Spain's Cava Producers Spin Off New Sparkling Wine: Corpinnat
In wine, geographical indications are king. Some of the most famous appellations are centuries old, but on the other end of the spectrum, as the wine industry continues to grow, plenty of producers are trying to carve out their own unique distinctions. Inevitably, this can cause issues with the old guard, like today, when a group of Spanish sparkling wine producers announced they are breaking from the Cava denomination of origin and instead will begin labeling their bottles as Corpinnat.
Let's start with what Corpinnat is: Not only must these sparkling wines come from a specific part of the Penedés region, they must also adhere to a strict and rather lengthy set of rules. The grapes must be organic and picked by hand. At least 75 percent of those grapes have to be produced on the winery's own vineyards and outside grapes have a set minimum purchase price. The grapes used are also restricted: The native varieties of Xarel-lo, Parellada, and Macabeo must make up 90 percent of the blend, leaving Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Trapet to make up no more than the remaining 10 percent. (Garnacha, Monastrell, Sumoll, and Xarel-lo Rosat are allowed for rosé.) Additionally, all wine must be produced at the winery and aged for a minimum of 18 months.
Originally, the hope was that the Cava DO would allow for Corpinnat as an additional label distinction, but after negotiations fell apart, nine producers jumped ship to form Corpinnat: Gramona, Recaredo, Torelló, Llopart, Nadal, Sabaté i Coca, Mas Candí, Huget-Can Feixes, and Júlia Vernet. According to Decanter, these producers only account for one percent of Cava's total output, however, they make up a far more substantial 30 percent of the more premium Gran Reserva Cava production.
Moving forward, these wineries will not be allowed to use the term Cava on their label — despite the fact that the wines were previously Cava and are being made right next door to other Cava producers. Corpinnat wines are expected to start hitting the market as soon as this spring.
Update February 13, 2018: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Macabeo grapes and Malvasia.