Llopart Sparkles!


When I first wrote about this winery, nearly four years ago, I titled it Cavas Llopart. My guess is that many readers will know why I give it a different title for this later article – yes, Llopart is one of the wineries which last year left DO Cava, to join the new enterprise, Corpinnat.

You’ll also know that I’ve written about the why and wherefore of the parting of the ways of another eight prestigious bodegas, so I don’t intend to do similarly here. Instead, I’m going to write about another of the impressive wineries to sign up for the Corpinnat logo. My first experience of Llopart in 2016 was a very positive one, so I was certain that when I was sent, before Christmas, a sample of their fizz, now termed simply ‘Spanish Sparkling Wine’, I wasn’t going to be disappointed.

Two reasons – it’s the same winery, making excellent products; plus it has passed all the stringent quality control tests set by the Corpinnat company. Easy!

Grapes have been grown on Llopart land since at least 1385 – a document has been discovered which proves this, but it wasn’t until 1857 that the Llopart family wine business actually started. Llopart was one of the first to produce Cava in the area and the 4th and 5th generation of the family are doing the same today, albeit by another name!

Llopart sparkling wines are very well known in the area of Cataluña but, as production is limited from this relatively small winery, they are not so well known in the rest of Spain, or indeed in the world. Only 15% of their production is exported, most of the rest is sold in Cataluña, often to the discerning restaurant trade. However, the quality of their products is such that they should be extremely well known – it’s outstanding fizz!

As part of my mission to find out more about Corpinnat and their portfolio of wineries and, of course, their products, I asked if any of the members would be prepared to send me a sample, so I could taste and write about it for readers. You’ve already read of others, so here is my opinion of Llopart’s offering.

Firstly – they didn’t mess about, wading in with a biggie, and without any fuss. Llopart Leopardi Brut Nature is one of their flagship sparklers. Like their whole range, it’s a limited production wine – there simply aren’t enough of the old vines that give of their best for this splendid fizz!

The Corpinnat group prefer to talk of their bare minimum ageing time of 18 months (twice as long as that of Cava, incidentally); and then of their sparkling wines of a minimum of 30 months; and then of 60 months plus! In ‘old money’, i.e. according to Cava rules, a Reserva must have had a minimum of 15 months ‘en rima’, ageing, and for Gran Reserva that is extended to 30, minimum.

In fact Lleopardi exceeds that minimum by another 18 months, meaning that this fine wine has been ageing in the caves beneath the winery for a minimum of four years! Effectively it’s therefore, to coin a phrase, Gran Gran Reserva! However, like all of the best fizzes, it retains that freshness and vitality of youth, despite its great age.

Made with 40% each of Macabeo and Xarel.lo, with a further 10% each of Parellada and Chardonnay, the wine enjoys the benefits that each variety brings to the blend. There’s a racing acidity, provided by the fresh green apple notes of the Macabeo; the Xarel.lo and Chardonnay combined give body and depth to the wine, a flavoursome fullness; and the Parellada adds, for me at least, some of the ripe pear notes that are often a part of Spanish sparkling wine character, with elegance and an understated floral note too.

The colour is a pale gold and the bubbles are fine, rising quickly to the top of the glass, breaking the surface just where your nose is waiting to take in the aromas of the above and, of course, the mature aromas associated with its age. I would simply love to enjoy this Llopart sparkling wine with oysters, with the salty spray of the seafood being calmed by the volume and complexity of the wine. Lovely, and no surprise!

Well done Llopart, please keep up the good work!

NB My next radio programme is Tuesday 4th Feb, 5pm – 6pm, talking Wines for Valentine’s! www.valleyfm.es

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