Casteller Cava Brut
Casteller literally translates as "tower" in Spanish. The name is a reference to a local Catalonian summer game where different clans compete to create the tallest human tower.
The vineyards are located in Zone 5 in northeastern Spain, a few miles south of Barcelona in the Alt (High) Penedès subregion of the Penedès DO. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at 176 meters (577 ft.) elevation, the vineyards and winery are located in the town of Vilafranca del Penedés. The ancient Greeks introduced vines to this area prior to the 4th Century BC. The topsoil is limestone and sand; the latter provides good drainage into the deeper water-retaining layers of clay subsoil and nourishes the vine when necessary. The root systems of the vines are able to penetrate up to 10 meters (about 30 feet) through the deep soil to search for water, particularly in times of drought. The soils are poor in organic matter, resulting in lower yields per vine and greater skin-to-juice ratio per berry, which produces more intense and concentrated grape flavors. The area's climate has an average temperature from April to October of 66.6F, which is higher than the standard in Zone 5 (63 F), and has a yearly rainfall of 24 inches. The higher temperatures bring higher levels of sugar while the elevation and rainfall give greater acid levels. The ripeness and acidity balance each other and improve the fresh aromas of the wines. The temperatures in Penedès are higher than those in Priorat and Montsant but lower than those in the Empordà and Terra Alta regions.
A superior source of white grapes for the production of Spain’s prized sparkling wine, Cava, the Penedes region is part of Catalunya and sits just south of Barcelona. Medio Penedès is the most productive source of the Cava grapes, Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada. Penedes also grows Garnacha and Tempranillo (here called Ull de Llebre in Catalan) for high quality reds and rosès.
A term typically reserved for Champagne and Sparkling Wines, non-vintage or simply “NV” on a label indicates a blend of finished wines from different vintages (years of harvest). To make non-vintage Champagne, typically the current year’s harvest (in other words, the current vintage) forms the base of the blend. Finished wines from previous years, called “vins de reserve” are blended in at approximately 10-50% of the total volume in order to achieve the flavor, complexity, body and acidity for the desired house style. A tiny proportion of Champagnes are made from a single vintage.
There are also some very large production still wines that may not claim one particular vintage. This would be at the discretion of the winemaker’s goals for character of the final wine.