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

Bottles that will keep you going until spring comes!

Do you like me long for Spring?I hate this cold, snow, ice and gloomy weather, so much that I have become totally addicted to tulips! Maybe because I can't enjoy bubbles in the same way as before due to a growing belly. But I thouht I'd give you all some tips regarding nice bottles that might help you brighten up that gray winter day! All these bottles are also avalible at the swedish monopoly, for all you poor people that share my unfortunate situation of beeing stuck here in the snow.

IMG_1030.JPGBombonetta by Jaume Giró i Giró, This bottle is one of my long time favourites from the winemaker Ramón. It is a brut Gran Reserva aged for a minimum of 40 months. Grapes: 38% Xarel.lo, 17% Parellada, 17 % Macabeu 15% Pinot Noir and 13% Chardonnay. Wonderful fresh stye with flowers, nuts and baked goods in the nose. Great soft bubbles. At the monopoly in Sweden you can now buy this bottle for 229 SEK, which is a GREAT price! (Special ordering segment nr: 77591) A real "must buy"!

 

 

de nitDe Nit by Raventós i Blanc, This sparkling wine (Raventós left DO Cava in 2012) gives me real spring feelings! It is a very pale rosé, that is super crisp and elegnat. I LOVE it! It is an extra brut Reserva aged for a minimum of 18th months. Grapes: 42% macabeu, 37% xarel-lo, 14% parellada and 7% monastrell. Super fresh with its white grape base, but with a rich fruity pallet that really makes you think of spring. And nothing makes you long for summer as a rosé! Can be bought at the monopoly for 169 SEK. (Special ordering segment nr: 77423)

OliviaOlivia by Castell D'Age If you are looking for something ecologic this cava is a great spring choise. It is actually aged in oak, which gives a little touch that I like. It is a Reserva brut nature, so no added sugar. Grapes: 100% chardonnay. This cava is my clear favourit from this house. It is fruity, with clear notes of bread from the ageing but those subtil oak notes realy make it that extra special. It can be bought at the monopoly for 171 SEK. (Special ordering segment nr: 77169)

These are my three tips for right now! Hope you like them!

Bubbly hugs!!

 

 

Three Rosés for the summer!

This week´s CavaTV episode is out and I promised to write about the cavas in more detail here. So here we go! ElyssiaFreixenet Elyssia pinot noir Grapes: Pinot noir 85% Trepat 15% Code at Systembolaget: 77151 Price: 173 SEK Ageing: >18 months Dosage:9 gr/l Red fruits in the nose like rassberry and blackberry. Nice bubbles and texture with lingering fruits in the aftertaste. Pairs well with abit spicier tapas like spicy rosted almonds, smoked shrimps and olives.

MascaroMascaró Rubor Aurorae Price: About 12 USD Ageing: >12 months Dosage: 6 gr/l Cherries and strawberries in the nose that stays also in the mouth with a elegant and subtle aftertaste. The acidity is refreshing and the bubbles creamy. A very elegant cava that is great as an apperitiff, but that is well suited to tapas and food like really good and nutty jamon, rosted nuts and great big green olives.

MassuauFerrer i Catassús's Mas Suau Grapes: Trepat and Monastrell Code at Systembolaget: 77148 Price: 121 SEK Ageing: >18 months Dosage: ? Lots of intense red fruits, rasberries, strawberries and red current. A soft mouse and nice acidity with the fruits lingering in the aftertaste. Pairs well with more flavour intense tapas like smoked gambas, chorizo and well matured manchego.

 

Forcing spring and Happy Friday Cava!

 sippor I know that I'm going on and on about the spring that is just not coming. But now it is close, so close. The sun has been shining for over a week now, but since it is still cold the snow just does not want to go away. But I found these small flowers on a sunny slope this afternoon while walking the dog. So there is hope!

But there is more one can do to get that spring feeling. For example hacking up all the ice and snow on the porch, so it will melt faster in the sun, and plant seeds. I have done both. And I'm so happy that my small geraniums are doing alright. pelargonAnd more things are to come and this summer I will have both flowers and herbs and vegetables that are all home grown! But the final and most important way of forcing and enhancing the feeling of spring is after all Rosé Cava! So this afternoon I put a very nice and fruity bottle from Valformosa on ice (literaly as you can see). And now when I'm done writng this I'll pop the cork together with my darling husband.

I can highly recommend Valformosas Rosé, because it will make anyone happy. Based on Granacha and Monastrell it has that fantastic fruity, meditarainian style that is to die for! Next time you are close to Villafranca, you should really take the time to visit them. Situated just 5 minutes outside the city centre.

This is my Friday tip to you... Take someone you love and share something nice with them, a glass of cava, some food, a hug, a nice memory from the spring last, and you'll see that you will get that warm spring feeling.

                                                                 Happy Friday! cava

Starting the day at Vallformosa

A great sunny morning and the days first visit. I must admit that I feel a bit strange travelling the Penedès without Andréas, but he had to go home so there is nothing much to be done about that. Vallformosa is quite a big winery and it is very easy to find the way since it is just outside Vilafranca and big signs show the way. And coming by car from Sant Sadurní it just takes 15 minutes.

It is a beautiful house and there is also a new centre where you can have meetings and tastings up to 350 people, if I remember correctly. But I was alone and met up with Angel, that showed me around.

We started in the garden, just by the house where the family still lives. And the winery is still run by the family members, all having different roles. They have been working very hard and Vallformosa is now exporting to many countries around the world.

What I like especially is that the family has taken care of all old things and you really get a good understanding of how complicated things must have been just 50 or 60 years ago.

The production now is very modern and effective, and it is no problem to handle the range of wines and Cavas made here.

At the end we of course reach the tasting room and I have the luck to be able to taste some great things. I especially fell in love with their rosé made by 50% garnacha and 50% monastrell. It is just so much Penedès in my mind.

If you are lucky (you living in Uppsala) I might put it in the rosé tasting I'm planning. :-)

 

Raventós i Blanc

After the weekend of Cavatast, we moved to Raventós i Blanc. They have been so kind as to let us stay in a little house they have on their estate, just above their winery. It is a wonderful place and we love being here. We have everything we need and never ever want to go home, even though we know we have to. Raventós i Blanc is actually on of the few Cava producer that has products available in Sweden. Their brut which is a mix of traditional grapes and very nice indeed, then their De Nit which as a pale pale rosé which looks like diamonds on a glass made from macabeu 50%, xarel-lo 25%, parellada 20% and monastrell 5%, and earlier they had one more avalible at the monopoly that I think is out now.

Raventós i Blanc also makes still wines and during our stay here we have had the great opportunity to try their red named 11, it is from the 2007 harvest and blended with 75% Monastrell and 25% Cabarnet Sauvignon. A fantastic wine that is fruity and spicy at the same time and with a silky touch. We just love it! Too bad we can’t get it in Sweden.

If you ever plan to go to Penedès and visit some wineries, I definitely recommend you to visit Raventós i Blanc.

Here are some pictures and I promise to add more when we have taken some.

 

 

 

 

Planing for future "Happy Friday Cava"

Here in Sweden we have a monopoly when it comes to alcohol, called Systembolaget. This makes it hard for me to suggest Cavas to the people living here since there is some planning needed if you want any Cavas over 99 kronor (about 10 €).There are in total 72 Cavas available at Systembolaget and 58 of these you have to order especially if you want them and wait for about 8 days for them to be ready for pick up. I know it is absurd!

So today when we are all getting ready for "Happy Friday Cava" it is not easy for us to just go and pick up the bottle of our choice. SO because of this I'm ahead of schedule and will today suggest a Cava for the Swedish readers to order, so if you are lucky you will have it for next Happy Friday Cava event! All of the rest of you living elsewhere are probably more lucky since you will most likely be able to buy this great Cava in a store not to far away from where you are right now, since as you see on the map below they are all over the world!

The Cava I'm talking about today is Raventós i Blanc De Nit

Raventós i Blanc is a fantastic place and I really recommend you to visit them when you are in Penedés next time. And of course their Cavas are wonderfull. But the one that caught my heart right away was the De Nit.

De Nit is a very pale rosé, so elegant in colour that is would suit any larger banquet or movie premier, because it will make anyone feel like a V.I.P or a moviestar.  It is so clear that it is like diamonds in a glass. It is made from the traditional grapes Macabeu (50%), Xarel.lo (25%) and Parellada (20%) but also has a twist of Monastrell (5%) that gives that special colour. It is fruity crisp and oh so elegant on the tongue.

So how do you get your hands on one (or several)? In Sweden you go up on Systembolagets website and you order it. It is only 149 kronor a bottle which I in my opinion is a bargain. And then you cross your fingers that Systembolaget will be quick about it! (77423 is the ordering number.)

If you do not live in Sweden I recommend you to have a look at Raventós i Blanc's website to see where you can get it. Or you can of course google it and have a look at all the web shops available.

I sincerely recommend you to try this Cava even though it needs to be ordered especially if you live in Sweden. But trust me, it is worth the wait!

 

Monastrell

The grape of today is Monastrell. It is said that it was Monastell that was used when sparkling wines were first made in Spain. This has changed and in recent years the usage of this grape has decreased allot. The Monastrell vine thrives in most soils and gives moderate yields. The bunches are medium sized and somewhat airy, with small, blue, round, firm grapes. Monastrell give full-bodied wines with a slightly higher alcohol content and balanced acidity and is often used for rosé cava since it provides must with intense colour.

 

When it comes to find cavas based on Monastrell, you have to look quite hard.

But the house of Marqués de Monistrol actually has four rosé cavas that are based on Monastrell and Pinot noir. One standard rosé, two vintage rosé and one Gran tradición.

I must admit though that I  have not visited the house and therefor have little to say about the cavas. But the house of Monistrol is very big so it is probably not to hard to find their cavas.

If you try them, please let me know what you think. I'd be more than happy to hear about it, e-mail me or just reply on this blog post.

 

One of the things that makes cava different

One of the many things I like with cava is the grapes. Because here we come across some interesting grapes that are not widely used. There are nine grape varieties allowed for the production of cava, five green and four blue. The green grapes are; Parellada, Xarel-lo, Macabeu, Malvasia (Subirat parent) and Chardonnay. The blue are; Red Garnacha, Monastrell, Trepat and Pinot Noir.

Since I started my cava project, with the book writing and all, I often get questions about the grapes, so I thought I'd make it a bit clear with a series of blogposts that will be easy for you to go back to if you need this info ever again. Because the use of grapes is one of the things that makes cava so diverse and different.  So here we go!