Grape(s): Muscat de Frontignan, Macabeo, Xarel-lo
Localization: Penedès, Catalonia, Spain
Tasting Notes: This wine is a vi d’agulla, the Catalan name for "prickly wine" for its slightly effervescent character. Vibrant and refreshing, it is the traditional summertime go-to of the Penedès region of Catalonia, and it’s perfect for drinking out of a porrón.
The Domain: Up until the late 19th century, the Esteve family of Avinyó subsisted on the growing and selling of cereal crops, legumes, and a little bit of wine, all grown around their traditional horseshoe-shaped farm- house, Can Fontanal. But when phylloxera crossed the border from France into Spain, the family vineyards and their savings were destroyed when concerns over the louse caused a run on the region’s largest banks. Faced with starting over, Joan Esteve Marcè saw an opportunity in hardship and traveled to France in search of phylloxera-resistant vines. He returned with new rootstocks immune to the pest. His son, Joan Esteve Nadal, expanded the family’s holdings to four parcels totaling about 40 hectares and re-planted many of the vineyards with the indigenous varieties of grapes. As a result, Avinyó farms only estate-owned vineyards, a rarity among cava and wine producers. Today, another generation is at the helm. Four siblings blend tradition, technology, and a relentless pursuit of quality.