From a family-owned and operated winery comes Cava Rabetllat i Vidal Brut, an elegant fizz matured in the cavas outside of Barcelona.
An easy drive inland from the beaches of Spain’s second city, past the urban sprawl of Barcelona and the industrial centre that surrounds it, sits an estate out of time. With rolling hills and neat rows of grapes ripening under the Mediterranean sun, it’s a world unto itself. It’s called Finca Ca n’Estella.
This ground is thought to have been used for making wine for centuries – and, since the 1960s, it has been one family’s tribute to those that came before them.
As Roser Bodegues of Finca Ca n’Estella explains, “Ca n’Estella winery was founded in 1800 by Mr. Joan Estella, but inside of the farmhouse you can see the oldest vestiges from the 11th century, so they must have been making wine there even then.”
The property, named after its founder, was always a place where high-quality wines were made. In fact, the original founders were award-winning, taking home a gong from the National Wine Exhibit in Barcelona in 1877.
But for the story of the elegant Cava in our July Bubble Box, you need to fast-forward to the 1960s, when a recent exile from the winemaking regions of France discovered this beautiful slice of Spanish land.
When Delfí Rabetllat first left France in the 1960s, he knew that he didn’t want to give up making wine. He had worked hard in the vineyards and wineries of France, learning everything he could, and when he came to Spain it was with the intention to build on his knowledge and strike out on his own.
One question remained: where would he do it?
After a move to Barcelona and a marriage, he started searching for a vineyard to make his own. Finca Ca n’Estella had fallen out of use, and it was for sale. For Delfí, one look was all he needed to know that he had found his new home.
“Once he saw Ca n’Estella, he fell in love with it,” Roser says. “He realised that it was an excellent place to grow vines.”
Delfí’s initial instincts were correct, and the vineyard he took over would go on to become a well-respected producer of Spanish wines. Years later, his son took over the business; now a third generation Rabetllat, Anna, oversees the winery. But whoever is in charge, this family has always been committed to one very simple ideology.
Roser explains: “The working philosophy of Finca Ca n’Estella is governed by a simple maxim: commitment to the people who drink our Cava. This has led us to dedicate all of our efforts to not only growing the best grapes, but also to maintain the quality of our wine over time so that, year after year, harvest after harvest, our customers know that they’re about to open a beautiful bottle of wine.”
Uncovering the Cavas
While Finca Ca n’Estella has a long history of making delicious wines, one thing prevented them from making sparkling wine on a scale large enough to sell it: their cavas, or the caves in which the Spanish style of sparkling wine share a name are aged, had been destroyed during the Spanish Civil war. So, while they began experimenting in the 1980s, it wasn’t until the next decade that they ramped up their production.
In the 1990s, the Rabetllat family got to work restoring the cavas, and by the end of the decade were ready to start selling their lovely sparkling wines. They’ve been making the Brut in your July Bubble Box since 2001.
The Brut in your July Bubble Box is aged in the reconstructed cavas for a minimum of 12 months before being shipped at the exact moment it’s ready to drink – and what a bottle of wine it is!
Roser says, “We put a lot of passion into each bottle, and that human touch makes sure that our blends always have the fingerprint of Ca n’Estella.”
But these wines are more than just a product to Anna Rabetllat and her family. They’re a legacy, and a tribute to the family members who came before.
“This estate is where the third generation of the Rabetllat family grew up, and started to love wine,” Roser says. “For this family it’s more than a job – it’s an important part of their lives. But beyond that, this is the culmination of the work that their grandfather started in the sixties. For them, this is the best tribute they can make to their ancestors.”