Cava like you have never seen it before!
Cava the Spanish equivalent of champagne is generally produced in Catalunya, but also in parts of Rioja and Valcencia. It is made from three grape varieties being Macabeo, Xarel lo and Parellada, some modern day production also uses Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The sparkling process is traditional, with a minimum of 9 months lees ageing (30 months for a Grand Reserva) and a final alcohol level of 10.8 - 12.8% abv.
That was my understanding until I was invited to a Cava tasting by Untapped Wines (importers of great smaller producers from South America & Spain). The tasting showcased Cava from two producers, Celler Credo and Cavas Recaredo, both brands overseen by 3rd generation winemaker Ton Mata.
Let’s start with Celler Credo and their focus on one varietal Xarel lo. This grape is aged on lees, macerated with skins and stems and without sulphites (used for preserving wine). The focus is on life (bio) and movement (dynamics) in which the wines may have certain fragility about them but speak true of their origin. From the samples I had the opportunity to taste, I was left with an impression of texture, line and length with my top three being:
- Celler Credo Aloers Xarel lo 2013 - $60 rrp
- Celler Credo Can Credo Xarel lo 2012 - $95 rrp
- Celler Credo Estrany Xarel lo 2012 - $116 rrp
I then moved on to Cava Recaredo whose production dates back to 1924. It is family owned, their vineyards are dry grown, with biodynamic and organic viticulture. Located in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, the vineyards are 100km from the Pyrenees Mountains and 30km from the Mediterranean sea. Their unique point of interest is ageing their Cava on lees for a minimum of five years which is something I have never sampled before. All bottles are hand disgorged without freezing and respect an aged craft passed down by several generations representing the Recaredo family.
I was simply blown away by the tasting experience, leaving me with an even greater affinity for Cava as a sparkling wine style worth of great respect. The four wines listed below reflect sparkling with balance, length, intensity and incredible complexity, worthy of a special occasion and the very best company:
- Recaredo Brut Nature Gran Reserva Cava 2007 - $100 rrp
- Recaredo Brut de Brut Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava 2004 - $190 rrp
- Recaredo Reserva Particular Brut Nature Gran Reserva Cava 2003 - $350 rrp
- Recaredo Turo D’En Mota Cava 2002 - $510 rrp
So the next time you think of purchasing a sparkling wine, whatever the occasion, give a thought to Cava in all its guises.