Cava Grand Tasting

27th August 2016


When visiting wineries is not an option, it’s a treat when an expert can bring their knowledge and passion to you. The minute MW Sarah Jane Evans begins her Cava seminar at the IWINETC in Spain her love of Spanish fizz flows. She blitzes through the history and basics of Cava with wit and not a wasted word before embarking on tasting us through eight upmarket Cavas

First up is Rosado Brut Reserva 2013 from Villarnau made from Trepat (Monastrell) and Pinot Noir. The wine smacked of strawberry, preserved lemon and ginger.

Next was Bohigas Noa De Bohigas Brut 2013), a blend of Pinot Noir and Xarel-lo vanilla, toffee within a frame of green apple flesh and bright acidity.

Vallformosa Cava Collecio Brut Reserva 2013 with its addition of 10% Chardonnay is all ripe apple, mint and white pepper on the palate. When it comes to the commercial boys, Evans suggests heading for the top. Good call.

Jaume de Codornîu Gran Resrva 2011 relies on the Champagne Chardonnay and Pinot Noir duo. This time it’s 10% Xarel-lo added for good measure. Aged 45 months, the wine is mouthwatering and mouth filling bubbly and shows lots of (again) mint and basil notes. The bottle, says Evans is ‘difficult to fit in the fridge’ but stands up as a stillish wine if the ‘energy’ (bubbles) dissipates – if it lasts that long.

Castellroig Sabate I Coca Reserva Familiar 2010 made from all Xarel-lo is 50% fermented in oak & 50% in stainless steel). It is brut nature, with brisk persistent bubbles that offsets rich vanilla character. I like it.

Uber state-of-the-art winery Gramona Gran Reserva 111 Lustros Reserva 2007 is a beauty. Aged for 100 months the Brut Nature brims with ripe fruit accented by licorice and toffee.

Lastly, we taste Casa Sala Gran Reserva 2006 from Freixenet, the “other” big boy. Aged 96 months this brut nature, once more recalls licorice (anise) but interplayed with an intriguing dried lemon peel.

There we have it, Cava at its finest. Not just party plonk but wines that are distinct and delicious, speak from whence they come…and worth seeking out.

Glass of Bubbly

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