In unfortunate news to read, Antoni Mata Casanovas, the president of famed sparkling wine producer, Recaredo has died at the age of 81.
While the winery was founded by Antoni’s father, Josep Mata Capellades, in 1924, he was already working in there at a very young age, stirring the lees in the vats from the age of seven.
Antoni was part of the second generation that took the winery from a familiar affair typical in the region at the time and grew it as a proper business, making what were some of the most exalted wines within DO Cava until they left in 2019 to establish the Corpinnat association.
But more than just having a keen business sense, Antoni also held on to tradition within the winemaking, only using natural corks for the entire winemaking process in all their wines and never using crown caps that are typical in more industrially-scaled cellars. But additionally, there was great attention given to the vineyards as shown by their conversion to working biodynamically in 2006 and seeing all 50ha of their vineyards certified from 2010 onwards, making them the first producer in the Penedès region to achieve this.
At the same time, 2008 saw the release of their “grand cru” Turó d’en Mota wine which was the first single-vineyard sparkling wine produced in Spain and set an exceptionally high bar for quality with a minimum of 100 months aging on the lees as well as proving the essentially endless ability for the variety Xarel·lo to age which, until that point had been thought of only as one part to the Cava blend.
Key to any winery however is an eventual transition to the new generation which started in the 1990s and eventually saw his son, Ton Mata take the reins as the director of the company who has worked to continue the initiatives of both Antoni and Josep.
In September there was an immense celebration of Turó d’en Mota’s 25 harvests, their “grand cru”, single vineyard sparkling wine. It was apparent to everyone in attendance that it was an early tribute to life and work of Antoni, who, along with Ton had built up this wine to the status it has reached today.
While it’s very unfortunate that Antoni didn’t live to see what will be the 100th anniversary of the winery next year, he’s a man who left and indelible mark on the region and its wines and with an ever-present humility and generosity. He will be very much missed.