The History of Cordoniu
I was lucky enough to get a chance to visit the Cordoniu winery a few weeks ago, and sitting there sipping some lovely Cordoniu brut in the rays of the Spanish sun, it was easy to overlook the many years of winemaking tradition which make the Cava what it is today.
Did you know: Cordoniu dates back to 1551!
Walking around the winery, the history of its winemaking was evident everywhere from the antique wine presses dotted around to the fabulous architecture. During our tour the history of Codorniu was relayed to us and I found it fascinating. Apparently, documents from 1551 are the first to refer to Jaume Cordoniu’s vineyards and his winemaking but it wasn’t until 1872 that the first Cava was made by Josep Raventos, making them the oldest Cava producers in Spain. Presently, they are now the second largest Cava producers in the world. The family’s success is apparent in their winery with the beautiful and large family home taking centre place overlooking the old winery. The old winery itself is also pretty impressive. Originally, the family wanted it to be designed by Gaudi, however, at this point he was inundated with work so sent along one of his protégée’s Josep Puig i Cadafalch. If you look closely you can see some of the architecture has been adorned with a mosaic designed made up of broken glass wine bottles. In 1976 the winery was declared a monument of national artistic merit by King Juan Carlos I of Spain.
The family’s lineage is expressed in its range of Cava’s which represent members of the family who were significant in helping to build the brand we are familiar with today.
Anna de Codorniu
This range is named after Anna de Codorniu, the last in the family to have the Codorniu name who went on to marry Miguel Raventos and united two important wine growing families. The Anna range has become integral to the Codorniu brand. It was launched in 1884 and it was the first Chardonnay based Cava.
Codorniu Seleccion Raventos
Named after the family, this is a Cava chosen for the own enjoyment of the Raventos family and for my enjoyment too as it is my favourite- light citrusy with a toasty hint.
Reina Maria Christina
This Blanc de Noirs Cava celebrates Queen Maria of Austria who in 1897 granted Codorniu with the title of ‘Official Provider of the House’. It pays a great homage as it is definitely the queen of the Codorniu range in my opinion being a very elegant cava. The name also indicates the family’s position as members of the high society and links with the royal family. In 1904 King Alfonso XIII visited the Codorniu winery and there was a banquet held in his honour.
We were kindly treated to a banquet of tapas and cava, in the family home when we visited. Walking through it it was hard not to notice the fabulous posters dotted around everywhere.
Manuel Raventos was described as an early visionary to the world of advertising and in 1898 organised a poster design competition.
This poster is a perfect example and also shows how originally Cordoniu was referred to as Spanish Champagne, a reflection of the traditional Champagne method used to produce it.
When Spain entered the EU in 1986 this was no longer permitted, hence the adoption of the name ‘Cava’ which descends from Catalan meaning caves or cellar. The picture below demonstrates why this term is very appropriate with Cordoniu whose underground cellars are just vast-enough that they take you around them by train!
The Codorniu winery is a must see but if you can’t then at least have a glass of their Cava. With the hot weather recently, just close your eyes, you could be in Spain…