The Wine: Reserva Brut Nature
Agustí Torello Roca Reserva Brut Nature is a sparkling wine made according to the Champenoise Method from a blend of 50% Macabeu, 30% Xarel-lo, and 20% Parellada in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, Clàssic Penedès appellation – Catalonia, Spain.
The grapes for this wine are grown on a variety of different soil types in an effort to show an overall snapshot of Penedès terroir. The grapes are fermented in stainless steel using natural yeasts, and malolactic fermentation is blocked in an effort to preserve the natural acidity and essence of the wine. The wine then ages on the lees for a minimum of 20 months and receives zero dosage. Notes of pear, fennel, and sea salt, with linear acidity. (source: José Pastor)
The Producer: Agustí Torello Roca
There is a revolution happening in Penedès and AT Roca is at the vanguard. After decades under the control of the sprawling and dominating Cava DO, a handful of producers have defected. It started with a single winery, but slowly more and more quality sparkling wine producers are disassociating themselves from this DO that has nothing to do with a sense of place. Catalans have never been afraid of separating from the masses, and in the heart of Catalunya, AT Roca is no different.
Agustí Torello Roca and his father and aunt, Agustí Torello Sibill and Lali Torello Sibill, founded AT Roca in 2013 with a focus on vineyards and wines with a sense of place. The name Agustí Torello is well-known and established in Penedès, having produced quality Cava for three generations under the label Agustí Torello Mata, named after the grandfather of the family. One of the first priorities for AT Roca was to join DO Classic Penedès, a subset of the Penedès DO that was formed in 2012. It started with just 10 members, and has been growing ever since. DO Classic Penedès is perhaps the first governing body that requires organic certification in order to be a member. In addition to the farming requirements, 15 months aging on the lees is the minimum (only 9 months is required in DO Cava), and all wines must be traditional method and vintage dated. AT Roca goes well beyond these standards by only using indigenous yeasts and harvesting 100% of their grapes by hand (most grapes in Cava and Classic Penedès are harvested by machine). For their single vineyard wines, they ferment in used barrels and age the wines on the lees under natural cork instead of crown caps, both of which are rarities in the region. Sulfur is only used once to block malolactic as an effort to retain the natural acidity of the grapes. All of their sparkling wines are zero dosage.
The Region: Penedès
Penedès is a sub-region located west of Barcelona, in Catalunya, Spain. Penedès is Catalunya’s most important wine district and carries the status of DO, Denominación de Origen. The region is famous worldwide for its main product: the excellent Cava sparkling wine – made with the Champenoise method.
The Terroir of Penedès
Penedès has a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers. The three subregions in which it can be divided, Baix Penedès, Medio Penedès, and Alt Penedès – respectively low, middle, high Penedès, - have slightly different climates due primarily to altitude and distance from the coast. Soils range from calcareous, the prevalent formation, to sandy and clayey.
The Red Wines of Penedès
Red wines are usually blends of native varietals such as Tempranillo, Penedès main red grape varietal, Garnacha (Garnatxa), Monastrell, and Carinena. In recent years, a handful of producers have been experimenting with international varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with good results.
The White Wines of Penedès
White still wines, in other words, non-Cava white wines, are made from the same native varietals used for Catalunya’s flagship sparkler, Xarel-lo, Macabeo, and Parellada. Only recently Chardonnay has been used both in Cava blends and as a still wine, a trend that’s gaining popularity.