Corpinnat is the name for high quality sparkling wines from the Penèdes, founded in 2016 by a number of (high-end) producers who distanced themselves from DO Cava in 2019 mainly because the CAVA model cannot be distinguished made in quality.
Within the Cava regulations there is also a new category since 2017, namely Cava de Paraje Calificado and this applies to wines where the grapes must come from one winery or vineyard and this was a bit the counter-reaction of the Cava appellation to the Corpinnat brand name.
Corpinnat is therefore, just like Cava (or Champagne), a sparkling wine that is made via the traditionelle method, i.e. by a second fermentation in the bottle and this creates the bubbles and this is a brand name founded by a number of quality producers who wanted to distinguish With Corpinnat as protected brand (such as a Grandcru or a Grande Reserva) not only determines the region for the naming, but also the terroir and that is much more than just the area; it is also about climate, grape varieties, the vineyard and the winery.
Corpinnat can be divided into two concepts:
1- COR or the heart of Penèdes where the first sparkling wines in Spain were made more than 130 years ago;
2- PINNAT, which is descended from Pinnae. Pinnae links to the origin of Penèdes. In historical records in the 10th century it is mentioned as Penetense and comes from the Latin pinna (are you still following it?), meaning stone or rock. That in turn has a link with the stony bottom in Penèdes. Is that circle round again;
3- NAT also means 'born' in Catalan, Corpinnat therefore means 'born in the heart of Penèdes'
Corpinnat is always from Penèdes. Penèdes is located in the Catalonia region, near Barcelona. An area of 997 km2 has been designated for Corpinnat, within which 22,966 hectares of vineyards have been planted in total.
On www.corpinnat.com you can see what the Corpinnat area is.
The area of Corpinnat is the historic heart of the Penedès area. This area has been determined based on a number of variables, such as natural river separations, which soils best suit particular grape varieties and slopes. The area has a Mediterranean climate, with sunny summers, mild winters and average rainfall. Not only a nice holiday climate, the grapes are also doing well.
The soil is varied, including rocks and petrified clay that have few nutrients. The soils allow rainwater to pass through well (so no mud pools in the vineyards) and retain the water deeper in the soil, where the roots can absorb the water.
Autochthonous grape varieties are used for Corpinnat, i.e. grape varieties that have traditionally belonged to the region. The international varieties therefore do not play a major role in Corpinnat's bubbles. Because sparkling wine must consist of at least 90% of these grapes:
White grapes: Macabeo, Parellada, Malvasia, Xarel.lo
Blue grapes: Garnacha, Monastrell, Sumoll, Xarel.lo Rosado
For the remaining 10%, it may contain the internationally known varieties such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The grapes must be picked by hand and grown organically. That is also a big difference with Cava. Several producers even work biodynamically. All producers aim to return the terroir to the wine as much as possible, to intervene as little as possible and to respect nature.
The grapes come from our own vineyards or are purchased. In the case of the latter, this is only allowed if there has been cooperation with that grower for a long time and, of course, only if the grower grows the grapes organically.
A minimum price has been agreed for these grapes. Corpinnat must be vinified by and at the wine producer. After the harvest, the grapes go here immediately to press and ferment the grapes. After the first fermentation, the second fermentation takes place in the bottle.
The minimum at Cava is nine months, with Corpinnat sticking to longer times. There are three categories: wines that have matured for 18 months (the youngest), wines that have matured for 30 months and wines that have matured for at least 60 (!) months. Under Corpinnat you will often find suppliers that focus on long-aged cavas, such as a Recaredo.
If you see a bottle with Corpinnat clearly on the front, you can assume that it is a good quality wine. This is because producers have to adhere to a number of very strict rules and entry into this quality class only takes place under strict conditions. Now is
it is also not the case that if products have chosen not to join and are still in the CAVA appellation, this is by definition of poorer or lesser quality. This is mainly because there is a lot of unrest and disagreement among a number of (top) producers where there are 3 currents:
1 - incorporate a better distinction in quality in the current CAVA regulations
2- a group of products that want to use the Paraje Calificado
3- a group of products championed by Corpinnat
Especially now that Corpinnat is currently seen as the Grandcru's among the sparkling wines, we now see the phenomenon that they protect their own competitive position a bit by not admitting equal players (or perhaps even better) so unfortunately there is still some 'politics' going on.
Your own perception is therefore important, but also a bit of general 'farmers' common sense. Try explaining if you buy a bottle of sparkling Cava for around 7 euros or less how this goes with 21% VAT, excise duty, transport costs, the physical bottle, the cork, the label, the pickers, the profit of the winery , etc. If that is calculated, there is a maximum amount of juice for a few cents.
We don't judge tasty because that's personal, but it certainly says something about the quality and how much chemistry went into making these volumes for that price, but that applies to all wines.