Montonec’ or the grape of the mountain, and 23% Macabeo, with a significant 21% of Pinot Noir. All grown exclusively at the Can Feixes Estate. Winery Can Feixas doesn’t buy grapes from other growers. The cavas have aged more than the Gran Reserva minimum of 30 months. In this case, 7-year ‘sur lattes’. Are hand-riddled and disgorged on order. Preferably open the bottle up to 2 years after the date of disgorgement as indicated on the back label.
The best grapes are kept for production under the Huguet Can Feixes label
Only free-run must from rigorously selected grapes is used for this Cava, with a strong influence of the grape Parellada. There is zero sugar in this wine. We have the correct acidity, explains Joan Huguet, we don’t need sugar to balance the wine. The fresh malic acid is enough. We don’t do malolactic fermentation.
On the nose the first impression of citrus freshness, then the mature notes of yeast, brioche, nuts, spices and some smokiness set in. A mineral palate with very ripe, almost confected, fruits and ginger complexity and a fresh long finish make the Huguet Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2009 a complex cava, within a marvellous subtlety.