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Thrilling New High-altitude Biodynamic Wines from Pepe Raventós

You most likely already know Pepe Raventós as the head of Raventós i Blanc — a leading producer of Spanish sparkling wines that have become one of our most popular selections at the shop. Raventós i Blanc is one of the few producers of Spanish sparkling wine that grows, tends, and harvests their grapes from their own property, ferments and vinifies their wines, and then sells them under their label. To borrow a phrase from Champagne, one can truly consider them a Récoltant Manipulant (Grower Producer).

Can Sumoi is a new project from Pepe Raventós and Francesc Escala to create vibrant wines from the mountains of the Baix Penedès in the Catalunya region of northeastern Spain. A farm dating back to 1645, Can Sumoi is located between the towns of Sant Jaume dels Domenys and Pla de Manlleu in the limestone mountain range of Massís del Montmell, where the vineyards reach heights of 1,800 feet above sea level. The estate has close to 1,000 acres of land but only about 50 acres are still planted to vine. The remainder is a forest of holm oak and white pine. You can still see the old dry-stone walls that were built years ago to terrace the slopes for cultivation of grapevines. It is a land very much influenced by the mountains and the sea. On a clear day you can see as far as the wetlands of the Ebro Delta to the southwest and the Island of Mallorca to the southeast.


When Pepe discovered the declining property of Can Sumoi, he immediately saw its potential to expand his work with biodynamic cultivation, and natural vinification (no additives are used in the process — including sulfites), to make still wines in a way that respects the environment and expresses the place they are from. He enlisted his childhood friend, Francesc Escala, to help begin the recovery of this once proud land.

The vineyards are mainly planted with the varieties Sumoll, Parellada, and Xarel-lo, all native to the region. The vines are trained in “gobelet” style, an ancient method that involves no wires or other system of support, and results in a goblet-shaped growth that helps to shade the fruit from the sun (this style is often referred to as a bush vine). The fruit is hand-harvested, which is a necessity with vines trained in this style. Fermentation is accomplished with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel vats.

These 2018 vintage wines from Can Sumoi share a freshness that is ideal for summer drinking.

All prices based on the purchase of six or more bottles (mix and match).

~$21 Can Sumoi “Perfum” (Penedès 2018) White

True to its name, the wine exudes a heady mix of aromatics, primarily floral notes of jasmine and rose, although there is an abundance of orchard fruit as well. A sip leads with citrus that turns to soft, ripe apples on the midpalate. All that fruit rides a wave of juicy acidity all the way to the finish. The wine is a blend of 50% Moscatel, 30% Macabeo, and 20% Parellada. Although vinified completely dry, the Moscatel (Muscat) variety contributes much of its aromatic character to this wine. Bottled without additives or filtering.

~$23 Can Sumoi “La Rosa” (Penedès 2018) Rosé

Aromas of strawberries and basil waft from a glass. A sip is light and juicy on the palate and builds up to a mouthwatering climax of kiwi and redcurrant flavors. The rosé is produced from a blend of 50% Sumoll, 30% Parellada, and 20% Xarel-lo. Providing the pink is the grape Sumoll, a black-skinned variety native to the Penedès region. Sumoll goes by a number of different names in Catalan dialects, one of them being Sumoi, which possibly explains the name of the estate. Bottled without additives or filtering.

~$24 Can Sumoi “Xarel-lo” (Penedès 2018) White

Perhaps the most elegant of the 2018 Can Sumoi. Crunchy apples, herbs, and minerals greet your nose prior to a sip of rich fruit built on a solid structural foundation. Produced from 100% Xarel·lo, a grape indigenous to Penedès that most sparkling wine drinkers will recognize as the principal variety that makes up Cava. After fermentation the wine sees a twice-weekly batonnage for three months before bottling without additives or filtering.

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Posted on 2019.08.01 in Penedes, Saturday Sips, Spain DO

 

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