Pepe Raventós Natural Wines by Mucho, Spain6 July,2017
Opinion by Richard Baird
Bastard Negre, Xarel·lo and Ancestral are a small batch natural wine collection created, with minimal intervention, by Spanish vintner Pepe Raventós. Although Pepe is in charge of a vineyard that has been in his family’s hands for over 22 generations, and maintains the philosophies of his father and grandfather, this small collection was produced in the garage of his house, with the intention of crafting the highest quality wine from unrepeatable terroir.
Natural wines Bastard Negre and Ancestral, and sparkling wine Xarel·lo, are unfiltered and made without additives or sulphites, and have been produced from vines that around 50 years old. The land in which these have been grown are located at different heights and geographical positions, and made up of a variety soil compositions. This is expressed, alongside a process of minimal intervention, in packaging design, created by Mucho, through the layering of paper, the use of colour and form, and material texture and composition.
The value of the work really lies in its singular and concise expression, rather than an often fragmented confluence of familiar and individual motifs, storytelling devices and print finishes. Not only does it find a comfortable meeting point between conveying something of the changing nuance of terroir, minimal intervention in production and the natural high quality of product, but also delivers something that is distinctive and simple. These are some common industry themes but implemented in unusual ways through the combination of material colour and texture, organic forms, the changing mixed-fibre composition of the base, and the topographical-like structure of stacked and glued boards.
There is a commonality in the craft and batch production of the collection and the material craft and the limitations of technique inherent to label. This is far from a mass-produced product, and label, in its unfamiliar use of layering, works well to express this. Perceived value is in the idea, its confident simplicity and universality, as much as it is with material finish.
Form and material language find a neat balance between continuity and difference, and deliver something of a modern luxury component that effectively utilises the concept to add value, rather than relying on common luxury cues. It does, however, leverage the assurance you associate with labels signed by the vintner, and deliver an aesthetic pleasure.
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