Bats & Winemaking
Recaredo and Cellar Credo’s project that helps to protect the ecosystem, the environment, and our furry, flying friends!
There’s little we don’t enjoy more in life, than visiting numerous cellars across Catalonia and Spain with our wonderful staff and team at the Bodega. Visiting these wonderful places creates memories that last a lifetime. Walking through the vineyards, smelling the air; the earth; the vines, truly is something magical. If you haven’t ever visited a winery, I would recommend you start planning it! One of our last visits was to the wonderful Recaredo Cellars in Penedés. A certain project during our visit really connected with Paulina, one of our lovely wine hosts and a true Spanish wine lover!
Paulina explains this fabulous project in her first blog… and of course, her love for furry, flying mammals.
Working in a bodega allows me to visit different wineries all across Spain. It’s a great opportunity for me not only to see where and how wine is made but also to meet the people who stand behind the wine. This is a perfect way to understand the terroir and all of its elements, which is the key to understanding our favorite drink.
My last visit was to a Catalan winery called Recaredo, which is famous for producing high quality Spanish sparkling wines. They were also the pioneers behind Corpinnat. A new group that was set up over the last few years to set-apart high-quality sparkling wines produced in the region and associate them with a higher level of quality. (To understand what cava is, take a look at a short video by Misty) To get to the Recaredo Cellars, it’s only 45 min train-ride from Barcelona. The cellar is a 100 years old family-run winery with lots of tradition and wisdom passing through generations.
But, I don’t want to talk about their amazing (and one of my favorite) sparkling wines today, but rather, about another one of their beautiful projects, Celler Credo that begun in 1990 in D.O. Penedes.
All of the wines are made in a biodynamic way, respecting and deriving from nature. This is a way to make beautiful wines that reflect the terroir and all that makes the greatness of the wines. Wines, that when you take a sip, it takes you directly to the vineyards. You can feel the heat that comes from the soil, you can smell the breeze of the air; full of herbal notes that are used naturally to protect the vines, you can hear all of life that is going on between and around the vines.
Biodynamic wines are very popular nowadays, in Europe and all around the world. It’s a new trend in the world of wine, but what it’s all about?
Put simply, it is a way to produce wines with the health of the vineyards and vines as a top priority. This is a system that holistically treats wine production. The vineyard with its animals and the farmer, as one whole organism. In every kind of agriculture, we protect the vines from the plagues and sickness, in a biodynamic setting, we try to make the vines strong enough, so the diseases are not a problem, it can defend itself naturally – giving it the resources and strength to do so. So the idea is to create a self-sustaining ecosystem that fosters biodiversity in the vineyard. The father of the biodynamic concept is Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher. His idea is spreading around the globe. He also realised the influence of the position of the moon and the effects of astrological activity on agriculture. Therefore, depending on the lunar calendar there is a phase for every step of cultivating the land and the vineyard, and even one for consuming the wine!
So, in short, to make wine in a biodynamical way, winemakers have to follow many rules. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides or herbicides are prohibited. The is little or no sulfites allowed. Indigenous yeast must also be used. Winemakers use phytotherapy, they grow specific plants to provide natural protection for the vines. For example, plants that control the presence of mold, disease, etc. Some winemakers, like the ones from Celler Credo, so committed to this ethos of winemaking; take things even further…
Celler Credo aims to make wines that perfectly reflect the terroir with complete respect to the landscape, where they come from. Following biodynamical agriculture, the winery has also created a wine called Ratpenat, which means bat in Catalan. Considering the bad name that poor bats have earned for themselves, I want to bring you closer to this inspiring project, which embraces the presence of these wonderful creatures. The wine is the result of a collaboration between Celler Credo and the Museum of Natural Science in Granollers. The aim is to protect these flying mammals. Why? Because they’re essential to equilibrate our environment.
Bats are the second most important animals, after bees, to human beings. They are excellent pollinators helping the contribution of the nectar. They also provide fertiliser found in their excrement, thanks to a high level of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which help plants grow. Moreover, bats play a huge role in controlling plagues, which are a big risk to the vineyards. So this fact, in turn, inspired Celler Credo to start the Ratpenat project, where 60% of the profit is donated to conserve the presence of bats in the vineyards and to spread the knowledge about the importance these mammals have in our ecosystem.
All of these efforts result in a better expression of the wine. The Ratpenat wine is 100% Macabeu grape, which is an underrated white variety, mostly popular in the cava blends. But when you treat it well, it can produce beautiful and expressive wines. All of the grapes come from the family vineyards, and of course, elaborated in ecological and biodynamical ways, with minimum intervention. They let the vegetation grow freely between the vines, which has an amazing influence on the soil, regulating water retention and preventing soil from erosion. They plant nettles that naturally raises the defenses of the vines. All of these strategies are utilised along with the steps I spoke about above. It’s a complex and time-consuming way of working. But one that yields fabulous results, in my opinion.
The whole production of Ratpenat wine is less than about 1000 bottles per vintage. In each bottle, you´ll find a sincerity, the reflection of Celler Credo and the team at Recaredo. White wine with lovely fruity notes and balanced acidity, fresh and rounded.
I can´t recommend highly enough the wines from Recaredo and Celler Credo. You get all you could need in any one of their wines. Beautiful wines that express the native varietals and the landscape of which they come from. The amazing history of the family of winemakers, always dedicated and loyal to their beliefs. Their ethos of making great wines, whilst always respecting tradition and the vineyards. And, most importantly, they stand behind this great project that helps to protect the ecosystem and environment.
If you would like to buy a bottle of this wonderful wine; visit our shop section or contact us directly through our contact form! To visit the wonderful Recaredo Cellar yourself, visit their website.
Love & Cava