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Spanish Cava: The Anytime, Anywhere, with Anyone, Wine

Spanish CavaWarning: dead horse about to be beaten for the upteenth time. Spain’s famous sparkling libation is a recurring theme here at the Catavino homestead. Cava should always be considered when planning a meal, an event, or simply watching B movies and eating popcorn on a Wednesday night. Here at Catavino HQ, we tend to drink Cava when we’re tired and need a beverage with more energy and excitement than our current condition. And now that the holidays are upon us, deserving of ample “pick-me-ups”, let’s embark on the conversation of Cava once again. (photo by Alan Yau)

Today, we’re going to give you the perfect silver bullet for each and every meal. No more thinking. No more fretting whether or not your X wine pairs with the meal. No more wondering if you can afford a decent wine at an affordable price as a gift. The secret is Cava. With its racy acidity and refreshing finish this is a wine that can pair with appetizers, vegetable side dishes, or even, rich and heavy holiday meals. We realize this last suggestion may throw you into a tailspin wondering how a sparkling wine can cut through a mouth coating meal. But as a result of Cava’s high acidity, it  slices through the grease, leaving your palate fresh, clean and ready for seconds.

Truth is, Cava should be viewed as the “all in one” wine.

It’s fun to open, pretty to look at, not to heavy in the alcohol department, and adds sparkle to the most mundane evening. Plus, after the relatives have gone home, and the noise level return to normal, Cava makes the wind down seem a bit more glamorous. You can even try to convince your beer adoring uncle that if served from a mug, Cava can even polish up his image to be both worldly and festive.

So what to buy? Warning: wine snobs should skip to the next paragraph so that we don’t tarnish your perfect palate :) Good old black bottle Freixenet and Codorniu Brut Rose are stunners for any party. Affordable and refreshing, these wines are great for their price, allowing you to buy more than one.

Last week we were asked to recommend some wines to CNBC for the holiday meals when lo and behold a few bottles (samples) arrived from Castellroig – great little cavas. I mentioned the Sabaté i Coca Reserva Familiar 2006 in the article, but I would have to say the Castellroig Cava Grand Reserva Brut is a stunner with great body, structure, and creamy freshness. If you can find it, grab it. (photo by Bern@t)

In all honestly, we don’t have a clue as to what is in your local market. So go out and explore, and if you would let us know in the comments if you have a favorite, and where people can get it, please do so. We would love to help spread the Cava Gospel. (Photo by frado76)

We also need to highlight the Espumante’s of Portugal. Made in the same way as Cava and Champange, Epumantes are also stunners though difficult to find – even in Portugal. We enjoyed a bottle of the 1995 Murganheira a few weeks ago, and I’m convinced the finish is still lingering. Aromas of toasted minerals with a lemon mousse and dark honey make this wine both delicious and unforgettable. But if you don’t have the budget for treats like this, look for the criminally cheap Vinho Verde sparkler. Typically showing insanely fresh acidity and a mousse that looks like something you should shave with, it’s a must find!

In short, fill your car to the hilt with sparkling Iberian wine this year for the holidays, or just because it’s fun and tastes good on any day of the week.

Cheers,

Ryan Opaz

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  • http://www.frado.net sergio frado

    Dear Ryan Opaz, the picture “CAVA ALTA”

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/frado76/3704016679/

    is publised under creative commons 2.5 licence, attribution – noncomercial – share alike

    You can use it but you must to put the attribution.

    Thank you

    • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella

      You are absolutely correct, and we abide by the same license on Catavino, but we failed to double check if we put your name in the post. We’ve corrected it immediately and thoroughly appreciate your comment!! Thank you for a great photo as well!

      • http://www.frado.net sergio frado

        Ok, now it’s ok, thank you very much for correct this, because some people don’t do that.

        If you need more pictures from my flickr you can use it.

        Very interesting blog, y will put it on my RSS

  • DaveT

    We recently had a bottle of Conde de Subirats Cava Rose, and it was pure fizzy pink fun. Great acidity, decent mousse, and enough blushy fruit to be a little out of the ordinary. And at 11.5% alcohol, splitting a bottle with lunch didn’t put us down for the afternoon.

    $14 at Arrowine near Washington DC; imported by Grapes of Spain Inc, Lorton VA USA. (Selected by Aurelio Cabestrero, if that means anything to you.)

  • http://www.bevsites.com Ian Griffith

    Marques de Gelida has been a popular alternative to Freixenet and Codorniu in these part, but the price has been creeping up in recent years.

    As the parent of young boys I am impressed by the Lego Star Wars image. Since I couldn’t find it on Flickr, can I assume that Ryan brought his lego with him to Spain? :)

  • http://www.wineontherocks.com Finkus Bripp

    PROSECCO has become the KLEENEX, XEROX, WINDSURFER of sparkling wine here in Germany, especially Munich – where it’s become synonymous with “the wannabe wine lover – but can’t afford Champagne – cougar” or “can afford Champagne but Prööseccöö sounds so en vogue and has more öö’s than ze French stüüff” fraction.

    So when people ask me “Can you recommend a good Prosecco?” – I automatically say “Sure! CAVA!” Laugh you may, but most really do mean a sparkling wine!

    Cava good!

  • DaveT

    Oh, I almost forgot — my local grocery store has “Poema” (Penedes, metodo tradicional), which is perfectly drinkable (if nothing extraordinary). Certainly good value for the price.

  • http://passionatefoodie.blogspot.com RichardA

    I love Cava, and generally prefer it to any other sparkling wine. One of my favorite recent Cava finds is the Adar de Elvi Cava Brut, a Kosher cava. It is a blend of 40% Xarel·lo, 30% Macabeo, and 30% Parellada. It is aged for about 12 months in the bottle and it only has an alcohol content of 11.5%. It is very dry with interesting floral notes and mild citrus notes. It is crisp and clean with a moderately long finish, and without any yeasty aftertaste

  • http://www.woodwinters.com WoodWinters

    Recently in Spain had my eyes re-opened to the wonders of Cava. Recently tasted Mas Macia in the UK – under £8 a bottle and absolutely stunning! Totally agree with your drink with anything advice! Cheers

  • http://www.wijnkronieken.nl Mariella

    An article true to my heart (if that is the correct English phrase). I have been on a cava-discovery tour ever since our visit to BCN and our meeting with you!
    When I celebrated my new life as an independent textwriter and editor a month ago, we opened the Gramona Imperial Gran Reserva 2004. That was CAVA!

    I have discovered a lot of nice cava’s in Holland and Belgium the past year, and it will be my favorite sparkling wine ever.
    See also http://wijnlog.blogspot.com/search/label/Cava (mostly in Dutch, some in English).
    Thx again for introducing us to this fantastic drink! Kind regards from Utrecht, from all of us.

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