So what do you do when someone you love is really sad and all you want to do is cheer her up? Moi? I treat first with food and then with alcohol. If neither of those help, we move quickly onto clothes – shoes are a last resort and usually guaranteed success.
Throw an about-to-graduate-from-high-school-and-has-been-studying-for-months daughter and two final IB Math exams into the mix on a Friday afternoon and you have a recipe for tears at the very best. Panic sessions at the other end of the spectrum. Bring on sushi and that bottle of Cava I’ve been holding onto for a while for homework practice.
Okay, so she may be a ways off yet from a legal drink, but if we were in Madrid, this wouldn’t be an issue. Plus, she is an IB student – we are simply internationalizing her curriculum. Besides, we needed something to drink with the sushi!
Save your judgement for someone else.
Cava, aka Spanish sparkling wine, hails from Rioja or Valencia but most frequently from Catalunya and specifically from San Sadurni di Noya where there is some elevation in the vineyards (200-500m which helps tremendously with acidity).
Made usually from one or a combination of three Spanish grapes – neutral and acidic Macabeu, neutral Parellada and earthy and occasionally rubbery Xarel-lo, it follows similar lees ageing laws to champagne – 9 months for non-vintage to 36 months for vintage, 15 months for Reserva and 30 months for Gran Reserva. Similar to Cremant, 150 kg of fruit per every 100 litres of wine must be pressed and for whites, the yields are a ridiculously high 80 hl/ha compared to only 53 hl/ha for black grapes.
Cava can also be made from international favourites – usually Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and if you pop open a rosé, it will be made from either Garnacha or Monastrell. Usually vines are grown bush style, ‘en vaso’ but increasingly they are wire trained to accommodate mechanical harvesting techniques. Cava must be at least 4 atmospheres of pressure and is usually fully sparkling (or ‘Espumosa’) at about 5-6 atmospheres.
This one is made in the traditional method just as champagne would be – meaning whole bunch and fractional pressing, blending of the base wines, two fermentations in the bottle, tirage, remeuage by the ‘girasol’ or gyropalette, disgorgement and a dosage top up prior to bottle ageing for the aforementioned minimum months. This Cava is labeled ‘Crianza’ and as a vintage has seen between 2-3 years according to the bottle. I would have thought it must have taken at least 3 years because of the vintage label. The label notes it is 67% Macabeu and 33% Parellada.
This wine is clear and bright, medium lemon with bubbles noted.
On the nose, it’s clean and developing with medium intense aromas of freshly baked bread, yeast, green apple, lemon and Bergamot lime.
The palate is dry with medium + acidity, a slightly aggressive mousse and medium minus alcohol. The body is medium minus and the medium intense flavours include toast, Granny Smith apple, lemon, lime and yellow grapefruit, pomello. There is a slight bitterness on the palate as well reminiscent of nuts or almonds. The finish is medium plus.
This wine is very good quality; the acidity is well balanced with the alcohol, fruit and aromas. The secondary autolytic characteristics are lightly toasty and offer a lovely balance to the lemon and lime. A longer finish would have earned a higher rating. At only C$28, it’s a steal – yeasty toasty aromas and flavours, a great price and bubbly. This is one of the reasons Spanish wines never fail to please – the price is right and they taste great.
It worked with the Graduate. She is back to her old happy self. See? Bubbles solve everything.
Hasta luego – ciao!