Cava de Paraje Calificado - Tasting at the Winery Hotel Stockholm

On Saturday the 26th of May I was invited to attend a tasting arranged by Vinguiden, a swedish company that helps customers to find good wines, through information and education. 

I was extra happy since this tasting was focused on quality cava and the new category Cava de Paraje Calificado which is the real top among cavas. 


CPC-225-cansala-lacapella.jpg

Cava de Paraje Calificado

Or CPC for short, is a new classification that stipulates high set standards both on the vines, the harvest, yields and vinification, everything to create a truly unique cava that represents the soul and heart of the land from which it originates. (If you'd like to know more about the hard facts you can follow the Blue link above.) 
 

Even though CPC was presented and introduced the summer of 2017, there are cavas that already carry the seal of the classification. This is because it is applied retroactivly on all wines that can show that they have met all the criteria that are stipulated for the clarification. 


The tasting was as mentioned focused on both quality cava without the CPC-classification and CPC-cavas. This is what we tried with facts and my comments. 

CPC-Jaume-Heredad-Agusti.jpg

Jaume de Codornìu Gran Reserva 2012

Vintage: 2012
Grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot noir, Xarel-lo
Harvest: Manual
Type: Gran Reserva
Style: Brut
Ageing: >40 months
Vineyard: Sagrià/Chardonnay
Conca de Barberà/Pinot noir
Penedès/Xarel-lo
Dosage: 10 gr/L

Comment: I think this cava is very elegant and crisp. Well balanced with the fruity notes of apple, pears and citrus, together with the aged notes of delicate bread. This cava is for those who likes a fruity style but still very crisp and elegant. 


CPC-Jaume-Heredad-Agusti.jpg

Heredad (Segura Viudas)

Vintage: NV
Grapes: Macabeu 67%, Parellada 33%
Harvest: Manual
Type: Reserva
Style: Brut
Ageing: >24 months
Vineyard: Alt Penedès
Dosage: 11 gr/L

Comment: It was a long time since I had the Heredad, and I must admit that I like it very much. It has personality, and among the fruit and delicate aged notes there is a homly taste of rubber that I really like. If you like your cavas a bit more rounded off and full, you might like this one. 


CPC-Jaume-Heredad-Agusti.jpg

Agustí Torelló Mata
Gran Reserva Barrica

Vintage: 2012
Grapes: Macabeu 100%
Harvest: Manual
Type: Gran Reserva
Style: Brut Nature
Ageing: >30 months
Vineyard: Depresión Penedès
Dosage: 0,5 gr/L

Comment: I fell a bit in love with this cava when I first tried it many years ago. The wonderful fruit coming from the macaque with pears and goseberries together with the subtil taste coming from the oak, on which 40% of the base wine has been for eight months. This is a cava to love if your are fond of a bit of those gentle vanilla and roasted cookie flavors. 


CPC-225-cansala-lacapella.jpg

225 (Torelló)


Vintage: 2013
Grapes: Xarel-lo 50%, Macabeu 29%, Parellada 21%
Harvest: Manual
Type: Cava de Paraje Calificado
Style: Brut Nature
Ageing: >36 months
Vineyard: Can Martí
Dosage: 0 gr/L

Comment: This is a truly fantastic cava with tiny bubbles, a fantastic acidity and a fruit that balances great with the extra dimension that the oak gives. This is a bit more power behind the wood than the Agustí Torelló Mata Barrica and hence suites you who likes your cavas powerful and strong. I know I do. 


CPC-225-Cansala-Lacapella2.jpg

Can Sala (Freixenet)

Vintage: 2007
Grapes: Parellada, Xarel-lo
Harvest: Manual
Type: Cava de Paraje Calificado
Style: Brut Nature
Ageing: >108 months (9 years)
Vineyard: Sant Quinti de Medonia
Dosage: 3 gr/L

Comment: This cava is amazing! Sorry to say I think this vintage is out of stock now. It is powerful and stil very vital with fruit but of course lots of aged notes like toast, brioche, marzipan, nuts honey and funny enough a bit of gunpowder. I love love love it!


CPC-Lacapella-close.jpg

La Capella (Juvé y Camps)

Vintage: 2010
Grapes: Xarel-lo 100%
Harvest: Manual
Type: Cava de Paraje Calificado
Style: Brut Nature
Ageing: >87 months
Vineyard: La Capella
Dosage: 2 gr/L

Comment: La Capella is a truly unique creation. Tasting it you can't really believe it being so old as a 2010. It has youth and vibrance in both fruit and acidity and delicate but clear aged notes like toast, mild biscuits like english shortbread and nuts. This cava is a queen in its own sense clearly!


Where does the Cava de Paraje Calificado grow?

In the beginning of July the first sites of the new cava classification were chosen. Better late than never I guess, because it has been a very slow process. If the road that the D.O. Cava have chosen, to promote themselves, will be successful is yet to be seen. But personally I’m hopeful that Cava de Paraje might help to spread awareness about the long aged cavas among the more interested consumers. But we need to remember that the production of these bottles is very low and the crowd that buys them small.

The first 12 sites that has been accepted for the “Cava de Paraje Calificado” (insane that there is no English translation) are spread out both among the big producers and smaller premium houses.

Recaredo´s Turó D’en Mota is of course among the sites and if you want you can read more about this special vineyard in earlier posts here on the blog. Also the house of Torelló have their old vineyards of Can Martí on the list which is happy news, although not surprising. I won’t comment on all the houses but just say that I think it is great that this becomes a reality and I hope that the list will grow in the future.

The 12 Cava sites, and the houses that own them:

  • Vinyes de Can Martí – Torelló
  • Turó d’en Mota – Recaredo
  • Serral del Vell – Recaredo
  • Vallcirera – Alta Alella
  • La Capella – Juvé i Camps
  • Can Sala – Freixenet
  • La Pleta – Codorníu
  • El Tros Nou – Codorníu
  • La Fideuera – Codorníu
  • Can Prats – Vins el Cep
  • Font de Jui – Gramona
  • Terroja – Castellroig

I'm really looking forward to trying all these wines when they are out in store. Even though some already are although not under the new classification.

Torelló -Where tradition meets perfection.

Driving from Sant Saduní d’Anoia, we take the winding road up towards Gelida. Like so many times before we turn left at the sign marking the private road leading to Can Martí de Baix, and the Torelló winery. This time the sign looks older and the paint has started to fall off a little bit. The road finds it’s way down between the vineyards and silver leafed olive trees, and I recognise one of the old tractors ploughing in between the vines. Harvest is over for this year and it is time for the old vines to get some rest before the pruning starts in January. We drive over the bridge that takes us over the motorway, leading between Barcelona and Tarragona, but funny enough we hear nothing of the sounds from the AP-7 when we have taken the last dive leading down to the old property. I almost forgot how peaceful it is down here in the valley.

Can Martí de Baix, is a unique Catalan property and the Torelló family has been growing grapes here since 1395, and you can really feel the history echoing in the cellars and halls when walking around.

The first time we visited Torelló, Andréas and I, were struck by all the details. The old cellars and the stones that make up the walls, the old vines that has been pulled up out in the vineyards and kept as decorations in the cellars, which always reminds me of life and how we all grow older. I must admit that the cellars here are my all time favourites. I never grow tired of walking up and down the narrow corridors of bottles, listening to Toni telling the Torelló story. Toni, together with his brother Paco are running Torelló, together with their parents, and are by doing so continuing a tradition that has been kept within the family since the Middle Ages, actually now on the 23rd generation. It is really incredible when you think about it, and I once asked Toni what would have happened if he and Paco had wanted to pursue other careers? Smiling he answered that luckily neither of them wanted to do anything else. The vines and wines are in their blood and they belong here. Lucky for us I must say, because without the Torelló cavas, the world would be a much duller place.

The family only grows their own grapes both for wine and cava, and there is nothing they don’t do themselves, through out the process. Their long winegrowing tradition has thought them how the lands around Can Martí works and how the vines should be kept for the optimal quality. They grow xarel-lo, macabeo, parellada, chardonnay, pinot noir and garnacha for the cava production and another five varieties for their still wines.  All the grapes are grown ecologically and of course picked by hand. They are also sorted a second time when they arrive at the winery to make sure all the damage grapes are taken out. The pressing is then done with nitrogen in the press to avoid any oxidation in the base wine. This is especially important since Torelló only produces Reserva and Gran Reserva cavas.  With most of their production aging for more than 30 months, it is especially important to avoid oxidation if you want to keep the fruity freshness when the cava grows older.

They do succeed in my opinion, since the cavas coming from Sant Martí always hold a very high quality. Like distinguished ladies they carry their age with grace and never lose their finesse, elegance or ability to intrigue.

The Spanish wine day in Stockholm

This Monday I saw a lot of friends at the Spanish wine days in Stockholm. I must say that it is very practical to be able to see so many people at the same time. I got to taste some new interesting things as well and my youngest (3 months now), got to "enjoy his first wine fair. I think the older one was about the same age when she got to visit her first fair. ;-) sangriaAmong the happy events was that I had the pleasure to see my friend Lotten that works for Freixenet here in Stockholm. She is just the best and I had not seen her for a long time. Between all the catching up I got to taste their new Sangria that is fresh out of the Mia-series made by Gloria Collell. I do make my own sangria normally, but I can really see why this ready-to-drink-sangria is going really well here in sweden, and that it soon will have its own listing at the monopoly. Fresh, fruity and not overly sweet. Of course it is sweet because sangria is suposed to be, but less than I was expecting. There is both a red and a white for 79 SEK if I remember correctly. I only tried the white, that is made from macabeu grapes and juice from both lemon and orange. Really perfect to ad to the picnic basket I'd say!

Gramona was also represented by their wonderful importer, Terrificwines. Anderas is truly passionate about the wines he represents and had a crowd around him constantly. We could catch up a tiny bit at least and I could taste Gramona Imperial 2011, which is the latest vintage that I had not yet tried. No disappointments there. Gramona delivers every time.

I also had the pleasure to see the representative of Castell D'Age, Olivia, that I have long since wanted to meet. So now finally when we go down for cavaTast we will make a visit to the winery, and I promise you a full report. Castell D'Age has really nice caves that are all ecologic which is always a plus.

Last but not least I got once again try the wonderful caves of house Torelló, that has FINALLY come to Sweden thanks to the importer Lancell. Thank you thank you thank you! I can't say anything else than that I love what they do.

It is not easy going to a fair with a 3 month old baby, but I must say that he was a real champion! But one hour was more than enough before we headed home. Now I'm preparing him and his sister for all the wonderful wine visits we will do ones we are back in Penedés. If I'm lucky they just might like it and grow up to be winemakers themselves! ;-)

We are running very low on cava...

The problem with loving cava in Sweden, is that the diversity available is not what it should...Luckily we have a friend in Denmark, who imports some really great cavas, but unfortunately we have been bit short on time to go visit and stock up, due to the children. Yes I blame the children. ;-)

But for you living in Denmark or who happens to be close to Århus, I can very much recommend to check out Lars website! http://www.vildmedcava.com

Among other houses he has available you will find: -Bertha -Castel d'Age -Torelló -Muscándia -Jaume Giró i Giró -Castel Sant Antoni

 

Nya stjärnor på systembolaget

Vi får fler och fler bra cavor att välja bland även här i sverige. De senaste tillskotten på bolaget kommer från ett av Penedès bästa cavahus, Torelló. Jag har länge saknat dem och nu finns åtminstone två av representanter ur husets portfölj att beställa via beställningssortimentet. Dessvärre endast i kolli om 6 flaskor, men de kommer till ett så bra pris att jag inte ser det som ett problem. FullSizeRender-2 Torelló Special Edition nr 77806

Denna cava kallas ofta för "Barcelona edition", då flaskans heltäckande dekor är helt inspirerad av den katalanska huvudstaden, med bland annat landmärken som Sagrada Familia. Det är en traditionell blandning av Xarel.lo, Macabeu och Parellada, lagrad minimum 24 månader och smakar just som en välgjord traditionell cava skall smaka. Helt ärligt har jag rekommenderat denna till allt från "mingelbubbel", till skaldjurstallrikar och som "gå-borts-pressent". Den är otroligt gångbar och jag har inte träffat någon som inte gillat den. Inte helt snustorr, då det är en "brut", och med frisk smak, samt både lagrade toner och ungdomlig frukt kvar i smaken. Jag skulle kunna ge en intrikat beskrivning av honung, vita blommor, persika och allsköns aromer som kan beskriva denna cava, men helt ärligt tycker jag det blir lite långtråkigt att läsa alla dessa vinbeskrivningar. Jag begränsar mig till att säga att den är SUPER, ordentligt med "pang för pengarna" helt enkelt! Testa får du se!

Torelló Pàl-Lid Brut Rosé Reserva nr 77834

Detta är en av husets nyaste tillskott och är underbart lätt, frisk och fräsch. Till skillnad från husets traditionella rosé som är djupt rosa är denna ljust laxrosa, och namnet Pàl-Lid betyder just blek på katalan. Den är som moderna roséviner gjord på Pinot noir och smakar där efter med röda bär i förgrunden. Härligt fruktig och lätt, men även med karaktär som den fått från sina (minst) 18 månaders lagring på flaska. Det blir inte mer passande än så här till sommaren. Jag tror att få roséfantaster kommer att bli besvikna på denna, eller ha problem med att det är kollikrav på minst sex flaskor vid beställning.

Jag kan VARMT rekommendera båda dessa cavor från ett av mina absoluta favorithus. 

Är du  på väg ned till Barcelona på semester? Då tycker jag att du skall besöka Torelló, för det är ett helt fantastiskt cavahus.

Vill du läsa mer om cavahuset Torelló så finner du information här:

http://www.torello.com

The book is on the way to print!

My goodness!Even though it was less than two years ago we did the first book I had forgotten how much back and forth mailing it was at the end. Now the second book is finally ready it seems, and is sent to print. We are so excited both me and Andréas. Especially about the fact that we have been able to write about the things we love about Barcelona and Penedès.

We have also had the great opportunity to present 19 producers, and we hope that this will make consumers in Sweden more interested in the area, cavas and the people who make them.

As always we have tried to be as personal as possible. :-)

I cant give you the entire inside of the book but this below is the intro to the chapter about the producers. I'll let you know when it is available in the stores.

Sunny and bubbly regards!

producers

Looking back at 2012 part two

After May and the fantastic trip we had, it was back to work and at the same time finishing up the book. During the summer we did manage to have some wonderful cava moments and many of them were out sailing.

To finish up the book was very hard work but we made it and at the end of August the book came finally from the printer. And we had a great book release in Uppsala.

We presented some of the producers that we have learned to know, and the guests got information about them and an opportunity to try some great cava available in Sweden.

During the later parts of the summer the cavabook and cava in general was seen in Swedish press.

The spanish wine day in Stockholm took place in the middle of september. I had the opportunity to host a tasting with 35 happy wine lovers. And they got the chance to try cavas from Marques de Monistrol, Juvé y Camps, Mestres and Gramona, everything very happily received by the participants. And I was so glad to be able to talk about cava, and spread the word.

Josep from Mestres came up to visit Alambic, and I hope that we will soon see some of their cavas here in sweden.

Then in October it was time for Cava tast and the presentation of the book in Sant Sadurní!

Cava tast grand opening!Last preparation before the presentation. I was so happy and moved that so many showed up and that people were so involved in my project. It was truly a fantastic experience.  

the girls liked the book!

Then we got ready for cava tast in the evening with wonderful cava and the opportunity to meet this years cava queen. A fantastic evening with our friends!

We were also so extremely lucky to be invited to stay at Raventós i Blanc, and they took so good care of us, so we wish that we could move there! We feel truly honored to have such friends. And of course we hope to be able to come back. :-)

We cooked on the BBQ outside, almost every day and could enjoy the fantastic cava the house makes. De Nit, the pale rosé made by Ravenós i Blanc is truly one of my favorites. But we managed to try most of their portfolio and I'm very glad that we do get some of their great cavas in Sweden.

 

 

 

 

One day we took a trip in to Barcelona to visit Quim in the Boqueira, and to leave him a book as promised. And I had the chance to have my favorite on the menu; caramelized foi. We just love El Quim and really long for coming back to have lunch again.

The 13th of October Andréas had his birthday and we went to Florian and Veronica at Cal ruget so have some dinner. And they had made it so nice that we could not have wished fore anything better! and they had bought Andréas a cake!

The day after Andréas had to go home and I moved in with my dear friends Rosó and Partic. And we started to visit Colomer where we had a fantastic time!

The big event after Andréas had left was the tasting Recaredo held for the anniversary of Reserva Particular. A fantastic event with old  vintages of exceptional quality.

After the amazing tasting we got equally amazing food in the winery. El Cellar de Can Roca made the food and it was amazing to say the least!

I visited Valformosa on a very sunny morning and had a wonderful tour with Angel, who showed me around. And I also had the chance to try a wide ranch of their great cavas.

 

 

 

Me and my wonderful hosts also visited Marues de Gelida and tried one of their bio cavas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I also went to se Toni at Torelló, on the way towards Gelida. And I really do not understand why I have not visited them before. I had a great time there and Toni showed me the production and told me about the family history which was extremely interesting. Next time I'll bring Andréas along.  Toni also showed me a fantastic new press that I had not seen before. A way of filling the press with gas (I don't remember which one) so the grapes has no way to oxidize. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I came home and started working again, I fond Vilarnau Cava when I was flying from a very small airport in sweden. I was very surprised but very happy! Cava is spreading!

 

 

Then The Swedish book came! And now the work is done. English and Swedish version done and printed, and now will will see what happens.

In november I also found out that I had been picked out  among all swedish wine books this year as the "best wine book in the world (Except france)" in the Gourmand cook book awards, and now I have made it to the final in February. It is me against 4 outer books. So now I cross my fingers!

At the end of the year we needed to get all our books and papers ready for the tax office and to make it a bit more fun we found a Cordon negro in the fridge! Jiipii!

 

 

 

 

And just before christmas I read in the biggest swedish daily paper that Raventós i Blanc's brut nature was recommended with 6 out of 6 points, which indicates "a bargain" in that papers terms. I was so happy for my friends at Raventós and for all cava lovers!

 

 

 

Then New years eve came and we had a great dinner with our frineds at our house with lots of great cava. A fantastic way to end 2012!

 

I have probably forgot many wonderful things that happend this year. But I have such a mess among my photos, and I do know that many are missing. But I think I got most of it.

 

Now I just want to wish you all a fantastic 2013, and I hope that it will be a great one with a nice harvest and a lot of new chances to explore new cavas and meet new producers and cava lovers!

Happy New Year!!

 

Still time to buy bubbles for New Year's Eve

Here in Sweden we have a monopoly as many of you all ready know. This makes it a bit more difficult for us to buy bubbles for New Years. One reason is that we don't have a very wide selection if we have not planed in advanced and ordered especially. The other reason is the opening times at the monopoly shops around Christmas. But still there is time to go and buy some bottles so we all have something we like, when we are to celebrate the coming of the new year. Since I'm out in last minute again, I will give you Swedes some tips on what you can find in the shelf selection at Systembolaget. And then some suggestions for the rest of you who might not be restricted by a monopoly. Ok Sweden first:

Raventós i Blanc Brut Nature, is a great classical Cava, and a lot of nice bubbles for your money. 99:- at the monopoly. I love Raventos, and have my self ordered their DeNit that is available in the special ordering section. A very pale rosé that looks like diamonds in the glass. If you are in Penedés any time soon I recommend that you visit the bodega. Raventos is a great place.

For the people who like a crisp citrusy tone like my friend Kajsa does, I recommend Freixenet's classic, Cordon Negro. The first Cava that came in at Systembolaget, and that has stayed on ever since. A classic for 72:-.

 

A third suggestion is a classic from Codorníu. Their Anna de Codorníu is a Chardonnay based Cava and very fresh and fruity with a slight bready finish. I have heard that "Anna" is Spain's most sold Cava around Christmas and new years, and here in Sweden it has also grown very popular. 99:- at the monopoly.

 

For the rest of you not effected by a monopoly:

Anything from the winery Mestres. A very small and high end producer. My favourit at the moment is their Brut nature Vi Sol. A fantastic cava with bready and crisp notes. These Cavas are not the cheapest, but they are well worth the price. Hopefully we will soon find at least one of their products in Sweden, but we'll see towards the spring and see how things go.

My friend Kajsa is also a fan. :-)

Juvé y Camps makes a lot of very nice Cava but right now (and for a while) I have had their Milesimé as a favorite. 100% Chardonnay and very fruity and with a nice bread tone. I have personally allready shared two bottles with the extended family this christmas. It reminds me of sunny days in the Penedès.

 

Last but not least I would suggest Parés Baltà's Blanca Cusiné, that I my self will have as a part of our New Year's dinner.  It is made of  Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and a great flavor of bread, hazelnut, and fruit. And of top of it all it is biologically made.

A very nice family that have found the code of making great wine and cava. And I really look forward to popping the cork on our Blanca Cusiné magnum in a few days.

 

I would of course like to give you so many more suggestions from my favorite producers, but it would be to much. But if you find something from Gramona, Torelló, Llopart, Giro i Giro, Sant Antoni, Collomer, Recaredo, Nadal, Agustí Torelló Mata, Pere Ventura, Mascaró, Vilarnau or Valformosa for example, they have wonderful Cavas and you will never be disappointed. There are so much Cava to try and I can not remember all the Cava. But I miss them all and hope that May will come soon so I can see all my friends in Penedès soon again.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

Torelló, and more magnums than I have ever seen before!

Cavas Torelló is on the way from Sant Sadurní to Gelida. A very winding road that goes up, up and up, until you turn in to the Torelló estate and the road starts to go down again. The road up to the masia is one of the most beautiful I have seen in the Penedès, with olive trees and vineyards on both sides. To be honest the Torelló estate is a little bit of paradise. Also the house is fantastic and you can really tell that the family has been taking care of it in the best of ways for a long time. So much history, and I especially fell in love with the chandelier in their hallway that was very old apparently.

Toni that showed me around is one of the brothers in the family, and they are all together running the company. Me and Toni actually met several times during Cava tast, my book presentation and the coronation of the Cava queen so it feels like we know each other all ready.

Walking through the winery with Toni I learning something new, because Torelló has a press that can press without oxygen ever touching the grapes. Because they fill the press with nitrogen gas! Apparently it works very well so they only use this technique since four or five years back. It is called Inertys .The cellars is absolutely wonderful and bottles stacked in rima everywhere, and everything by hand. Torelló only make reserva and gran reserva and all bottles are moved twice during the ageing time and shaken to reactivate the yeast. This procedure is called battonage and is very time consuming.  Torelló is very focused on Magnums which I love, and they actually have every cava within their portfolio available in magnum. But unfortunately we cant get them in Sweden.

They also make their brut nature gran reserva in jeroboam which I have not seen anywhere. Well of course I have seen cavas in that size before but I have never met a producer that actually has them in "every day production" if you know what I mean. Fantastically cool! To control the pressure and see how the cavas develop is of course important and here three different once were being tested.

We of course also taste some cava, but since I already tried some at Cava tast (their brut nature and their rosé, which are both great), we focused on two of their cavas. Namely their Gran Torelló which is a Gran Reserva brut nature and aged minimum 48 months and contain the traditional grapes, and their 225 gran reserva, which has been aged on oak and then aged in bottle for minimum 30 months. Both fantastic, but I am a bit soft for oak cava I must admit.

If you want to have a look at Torelló's website you will find it here. It is very good indeed and you will find all the information you need in English.

Thank you so much Toni for a wonderful visit! I will bring Andréas as soon as I can because I know that he would love Torelló.