Raventòs i Blanc ‘De La Finca’ 2016, Spain

60% Xarel-lo , 30% Macabeo, 10% Parellada from some of the oldest vines at the estate. This is in a stunning place at the moment, beautifully fresh with grapefruit and lemon verbena, flecked with herbs and anise, lightly enriched with floral honey. Such clarity and refinement, with a succulent core of orange cream and citrus despite the addictive crispness. Superb 17

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/ Other, Raventós i Blanc, Spain

Vilarnau Reserva Brut ‘Organic’, Spain

Cava. 50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada, 15% Xarel-lo. 15 months on lees.

Tasted blind it was clear some ‘flab’ was on show, and that there wasn’t much Xarel-lo focus here. A bit fatty and soapy, with dosage bumping up against phenolics and nothing adding up to much refreshment unfortunately. 14.5

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/ Other, Spain, vilarnau

Torelló Brut Special Edition 2015, Spain

Corpinnat. 49% Macabeo, 39% Xarel-lo, 16% Parellada. A reasonable amount of age behind this for the price. Disgorged October 2020.

Lemon pith, green apple and green herbs, straight up the middle in style without great complexity but a pleasing line and length. It suffers slightly from the wishy-washiness of some Macabeo-dominant wines, but stays focused enough. This is a great example of a wine that benefits from a really recent disgorgement. 15

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/ Other, Spain, torello

Vardon Kennett Esplendor 2013, Spain

55% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, 5% Xarel-lo. Full malo, a small (unspecified) amount of oak.

The Torres family’s sparkling wine. Quite a gaudy clam-shell style bottle. After much fanfare this seems to have gone somewhat quiet, with no new releases in almost three years! Not sure why as it is well done, although I wouldn’t place it in Penedès blind. Refined with some apple macaroon, blossom with ripe orange fruits and some classical praline richness in there from time on lees (and on cork). A suave, slightly reductive frame. Maybe a bit more Xarel-lo would make this more distinctive? 16.5

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/ Other, Spain, vardon kennet

Castellroig Reserva Brut Nature 2017, Spain

Corpinnat. Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel-lo, Chardonnay. Blend unknown. Stainless steel.

Clearly good materials and excellent winemaking! Jasmine, bergamot, a nice aromatic brightness with some orange citrus and rosemary. Some reductive control and finesse of texture. Well tucked-in phenolics. They have really worked hard to preserve freshness and elegance, and it shows. 16.5

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/ castellroig, Other, Spain

Recaredo Terrers Brut Nature 2017, Spain

Corpinnat. 57% Xarel-lo, 37% Parellada, 6% Macabeo.

I think this is the best bottle of this wine I’ve had yet. Some have been a little dried-out and dominated by oxidative notes, but this is in a good spot. Freshness of orange citrus and slightly wild green pear, with rosemary and mild fino sherry notes. It’s a dangerous game with these, but Recaredo play and win with clarity and brightness on the inside, and a sense of fruit sweetness to carry all that character. Impressed on day two as well. 16.5

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/ Other, Recaredo, Spain

Segura Viudas Torre Galimany Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2015, Spain

Cava D.O. A showcase for Xarel-lo aged in oak, with a small addition of Macabeo and Parellada.

You might think that oak, zero dosage and Xarel-lo would lead to something a bit brawny, but this was a lovely surprise. Refined, and carefully handled. An inviting orange blossom/peachy top note draws you in to lemon verbena, candied grapefruit and rosemary honey. It is intense with herbal notes, but not hard or too pithy. Just a little spicy creaminess on the palate takes you to oak. Great on day two – the sure sign of a good wine. 17

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/ Other, segura viudas, Spain

Raventós i Blanc De Nit 2017, Spain

5% Monastrell gives this unique wine a lovely peachy hue. Xarel-lo, Parellada and Macabeo in an unspecified blend. Delicate, charming and, unlike the vast majority of Spanish sparkling rosés, boasting clarity of texture and a buzzy, relentless energy. Juicy clementine and grapefruit, some fuzzy white peach and delicate florals riding on chalk and a subtle injection of grippy sage/tarragon/bitter herb complexity. All kept in check with real succulence of fruit. Beautifully soft mousse.17

/ Other, Raventós i Blanc, Spain

Raventós i Blanc De la Finca 2017, Spain

Made from the oldest vines on the estate. 60% Xarel-lo, 30% Macabeo, 10% Parellada.

Under a smart layer of hazelnut and set honey is some beautifully wild ‘n wooly russet apple, reaching a little creaminess, with addictive wisps of briny, chalky flavours dancing around. The classiness of pale lemon shortbread, so bright on the palate like a shock of tight, white silk. Herbs and grippy phenolics are beautifully woven-in, and the mousse is so suave for Penedès. It keeps unfurling over hours, and days even. 17

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/ Other, Raventós i Blanc, Spain

Llopart Integral Brut Nature, Spain

Corpinnat. 40% Parellada, 30% Chardonnay, 30% Xarel-lo. Breaking the Corpinnat rules with that Chardonnay addition!?

The high percentage of Parellada is unusual, but the Chardonnay seems to pull it tight and allow some of its floaty blossom notes to do their thing. It flirts with some peardrop but gets away with it – there’s lovely squishy apricot and pineapple fruit with some more developed notes of cooked lime and demerara. Clarity and and refreshment on the palate. Totally charming stuff. 17

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/ llopart, Other, Spain
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