Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Codorníu, one of the world’s largest producers of sparkling wines made by the traditional method. The Codorníu group incorporates the Spanish cava brand Codorníu, and Masia Bach and Raimat (see costers del segre) which make both Cava and still wine. Cava is responsible for more than half of the company’s turnover and Codorníu is particularly strong on the Spanish market. The history of Codorníu dates back to 1551, when the Codorníu family established their first winery in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia in penedès in Cataluña. In 1659, the heiress to the Codorníu winery, Anna Codorníu, married a member of the Raventós family. A direct descendant, Josep Raventós, decided to produce sparkling wine, uncorking the first bottle of Spanish wine made in the image of champagne in 1872. Within ten years, the style was popular across Spain, and Codorníu claims as a result to have founded the Cava industry. Codorníu was the first to use Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as well as the traditional Catalan grapes Parellada, Macabeo, and Xarel-lo in its Cavas. The company’s first Chardonnay-based Cava, named Anna de Codorníu, was launched in 1984 and Chardonnay has since become a common ingredient in many Codorníu Cavas. Raimat, in Costers del Segre, is the viticultural and research and development centre for the group. In 1991, the group opened Codorníu Napa, a new winery in the carneros district of California, since renamed Artesa. In 1997, Codorníu acquired the traditional Bodegas Bilbaínas winery and 200 surrounding hectares in rioja Alta, then in 2000 it acquired a controlling stake in Cellers de Scala Dei, the oldest winery in priorat. In 1999, the company built the Septima winery in Mendoza, Argentina and in 2000 built the Legaris winery from scratch in ribera del duero. Other wineries in Spain include Abadia de Poblet in conca de barberá and Nuviana in Valle del Cinca in Aragón.