Juvé y Camps are one of the leading Cava producers. They aren’t small: they harvest 2000 tons of grapes from their own vineyards (271 hectares), and partner with 60 winegrowers they’ve been working with on a long-term basis, all of who farm organically – but the quality is very high. With a production of 3.5 million bottles they describe themselves as a big small winery, and they have 14 million bottles ageing in their cellars.
The Juvé family have been winegrowing since 1796 in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, and in 1921 Joan Juvé married Teresa Camps, and they released the first traditional method sparkling (at the time referred to as champagne) under the Juvé name. The next big step was in the mid-1970s when Juan Juvé decided to use the name Juvé y Camps for a new style of Cava: at the time most people were making Secos or Demi Secos, and he wanted to make a Brut Nature with a long time on lees. Hence the Juvé y Camps Reserva da Familia was born. The first release was in 1978 and it was a complete success.
In the 1980s this was one of the producers that started to introduce Chardonnay to the region. Chardonnay has gone up and down a bit, but they’ve stuck with it.
One snippet that’s interesting: Stilbenes from the Xarel.lo might be important in its notable ageing potential.
The largest vineyard is the 200 hectare Propietat d’Espiells in the Penedès, on the slopes of Montserrat, a limestone mountain that emerged from the sea millions of years. Soils are limestone and clay at 180-245 metres.
Pep Jiménez, director of viticulture, showed me around. We stopped at one block of Pinot Noir, at 190 m, and looked at the way they do sexual confusion to deal with grape moths. Here they use a puffer that releases the pheromones, rather than the more usual static plastic pheromone releasers that attach to the wires.
He explained that things are changing quite a bit because of rainfall and drought patterns shifting. They are part of the Spanish regenerative viticulture foundation and have begun working two plots this way. We are visiting in late May 2023, and between October and this time there has only been 100 mm of rain, which is concerning. But the root growth in most of the plots is quite deep, so even though the soil profile is still dry 1.5 m deep, the plants are still green.
Juvé y Camps have been working with precision viticulture, and have been doing soil studies that involved 256 calicatas (soil inspection pits). They have also used aerial imagery to map vigor. This is helping them work more accurately in the vineyard. They have also been working with the university on a circular bioeconomy of proximity, looking to see how they can get organic material from local farms to help their soils which are naturally low in this.
We began by tasting a trio of the Reserva de la Familia, which were from a range of vintages but which were all disgorged September 2021. The price for the current release, 2018, is €20. These three late-disgorged bottlings are being sold at €28.
Juvé & Camps Reserva de la Familia Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2009
137 months on lees. This is concentrated, fresh and linear with wonderful crystalline citrus fruit, with a keen lemony acidic line. Very fruity and expressive. Tense and mineral with great precision and subtle toast, nut and honey notes. The core remains the intense fruit with high acidity keeping everything sharply in focus. Such intensity and focus. 95/100
Juvé & Camps Reserva de la Familia Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2012
103 months on lees. Bright, pure, focused and lemony with amazing precision. Has a slight salinity and an appealing crystalline focus with a subtle pithiness and a long, tapering lemony finish. So impressive, with great length and purity. 94/100
Juvé & Camps Reserva de la Familia Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2015
64 months on lees. Fine, subtly toasty, bready nose with a slight creaminess to the chalky lemon fruit. In the mouth this is fresh and focused with sweet citrus, a touch of pear, and some chalky minerality. So youthful and pure, this is very primary and quite delicious. 95/100
Juvé & Camps Reserva de la Familia Cava Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2018 Spain
12% alcohol. Organic grapes. This spends 36 months on lees. It has a vibrant, zesty nose with lovely lime blossom and some lemon. The palate is toasty and detailed with vivid citrus fruit, a touch of sweet pear and apple crumble, and then a nice pithy finish with good acidity. Benchmark Cava Gran Reserva, and really good. 93/100
Juvé & Camps Millesimé Chardonnay Can Ruis Gran Reserva Brut 2018
8 g/l dosage. This has lovely fruit: it’s sweetly fruited with pear, citrus, watermelon and apricot. Nice concentration and depth of flavour, and it’s really fruity and intense with a nice sweet finish. Has a touch of Mediterranean herbs, too. 91/100
Juvé & Camps Millesimé Blanc de Noirs Rieral Gran Reserva 2018
7.5 g/l dosage. Pinot Noir. Very fruity and expressive with cherries, pear and some melon, as well as a bit of bright mandarin, as well as some apricot. Pure and fruit-driven with nice freshness and focus, showing a very friendly side but also a little bit of grip. A lovely expressive, fruity wine of real appeal. 92/100
Millesimé Xarel.lo Olivera Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2017
Disgorged April 2023, 12% alcohol. Zesty, bright and extravagant with some pithy lime fruit and expressive dried herb notes adding interest. Has a bit of grip, and shows a really nice grapefruit pith finish. Lovely acidity here, showing great intensity and a bit of grip on the finish. 93/100
Gran Juvé y Camps Gran Reserva Brut 2017
12% alcohol, 7 g/l, three traditional varieties. Very fine toasty, bready nose with sweet citrus and white peach notes. Fresh, linear and focused on the palate with fine cherry and pear fruit as well as some crystalline citrus fruit. Lovely sweet fruit core, showing purity and some complexity. 94/100
Juvé y Camps La Capella Paraje Calificado Cava Brut Nature 2010 Spain
12% alcohol. Full gold in colour, this has a complex nose of toast, lime oil, honey and hazelnut with great freshness as well as richness. The palate is powerful, lively and dense with bold citrus fruit and hints of marmalade and honey. Very refined with great acidity, this is really serious. 95/100
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