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Josep Baujan of Freixenet on Cava

This show was published 05 December 2008


Josep Baujan is technical director of Freixenet the world-leading Cava and sparkling wine producer. We talk to Josep about the history of Cava and the different styles produced.

Freixenet is a family company established at the beginning of 20th century. 4 brothers are on the executive council and their sons are directors of the company.

In last 20 years they have become a world leader in sparkling wine made to the Champagne method and are the largest producer of Cava. The group also has 19 cellars/wineries in different appellations in Spain and produces still wine as well as sparkling. The company also produces sparkling wine under different brand names in Mexico, California, Argentina and Australia.

The industry changed in the 80's when Spain entered the European Commission. They had to change the name from 'Methode Champenoise' sparkling wine and began to use the name 'Cava'. Cava was granted DO status, not only in Penedes (where 90% of Cava is made) but in other regions in Spain that were also producing sparkling wine to the champagne method. Cava (cellar) is the place where the bottles are kept but now Cava is also a DO, a region.

Freixenet use three principal grapes - Macabeo, Xarel Lo and Paradella. Macabeo gives acidity. Xarelo Lo gives good structure and body to the blend. Paradella brings the finesse, aromas and elegance.

There are 3 styles based on the age of the wine - normal Cava, Reserva and Gran Reserva. The weather is very stable in Penedes so no need to go down the route of vintage cava. Cava aged for 9-15 months will be normal. More than 15 months is a Reserva and more than 30 months of ageing a Gran Reserva. So the base wines are of higher quality in the Gran Reserva to stand up to the ageing process.
The evolution of the wine in the bottle is faster with Cava than in Champagne. 35 months is about the optimal age for a blend of Macabeo and Xarel Lo.


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