In a Decanter masterclass first, top Cava house Recaredo demonstrated the disgorgement process to fascinated guests, and presented a line-up of seven premium wines stretching back to 1996.

Ton and Jordi Mata, the third generation of the Mata family that owns Recaredo, are cousins and look after the winemaking and disgorgement respectively.

Against the backdrop of an enlarged black-and-white photo showing their fathers as young boys in the Recaredo cellar back in 1949, they explained that the Enoteca Reserva Particular Brut Nature was first produced in 1962, to prove that it is possible to produce complex Cava capable of long ageing.

The wine is a blend of Xarello and Macabeo, and spends up to 10 years ageing on its lees before the disgorgement process, they told discovery theatre guests at the recent Decanter Spain & Portugal Fine Wine Encounter.

Whereas most sparkling wine producers freeze the sediment that has collected in the neck of the bottle before removing it, Jordi Mata prefers to carry out the process without freezing the sediment first – not only is this faster, but makes for a more sustainable winemaking process, since there is no need to use glycols (the chemical compound, mixed with water, that the bottle necks are dipped into).

Disgorging without freezing obviously requires the bottle to remain inverted until the last possible moment and requires a skilled practitioner to successfully remove the sediment without it being dispersed back into the wine.

Luckily Jordi has been disgorging for 25 years, and is a past master at the job, which involves inserting the bottle into a special machine, quickly opening it and pouring out the sediment. Speed and precision are of the essence.

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Tasting aged Cava

Four bottles of each bottle were disgorged in front of guests, a loud crack emanating from the machine on each occasion. The wines are bottled with zero dosage, Ton explaining that this ensures, for Recaredo, the most honest expression of both terroir and vintage.

The family looks for freshness, even after long ageing, and minerality, and both qualities shone through in this selection of wines, with the 1999 a particular highlight – incredibly fresh and youthful still, with delicate, minerally fruit.

Another star was the 2001 – a great vintage for Cava – which was in a fuller and more evolved style, with complexity and a persistent finish. Guests left after an invitation from Ton Mata to visit the stand downstairs for a sneak preview of a new, 100% Xarello wine that they were keeping under the table.

The full list of wines tasted:

·         Recaredo Enoteca Reserva Particular Brut Nature 2004

·         Recaredo Enoteca Reserva Particular Brut Nature 2003

·         Recaredo Enoteca Reserva Particular Brut Nature 2002

·         Recaredo Enoteca Reserva Particular Brut Nature 2001

·         Recaredo Enoteca Reserva Particular Brut Nature 2000

·         Recaredo Enoteca Reserva Particular Brut Nature 1999

·         Recaredo Enoteca Reserva Particular Brut Nature 1996

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