14 Mar 2013

Wine: Codorníu’s Bruno Colomer Martí

HARPER’S speaks to Barcelona-born, Bruno Colomer Martí, a winemaker since 1990 and head winemaker at the Codorníu cellars since 2008.
Who is your consumer? 
In Spain, people who appreciate good food and who want to drink a well-made Cava in which they can place complete confidence. Our range offers quality and reassurance at a wide range of price points. 
What is the biggest challenge for Cava’s image in the UK? 
We have to change consumers' perceptions of Cava as a one dimensional product which is only bought on promotion. We’re addressing this with programmes to educate consumers through our “Codorníu Fizzness School”, and by adding value to our products by continually increasing quality. Could the Spanish government make life easier for wine producers? We’ve got a good relationship with the Spanish Government, but in the current economic situation there is little promotional help that it can offer us. 
Does the global economic downturn affect the way you make wine? 
Despite the economic situation, we continue to invest in research and improvements in our vineyards and winery to ensure our wines are continually improving. 
Do you find yourself in the vineyards more than the winery? 
No, but I’ve got a fantastic viticultural team to manage the vineyards, and I talk to them all the time. I can’t over-stress the importance of working with quality grapes - the foundation for all our Cavas. At Codorníu, we’re lucky in that, because we own the majority of our vineyards, we’ve got complete control over the quality of our grapes, the vast majority of which come from Penedes, Costers del Segre and Conca de Barbera. 
How does Codorniu embrace climate change? 
In the last few years we’ve seen much earlier harvests meaning we have to concentrate the harvest over a shorter time period in order to pick the grapes at optimum maturity. 
Do you enjoy working with non-Spanish varieties, like Pinot Noir? 
Within DO Cava, we’re lucky to have a wide range of different soils and micro-climates. Codorníu has vineyards in areas with a continental climate - Conca de Barberà and Costers de Segre - which allows us to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as well as the traditional varieties. I particularly like working with Pinot Noir because of its’ increased ageing potential. Codorníu have the oldest and most extensive plantings of Pinot Noir in Spain, incidentally – we’re the Spanish Pinot Noir experts. 
What do you think of bull fighting? 
Personally I don't like it, but I understand that it is a very important part of Spanish culture. It’s a very old tradition and I wouldn't want to be the one to take the decision to ban it! 
What do you do in your spare time? 
I like to be outside, running and skiing and gardening. I also love cooking. 
Are we ever likely to see a £500 bottle of Codorniu? 
I find it difficult to understand pricing politics! I think that a product can only be worth this much if it’s extremely rare. I don't believe any bottle is really worth this much, but if I was ever given such an expensive bottle, I wouldn’t drink it but would sit and look at it like a work of art... Opening the bottle would destroy the magic! It’s not one of my objectives to see Codorníu at this price point...
For Harper's Wine & Spirit