Best European Wine book in the world - Gourmand cook book awards 2019

I’m so happy to anounce that the new print of the cava book (Swedish version), since last week can be called

Best European wine book in the world!!

It won the title last week when Gourmand cook book awards were held in Macau, outside Hongkong.
I must thank all of you that have sent your gratulations and happy wishes the last week! It really warms my heart and makes all the work put into the book, both by Andréas and me, feel sooo worth it.

I hope the title will help spread the love for Spanish sparkling wine even more!

Cavaboken.jpg

Happy New year!

It’s incredible how a year passes by! Now in the morning of the last day of 2018 it really plays out like a film in my mind. So many things I’ve done and learned!

 But now we are soon entering 2019 and it will all be history for sure.
I’m excited about the new year, maybe more excited than in a very long time.

 I truly hope that you are excited about your upcoming 2019, and that you will have a smashing New Year’s Eve, with lots of celebrations!

 

A big hugs and cheers from me to you!

I love diversity, that’s why I love cava

The diversity within the DO Cava is both a blessing and a curse, and many people working with cava would agree on this. I choose to see the positive side. So what is actually so great about it? Well let me explain…

The biggest reason for the great diversity among cava is the fact that nine grape verities that can be used, more to choose form right there. Xarel.lo, macabeu and parellada are the most common verities and make up the backbone in traditional blends. Many people would say that this trio is the soul of cava and what makes it so special. But you also have chardonnay and malvasia among the white grapes allowed. When it comes to the red verities there are trepat, garnacha, monastrell and of course the very popular pinot noir. Since it is now allowed to make blanc de noire also in the DO Cava, with trepat as only exception, the possibilities are many. In my opinion all these red grapes make a great spread of rosé cavas, from the elegant salmon pink to the fruity bright raspberry coloured, that can be enjoyed and used in combination to endless types of food.

The three age classes from the minimum ageing of nine months, to the reserva at a minimum of fifteen months and the gran reserva at thirty months or more, are also one aspect that widens the range of choice. Unfortunately many people only know the very young products and think that this is the only way to have cava. Numerous times I have met wine people and even fellow sommeliers that think that cava cannot be aged, and nothing could be further from the truth. Some even say that the local grapes don’t have the structure to age in a good way, and to those I can very much recommend a trip to the cava houses of Gramona, Recaredo, Juvé y Camps or Castell San Antoni, just to mention a few.

One other aspect that contributes to the wide spread of choice with in the cava family is the price range, and this is a very debated subject. Mass produced or high end, the choice is yours. I’m not saying that this wide spread is all good. But if you exclude the very cheapest bottles from the discussion, I do think it is great that you can find a cava that suits your taste, the occasion and your wallet. Because to be honest, most of us are not made of money and can’t drink 50 Euro bubbles every day, at least I can’t. And one thing that you can be sure of is that you very often get extremely good value for your money, since the land prices and production costs are so much lower in Penedès then say Champagne.

So my dear friends, if you have not already dived in to the sea of great cavas out there and enjoyed the diversity. I highly recommend you to do that as soon as possible and I’m absolutely positive you will find some favourites.

Cheers and happy hunting!

 

Lable or content? - How do you judge your bubbly? …Honestly?

I love blind tastings. I love them because they are so honest. There is just the wine and your taste buds, nothing else to lean back on. Maybe I like this form of tasting because I’ve never felt the pressure to ”like the right stuff”, so I can really relax and be honest. But the wine world is a curious place and not always that welcoming if you don’t have the right skills or opinions. This makes people nervous and I guess that might also be the reason for many to avoid blind tastings. It can be such prestige to name the wines by grape, producer, vintage or what ever is the task at hand. In my opinion that is not what’s interesting, and it has never been my goal to be good at that kind of thing. I focus instead on what I like, and helping others in finding what they like, and that I’m really good at.

Hosting blind tastings I always have one goal, namely finding out what people really like when they turn just to themselves and stop caring about labels, price tags, and ”know-it-all” wine people telling them what is good and what is not. Getting people to do this can be rather tricky though, for there is a notion that you should like certain types of wine to ”have good taste”. For example, to admit that you don’t like the certain style that Champagne has… that takes guts. Because by doing so you basically break every social code there is. Champagne is the essence of passion, glamour, good taste, luxury ect. And by saying you don’t like it, you kind of put your self out of all those contexts too, and who does not want to be glamour’s and have good taste?

So making people let go of all these preconceptions and instead focus on what they like (or maybe don’t like) about each wine, is much more interesting. During these tastings lively discussions always break out after a while when the participants has taken the task to heart. Some people like the ”peachiness” in one glass, others the high acidity in another or maybe the smell of roasted nuts in the third, and this is where it gets interesting. Because by letting consumers focus on what particular tastes or aromas they like in a wine, I can guide them in what style, grape, method or maybe area they might find more bubbly wines to enjoy. It simply makes the wine hunt easier.

In my personal opinion life is all about good wine, nice food and the company of those I love and like to spend time with. If the wine I drink costs 10 Euros or 100 Euros does not really matter as long as I like it, and it goes well to the food and or occasion. Sometimes it is cava, other times it is Champagne or sparkling from South Africa.

And if you think about it too, would you not honestly be happier to drink something that you really love, rather than something someone else really loves or says is good taste?

The Big Cava Charitytasting!

It is quite special to say the least to host a tasting for a hundred people, but special in the most posit ive sense.

On the 4th of May I had the privilege to host a tasting at Norrlands Nation in Uppsala, where all funds collected went directly to the renovations of the nations great hall. Im happy to say that we collected over 20 000 SEK! So thank you so much to all of you who came!

A SUPER BIG THANK YOU also goes to the four cava producers that made it all possible!! Vilarnau, Alta Alella, Castell D'Age and Juvé y Camps! You are the BEST!!

 

People were very excited upon arrival and sat down at tables of eight, together with both friends and new acquaintances. After an introduction of the renovations needed in the great hall preceded by Gustav, Norrlands nations representative, we started up with a short history of the region and rules about cava in general.

We did the tasting in two flights, starting with Vilaranau Brut Nature and Privat from Alta Alella. While I was giving the background on the two cavas, and also introducing more facts about the three signature grapes of cava, everyone started sniffing and comparing. It was clear that people were enjoying themselves from the discussions that emerged. What was especially mentioned with the two wines was the fruitiness and roundness of Vilarnau that many people liked, while the Privat was appreciated for its freshness and clean style.

The next flight was started with AnneMarie from Castell D'Age, but closely followed by Reserva de Familia from Juvé y Camps, for people to be able to compare more aged cavas. While everyone was sniffing and tasting, I talked bit about the difference of the aging criteria when it comes to Cava and Champagne, and also what notes one can expect with increased aging.

Some of the guests that were used to drink Champagne were very surprised over the aging vs. price, and admitted that aged cava is remarkably good value for money, which cava-lovers know since long back. ;-)

AnneMarie was appreciated very much for its elegance, while Reserva de Familia was liked for its well developed and round profile. Here we clearly had two groups with one who preffered AnneMarie and the other Reserva De Familia. But taking the two cavas personality in account I see this as a natural split in personal tastes, just as we found in the first flight.

Doing a small “Gallup” it was pretty clear that the people who preferred Vilarnau in the first flight, had Juvé y Camps as a favourite in the second. While the people who liked Privat also liked AnneMarie better in the second flight. On the whole it was a great event thanks to the happy and very interested crowd that came! I’m so happy and grateful that you all wanted to participate and made this possible!

CHEERS!!

 

 

 

I'm now Sweden's official stock list for Wearing memories!

I'm very happy to announce that I am now Swedens official stock list of Wearing memories! Jippiii! You who follow me on Instagram or Twitter have not missed out on the fact that I collect caps from bottles of cava and other sparkling wines. Since two years back I have been able to wear my collected caps thanks to Wearing Memories wonderful jewelry. So far I have a ring and a bracelet, but soon I will have much more options. And so could you. As soon as my stock arrive from the wonderful land "down under", I will let you know what I have. In the mean time you can always visit www.weringmemories.com or just check out some of these wonderful pieces below.

89af7a_289613511f0a415fb7b497d9eb07736d 89af7a_899ab64b86bf48dea36d5f2e49f8894cmv2_d_4344_2800_s_4_2 89af7a_79dc60e82ae2441ab7f5569647f55916

What's up with the "mushroom corks"?

I have for a long time thought to share some knowledge that I know that a lot of bubble lovers are puzzling over. What's up with the corks that looks like mushrooms in the base. You know the one like the picture above that just has not expanded properly. Many years ago I asked one of my friends in Penedès that works as winemaker for one of the high end producers. This was his explanation.

This mushroom shape is a defect related to the cork quality, known as "green cork" (direct translation). As you know corks for sparkling wines are usually composed of two different parts: the upper part that is agglomerated cork (grinded natural cork that has been  extruded-pressed and glued with different silicones...), and the part that is in contact with the wine. This second part is made of 1 to 3 natural cork layer-discs. These discs have the desired and typical mechanic performance that you desire when closing a bottle. As you well know when fitting the cork in the bottle, you stretch-press it in order to fit inside the neck, afterwards the material expands itself making the bottle "hermetic". If this natural cork is not extracted from the proper tree sections of the cork-oak, or has not had a minimum time of "maturation" (time needed for the bark to achieve the desired mechanical properties), then you may have a problem with the closures. The problem is caused by a fungus in the cork, that makes water penetrate into the cork cells, and this in turn distort the elasticity and the natural ability of this material for recovering its original size after being pressed down the bottleneck. Sparkling wines with is cork are likely to have a quicker evolution - oxidation of the wine since oxygen gan get into the bottle.

So now you know why, and what to expect of the wine next time you come across a "mushroom cork".

Big hugs! /Anna

I love diversity, that’s why I love cava

The diversity within the DO Cava is both a blessing and a curse, and many people working with cava would agree on this. I choose to see the positive side. So what is actually so great about it? Well let me explain…

xarello grapesThe biggest reason for the great diversity among cava is the fact that nine grape verities that can be used, more to choose form right there. Xarel.lo, macabeu and parellada are the most common verities and make up the backbone in traditional blends. Many people would say that this trio is the soul of cava and what makes it so special. But you also have chardonnay and malvasia among the white grapes allowed. When it comes to the red verities there are trepat, garnacha, monastrell and of course the very popular pinot noir. Since it is now allowed to make blanc de noire also in the DO Cava, with trepat as only exception, the possibilities are many. In my opinion all these red grapes make a great spread of rosé cavas, from the elegant salmon pink to the fruity bright raspberry coloured, that can be enjoyed and used in combination to endless types of food.

Bottles in rimaThe three age classes from the minimum ageing of nine months, to the reserva at a minimum of fifteen months and the gran reserva at thirty months or more, are also one aspect that widens the range of choice. Unfortunately many people only know the very young products and think that this is the only way to have cava. Numerous times I have met wine people and even fellow sommeliers that think that cava cannot be aged, and nothing could be further from the truth. Some even say that the local grapes don’t have the structure to age in a good way, and to those I can very much recommend a trip to the cava houses of Gramona, Recaredo, Juvé y Camps or Castell San Antoni, just to mention a few.

Vine yards at RecaredoOne other aspect that contributes to the wide spread of choice with in the cava family is the price range, and this is a very debated subject. Mass produced or high end, the choice is yours. I’m not saying that this wide spread is all good. But if you exclude the very cheapest bottles from the discussion, I do think it is great that you can find a cava that suits your taste, the occasion and your wallet. Because to be honest, most of us are not made of money and can’t drink 50 Euro bubbles every day, at least I can’t. And one thing that you can be sure of is that you very often get extremely good value for your money, since the land prices and production costs are so much lower in Penedès then say Champagne.

So my dear friends, if you have not already dived in to the sea of great cavas out there and enjoyed the diversity. I highly recommend you to do that as soon as possible and I’m absolutely positive you will find some favourites.

Cheers and happy hunting!

Anna and cava

Cava is booming!? …or what is happening?

  Many people often ask me; “It is a real cava trend right now isn’t’ it? I just see cava every where.”. I have to totally agree with them. I have these last years seen a steady trend here in Sweden and also experienced the same on social media. The interest for cava is growing, but I also think that with my own focus I tend to notice cava more since I’m already interested, and so does the people who ask me this question. But there are facts that support that there is actually a cava trend. Just look at all the restaurants that have started to serve cava by the glass and even advertise it outside. There are also specialized cava bars or “cava inspired bars”, that are popping up all over Europe. Even on the island Gotland outside Sweden’s east cost in a very small village called Ljugarn, you can find a very good one. So yes, cava is absolutely growing when it comes to popularity and trendiness. But this development has been going on for quite some time.

In 200IMG_00100 a total of 196,7 million bottles of Cava were produced, of which 50 percent were consumed within Spain. In 2013 there were 241,4 million bottles produced. Not only has the production grown with almost 23 percent during this period, the consumption has also shifted. Now 66 percent is exported and enjoyed by us living outside Spain.

The biggest cava lovers, if we look at volume sold, are found in Germany, followed by the UK, Belgium and the US. Sweden holds place number ten, which I must say is quite good with barley 10 million people. Divided on the population Swedes drink about 0,3 bottles of cava annually, while the Germans who are the biggest importers drink half a bottle of cava per person a year. So maybe the love is not that much bigger in Germany than in Sweden… they are just more people.

Looking at statistics from Consejo Regulador del cava, one interesting thing is to see what type of cava we drink. Almost nine out of ten bottles of cava sold (and I presume consumed), fall in to the category of young cava, that is aged for a minimum of nine months. Only ten percent is aged for more than fifteen months and the production of Gran Reserva (aged minimum 30 months) is only two percent. So it is not strange that most people have an image of cava as young, uncomplicated and rather cheep.

On top of this the statistics show that importing countries don’t really like the really dry cavas, since almost half the bottles we buy are Brut, and 49% is Seco or Semi-Seco!

One might conclude that when it comes to cava outside Spain, what most people drink is approximately half a bottle of very young semi sweet cava a year… and on top of everything they then compare it with champagne! I rest my case.

Do me (and your self) a favour, and go and buy a Gran Reserva Brut Nature in your closest store so we can get a change in the statistics. IMG_1570