Pepe Raventós "Isabel Negra" 2016

Sumoll Blend|Catalunya, Spain

This is a rare, limited release from the Raventós i Blanc estate in Penedès, Catalunya founded in 1497 – yes, the family has been making wine for over 500 unbroken years! Their sparkling wines are nothing short of epic. They chose to leave the "Cava" designation and make sparkling wines in their own style; their older single-vineyard bubbles can go for $175+ and are moving examples of their answer to fine Champagne.

This tribute to his grandmother "Isabel Negra" red is a blend of native Catalan varieties of 50% Sumoll, 30% Garnatxa Negra (Grenache) & 20% Carinyena (Carignan). Sumoll, the primary grape, is an almost-extinct native Catalan variety. I've only encountered one other Sumoll blend in my entire career.

It's naturally high acidity stands out; it's high-toned, spice-and-cherry inflected, and refreshingly brisk. Distinct black cherry cola, candied violets, lavender, licorice, and sour cherry candy round out this perfume-laden natural red.

They are 100% all-in on "back to the land" farming and winemaking: the vines are naturally head-trained, very old, horse-plowed, and biodynamic – all chemical-and-additive free. Amphora (big clay vessels) were used to ferment this with natural yeasts, and aged in big barrels for eight months before bottling.

Put a slight chill on it and enjoy it with like you would an old world Pinot Noir – roasted duck breast with cherries comes to mind.

Only a lucky few nationwide get access to this wine – stock up on this unique natural red at the lowest price in the country. Cheers!

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