THE Utiel-Requena inland area of Valencia has long been a world-class denomination for wines rivalling even La Rioja – and cava is the name of the game.
Requena is said to be the heart of Valencian cava and the leading producer in Spain of ecological varieties of the famous fizzy wines.
There are currently 4,000 hectares of vineyards in the area dedicated to producing the white grapes for cava – 10% of the total surface in Spain.
One third of all bottles of DO Cava produced in the Valencian town boast the Eco label, and over 20% of Spain’s total ecological cava production comes from there.
Only grapes grown within the town’s limits can be used to create the DO Cava fizzy wines, and a new series of criteria set to be introduced by the Spanish regulating authorities are expected to further boost the reputation and sales of the Valencian variety.
Once approved, champagne-style fizzy wine will be classified into four different categories depending on the aging period – namely guarda and three types of guarda superior.
In order to qualify for guarda superior, the product must be made with ecological grapes, which has been the focus of Requena’s cava production over recent years.
Last year, one in every five bottles of ecological cava in Spain came from Requena, suggesting the area’s huge potential in this regard due to the perfect atmospheric conditions for environmentally friendly crops.
Spokespeople for the local sector reveal that the area’s low humidity, good altitude and thermic differences between day and night – which prevent the spread of most pests and infections, thus eliminating the need for pesticides and other chemicals – will make it very easy for Requena to adapt to the new regulations when they come into force by 2025.