Codorníu, known as the Cathedral of Cava, was born in the middle of the 16th century. Jaume Codorníu, an owner of vineyards and agricultural equipment, began wine production and set the ball rolling for this prestigious winery. In 1656, Anna Codorníu, the heir of Can Codorníu, married a wine-grower named Miquel Raventós. From that day forward, the Raventós family has owned the winery, and they have chosen to keep Anna’s surname as one of their brand names.
The next milestone on the long timeline for this distinguished winery was in 1872. This was the year that Josep Raventós Fatjó succeeded, after years of experimentation and learning, in making the winery’s very first bottle of Cava. When Josep died in 1885, Codorníu was entrusted to his son, Manuel Raventós. Manuel then changed the direction of Codorníu, deciding that the winery would from now on devote itself entirely to Cava production. Manuel travelled to France to learn as much as he could about wine production, and brought the knowledge he had gained back with him to implement and further augment the quality of the excellent wines being produced by Codorníu.
It was at this time that phylloxera, an aphid that lives on and eats the roots of grape plants, had infested and absolutely ravaged the vineyards of the Penedès region of Spain. In 1885, all of the vines were dug up and replaced with rootstock from America which was immune to the infestation. Manuel then decided to build an enormous winery in the region of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia. That was the year that construction began on what would later be known as the Cathedral of Cava.
The architect entrusted with the construction and design of this new winery was Josep Puig i Cadafalch, a renowned Catalan Modernist who built many significant buildings in Barcelona, including a collaboration with Antoni Gaudí on the Café Torino. Work on the winery extended over 20 years, and the result was a remarkable work of art. The design featured numerous cathedral-like naves. The Cellar Gran, an enormous cellar with an area of 2,000 m², which acted as the old fermentation room, is surmounted by a beautiful Catalan dome and divided into three vault like naves. Today the Cellar Gran is a space used for exciting artistic and social events such as the commencement of the harvest.
Josep Puig i Cadafalch also built the Raventós family residence, known as Casa Pairal. The mansion, in markedly modernist Mediterranean style, sits amongst lush gardens and tranquil ponds. Underneath this fantastic abode are five underground levels where Cava is aged. These cellars are labyrinthine and beautiful. The tasting room’s high ceilings and the light pouring in through the enormous windows are sure to delight wine tourists. Tiled floors, exposed brick, leather seating and unique chandeliers hanging from the ceiling are just a few of the special features in this room, which is so reminiscent of a majestic cathedral.
In 1897 Her Majesty Queen Maria Cristina appointed Codorníu the “Purveyor to the Spanish Royal Family”, and from that year onwards Codorníu has created a special Reserva for the palace. In 1976 King Juan Carlos I signed a decree granting the winery the status of National Monument of Historic and Artistic Interest.
Ccdorníu have 3 Cavas amongst the 50 Great Cavas 2016 each one with a gold medal and they are as follows:
- Finca La Nansa Gran Codorniu Gran Reserva (97 pts)
- Jaume Codorniu Gran Reserva (95 pts)
- Reina Mª Cristina Blanc de Noirs (98 pts)
Registered conference delegates will have the opportunity to visit Codorníu as part of the IWINETC Conference programme starting on 4th April at 14.15. Later at 20.00 there will be a Welcome Reception from the host and Premum Sponsors followed by a tapas evening with Cavas from Codorníu (DO Cava) and wines from Raimat (DO Costers del Segre) and Scala Dei (DOQ Priorat).
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