Cannals Y Munné Fine Fizz & Wine!



There are couple of puns in the title and I’ve plagiarised my own work from a few years ago –  but hey, I’ll make it easy for you. Complex wines are OK, in fact they are to be relished, but complexity in Cork Talk, when you are just settling down to a good read with a nice cup of coffee? Well, you can do without a puzzle, I guess!


Five generations ago the family Canals Munné (which remains in control to this day) planted their first vineyards in Can Canals – the vines took root, and so did the legend! They make excellent Cava – really top drawer; plus they also make very good still wines. Hence the play on words above. OK, furrowed brows now relaxed and ready to read on? Then I’ll begin!


One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that, in most cases, Spanish wineries are not slow to take up new ideas. There are exceptions, of course, but generally, whilst keeping in touch with tradition, they are also keen to move forward. The Spanish wine scene is thus refreshingly dynamic.


I’m writing this a few weeks before I make my biennial pilgrimage to Alimentaria, the huge wine and food fair in Barcelona, where I just know I will see changes from two years ago – in terms of emphasis, technology, wine-making innovation and, bottle and label design.


The latter, is particularly relevant here. My old friend Albert Carcereny from Bodegas Canals & Munné has kept me informed over the years of any news relating to the bodega and his recent communication about the label change caught my eye. It’s typical of this winery to keep on the move, eschewing the thought of resting on one’s capacious laurels.


Their design team has decided that the bodega needs a new image, label-wise, to keep them at the cutting edge of a very competitive market. And to prepare consumers, so there can be no doubt about whose wines they are buying, they thought it best to send the information to the press to help diffuse the news.


I hope the change didn’t cost them the vast amount of money that Gonzalez y Byass spent on their Tio Pepe Fino Sherry bottle change a few years ago – a staggering amount that will take years to recoup in sales terms! However, thinking about it now, I actually can’t remember what the old style Tio Pepe bottles looked like – so, in the long run I guess it was worth (will be?) worthy it!


The new labels on the Canals & Munné range are simple, minimalist, modern – and effective. They are now firmly implanted in my brain and I’ll look out for them, which is no doubt the desired effect!


But what of the wine? Well, I had  no concerns there – I’ve never tasted a poor Canals & Munné wine, and I didn’t expect to here. I wasn’t disappointed.


It so happened that the lovely Claire and I were in a celebratory mood recently – I’m not sure why, perhaps because it was a Friday?! I opened my Cave Vinum and Canals & Munné’s Insuperable Brut Cava, almost leapt out! It was a clear sign!


Made with the traditional and classic Cava blend, Macabeo, Xarel.lo and Parellada  – this time, 40%, 30% and 30% respectively, there is an elegance about the wine too. It’s had 25 months en rima (resting upside-down on its lees) in the cellar, making it a Reserva (in fact it’s had 10 months longer than the minimum time in order for a cava to be proclaimed a Reserva) and this shows in its mouth-feel.


It retains that celebratory note that we all love in sparkling wines, but it’s not at all shallow, as are so many of the cheap cavas. It’s the extra time en rima that has achieved this, of course, but also the blend. Macabeo gives us that wonderful apple vibrant acidity that keeps cava fresh, but it’s the body of the Xarel.lo and the finesse of the Parellada that make a major contribution to this cava!


Please also note that the important date of disgorgement is also printed on the back label!


I once called Xarel.lo ‘the new Chardonnay’. It doesn’t have the same taste and aroma profile as the ubiquitous friend but it does have the same knack of being full in flavour and the ability to add significantly to blends as well as being content to be on its own. Plus it’s perfectly happy with oak, from largish doses to ‘ the semi-crianza roble’ style.


Gran Blanc Prínceps Xarel.lo FB 2015 has had just three months in barrel following its fermentation in same. At this moment, it is I believe, slightly unbalanced in that it hasn’t yet had time to settle into the super whole that it will no doubt become. I’ve tasted this wine before, but in different vintages and when it has had over 6 months in bottle. It’s one of those wines that defies the general rule that Spanish whites should be enjoyed when young.


I’m  not sure of its price, but if you can – buy it now and wait until Christmas! Served with turkey, and chicken, it will, by then, be really good. It will also suit rice dishes, paella of course, but also risotto, and for these I thin k you’ll be able to enjoy the wine a little earlier – the start of summer and throughout Autumn too!


I have a glass of the Blanc Prínceps Blanc de Blanc Muscat right now! The raison and grape aromas are swirling around my laptop, making me stop writing and reach for the glass too often! It’s a lovely wine made from Moscatel, with floral notes on the nose as well as the fruit, which goes onto the palate and leaves a really lovely taste as you swallow.


It may shock, but try this wine with Indian cuisine – it’s a super match that we enjoyed last night!


So, that’s three from Canals Munné, and there are a whole lot more! Look for the new label and buy with confidence!


NB my next Fine Wine & Gourmet Dine Programme on Total FM 91:8 and is on Sunday 3rd April from 7pm – 8pm Spain time. I’ll be tasting 3(!) wines from Bodegas Castaño, DOP Yecla on-air and  talking about the wines, pairing them with food, the Bodegas Castaño wine tourism etc. Comments and questions will be welcome and texts to 629 388 159!


You can also join Colin’s 1,060 followers on Twitter as well as connecting with him via Facebook (Colin Harkness) – to hear all the news about the Spanish Wine Scene!

Canals & Munné Cavas & Wines!



Probably most readers will have heard of the excellent, at time sensational, Cavas crafted by Canals & Munné in the Alt Penedés area of Cataluña. I believe it was my visit to Barcelona’s huge biennial wine and food fair, Alimentaria, perhaps 16 years ago, when I fiRst tasted their excellent sparkling wines. I was, and I remain, very impressed.


However the title of this article alludes also to a fairly well-kept secret – Canals & Munné make top quality still wines as well.


Five generations ago the family (which remains in control to this day) planted their first vineyards in Can Canals – the vines took root, and so did the legend. Year on year the winery has been producing first class cavas, originally using a combination of traditional varieties – Macabeo, Parelleda and Xarel.lo; and then introducing the Champagne varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.


There’s a very impressive portfolio of cavas, from an entry level price of just under 10€ right up to their top Gran Reserva Gran Duc, whose superb quality and delightful tear-drop shaped bottle suggests a price tag in excess of it’s actual cost – just over 25€. Over the years I’ve tasted most of the fizz and loved them, so I didn’t think twice about the offer of a sample of their Gran Reserva 2010 recently, and when it came, as it did, with several of their still wines, well – it would have been churlish to refuse!


The Gran Reserva 2010 is made with 40% Macabeo, 30% Chardonnay and 30% Parellada. It has clearly benefited from its four years in bottle resting on its lees as the depth of flavour is phenomenal. There are some cavas of this sort of age that have become a little tired, with an off-putting musty granny’s attic aroma. Canals & Munné’s Gran Reserva is the antithesis of this sort of cava. It’s as fresh as if it were years younger, so therefore superb for celebrations and of course aperitifs.


However the time in bottle with its lees, plus the addition of a sizeable proportion of Chardonnay, which was clearly harvested at optimum ripeness, have added an enviable depth and complexity. The wine has typical aromas of sparkling wine, patisserie notes, fresh bread and, from the Macabeo, some reference to an unsweetened apple pastry with a lick of dry cider too. The Chardonnay then comes to the fore, with a buttery, slightly smoky, faintly vanilla aroma and flavour.


A long, long finish just adds to the finished product and makes it a wine to enjoy with food too – a smoked salmon fillet, for example, would really be excellent with this sparkler.


Canals & Munne’s Vi Blanc Princeps is an organic white wine made from Xarel.lo, Chardonnay and Sauvignon – an eclectic mix which makes the wine hugely aromatic with gooseberry, citrus, white flowers, blanched almonds and a touch of under-ripe pineapple, whose job it is to remind us that this is a dry wine. Perfect with salads, fish and shell-fish of course, but also with light meats that have a citric element too.


Blanc Princeps Blanc de Blanc Seco Muscat is a wine style that, although fairly novel in the Cataluña area, is quite prevalent in the Valencia region. Moscatel, which we all know makes super rich, sultana/grape fragranced dessert wines has a clone, Moscat de Frontignan, which lends itself more to dry wine styles, yet with the same aroma.


This wine is a must to try with SE Asian Cuisine as well as Indian/Pakistani/Nepali dishes. It’s pleasant, pungent aromas will rise above those of the dish and it’s fruit content will mix perfectly with any sweetness found in the cuisine and it will slightly tame the chilli-hot nature of such wonderful food.


Rosé Princeps is new to the fold. Made with Merlot, the maceration was long enough for considerable colour to be extracted, along with flavour and some tannin. The result is a rosé wine with attitude! Yes it wants to be delicately perfumed, with raspberries and strawberries noted, but it also wants to have little of the Merlot’s cherry and plum depth of flavour too. Try it with pink fish and pork dishes!


My favourite of the still wines (though it was very close, with both this wine and the final one, achieving the same scores) was their Gran Blanc Princeps Xarel.lo Fermentado en Barrica 2013.


I like to think that Xarel.lo is the Chardonnay of Cataluña. Xarel.lo is everyone’s friend – it can be fresh and fruity, more citrus than Chardonnay-esque exotic, with white floral and nutty notes too, plus it can take on very different flavours and aromas when oak is used in its elaboration, as with this wine. Either way, you’ll have a wine that is aromatic, quite deeply, to deeply flavoured, rounded and rich, with elegance too.


It’s the depth of flavour and the elegance of this FB wine that I find most enchanting – a style that I can just go on drinking until the bottle is finished! I urge you to try it!


The final wine was Noir Princeps 2008, a red crianza wine which again scored well in my notes. It’s rich in fruit with a slight, endearing bronzed, medium toasted wood aroma. The Cabernet Sauvignon which has been grown at mid-altitude, along with Tempranillo and Merlot, has obviously ripened well under the Spanish sun. Here you get the blackcurrant fruit with sturdiness, but nothing harsh. Dark fruits like damson and blackberry play supporting roles and its six months in oak add a lovely liquorice note with faint whispers of vanilla and a little cinnamon.


So, when thinking Cava, think also still wines from Canals & Munné – you won’t be disappointed, and your wallet won’t feel much lighter either!


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