Where they’re from: The Penedes region, the rolling hills around Barcelona best known for producing all your favorite Spanish sparkling wines
Why we’re drinking these: These days, my home seems to fill up quicker and quicker with friends from out of town and family looking to say hello over a glass or two. So this year (to save my cellar), I instituted house wines — crowd-pleasers that I could pour with fervor for whoever stops by. My choice as of late has been any wine from Can Sumoi, a small Spanish producer that turns out lovely bubbles, crisp whites and suave reds at a very agreeable price point.
The project started a few years back when winemaker Pepe Raventós convinced his friend Francesc Escala to help him resurrect a largely abandoned property in the Penedes region, full of wild vineyards, abandoned farmhouses and ancient bush vines. To preface, Raventós isn’t just any old fellow with a hankering to make wine. You could call Pepe the crown prince of cava: he’s the 21st generation of the Codorniu family, a 500-year-old dynasty of cava producers. While the family’s historic winery sold a few years back, Pepe still runs Raventós i Blanc, maker of some of the most consistently beautiful bubbles in Spain.
In 2016, the duo purchased this 400-year-old estate and the 400 hectares of land that came with it, including 20 hectares of parellada, xarel-lo and sumoll vineyards. Raventós and Escala now make beautiful, bang-for-your-buck wines with a distinct sense of place under the Can Sumoi label.
Their effort has certainly paid off. Just a few years after launching, Can Sumoi was named one of Wine & Spirits’ top 100 wineries of the year, one of only a handful of Spanish wineries to make the list. From each bottle, expect wines that are elegant and approachable, sessionable enough for every situation and easy on your wallet — at $13 to $17 a bottle, you won’t feel bad about cracking another one if a friend stops by.
How they taste:
- Xarel-Lo: Usually this grape is reserved for sparkling wine, but this bottle makes a case for drinking more still xarel-lo. It’s clean, precise, floral and energetic, with notes of white peach, orchard fruit, juicy lemon and a hint of fennel. Expect a lovely straw color and crunchy minerality. It’s perfect for fans of sauvignon blanc and other aromatic whites.
- La Rosa: La Rosa is a light rosé made with a blend of parellada, sumoll and xarel-lo. Crisp, bone-dry, and packed with notes of red currant, pink grapefruit, cranberry and a touch of salt, it’s essentially, a rosé for year-round imbibing. An easy-drinking alternative to Provencal roses, but with enough texture and minerality to make a case for pairing with food.
- Garnatxa-Sumoll: For this wine, garnacha (grenache) is blended with sumoll, a variety that thrives in the Penedes region. It’s a cranky grape that’s very difficult to grow, but it makes easy-to-drink, wildly concentrated wines. Expect intense red fruit, floral notes and bright acidity. It’s rough and voluptuous but perfumed and fresh, with notes of wild fruit, fresh leather and dried florals. It’s an absolute table pleaser.
Fun fact: The majority of the Can Sumoi vineyards are planted atop fossils of prehistoric sea creatures. Raventos believes the land was once the bottom of the Tethys Sea, a body of water that existed more than 60 million years ago.
Where to buy: Wines can be purchased at most smaller wine retailers or on Drizly.
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