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

Segura Viudas Brut Rosado

segura viudas This is a real classic that I have recommended to so many people. It used to be available at the Swedish monopoly on the shelf for many years but unfortunately no longer. It has really been one of those cavas I have "fallen back on" and often had some in my cellar "just in case" you know.

It is a very nice, easy rosé that suits most people it seems and it still has character in my opinion. It is made from 90% trepat and 10% garnacha, which makes it fruity, but not in that strawberry/pinot way, if you know what I mean. This fruitiness is more of a cherry, cranberry, raspberry style which I like. The mousse is good and it is an overall nice and likable rosé. Here in Sweden it costs 89:- and you have to order it (nr 7779) at the monopoly. But I think it is definitely worth it, if you what something good but not very complicated for a low price, to just pop when you feel like it.

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.

 

Preparing in excess for Happy Friday cava

Two of my very good friends here in Stockholm live just 100 meters from my parents. Although I'm at my parents quite often, I don't see L and R half as much as I would like. But this evening we have a date! L is a childhood friend of mine who is much wiser than me in so many aspects. Just one example is that she already in her teens fell in love with Barcelona and learned Spanish. (Clever clever girl!) And in Barcelona she found R! R has also started to try to teach me Spanish, although our lessons are long over due now (I think our last lesson was in January). So I just think we need to start all over. But it is all good since Andréas now finally has come around and wants to learn Spanish too.

Tonight L and R asked me to cook beef wellington, since they have been longing for this but are a bit uncertain on how to cook it. And I am most happy to oblige. I love beef wellington!

So now I have prepared everything, and the Wellington is resting in the fridge, while wating to get its cover of puff pastry. It will be great I'm sure. After a few times of cooking this dish I have now learned how to make it quite well. One of the keys is to have a fillet that is evenly thick and max 1 kg. Otherwise it gets to big to handle and falls apart when you roll it in the puff pastry. If you want to try it yourself I suggest Gordon Ramsay's receipt.

So to night we will have R's tapas to start, together with Cava, of course! And then Wellington with roasted potatoes, garlic butter and a cream sauce. And to the Wellington more Cava!

First I think we will have Freixenet's Trepat 2010, since I love this very pale rosé with it's delicate fruit. And to the Wellington we will have Jaume Giró i Giró, gran Reserva 2005.

I think that it will be all wonderful! But the best of it all is that I'll have a whole evening with my lovely husband Andréas and my fantastic friends L and R!

 

Happy Friday Cava! And hope that you have a bottle of Cava on ice to!

Agusti Torello Mata loves Macabeu!

I miss Penedès so much! It is again minus degrees here in Sweden and even though the sun is shining I get a bit irritated by the fact that the spring seems to take its time to arrive. So in the mean time I sit here and look back on all my trips to "Cava Country" with the warmth, lovely Cava and fantastic People. And I came to think about the first Cava producer I visited during my trip in September, Agusti Torello Mata. ATM is situated just outside Sant Sadurní and is run by the family with he same name. We were lucky to meet almost everyone in the family, and were shown around by Lali one of the daughters. ATM is a fantastic producer with top quality Cavas all through their range. They age their Cavas for a long time and are especially fond of the grape Macabeu. Of course they use other grapes too, but they keep Macabeu closest to their hearts. Their Cava Barrica is made from 100% Macabeu and is partly fermented in oak barrels.

The house of Agusti Torello Mata is probably most famous for their Cava Kripta that has become a real "cult Cava". Kripta is a Brut Nature made from Macabeu 45%, Xarel·lo 20% and Parellada 35% and aged for a minimum of 48 months with a cork. Every thing is made by hand, when it comes to handling. Kripta is also very easy to recognize since the design is quite special when it comes to the bottle shape and the fantastic artwork on the label (see picture here on the left). If you have the chance to try this Cava (or any of the Torello Mata family Cavas) I highly recommend you to do that. If you want to have a look at their total portfolio and get some more information about the company I suggest you have a look at their web site that you find HERE.

Here comes some pictures from my visit with the family.

 

Pink bubbles for Valentines Day

It is a lot of discussions about what to drink on Valentines day and many of us seems to be very focused on Pink bubbles. I like the idea and just say Go ahead!Personally I'm going to drink my pink bubbles tonight and probably "normal" bubbles tomorrow. But we will see.

I just wanted to give you some Cava inspiration when it comes to pink bubbles. But since I have no idea what brands and bottles that are available where just YOU are, I'll just go crazy and recommend some that I just like. And this is no ranking, just nice Cavas!

  • Juvé y Camps rosé, made from Pinot noir.
  • Segura Viudas rosado, made from Trepat and 10% Granacha.
  • Pere Ventura brut rosé, made from Trepat.
  • Mont Marcal brut rosé, made from Trepat.
  • Freixenet Cordon rosado, made from 70 % Trepat and 30 % Granacha
  • Freixenet Elyssia rosé, 85 % Pinot noir, 15 % Trepat
  • Codorniu Pinot noir rosé, 100% Pinot noir
  • Gramona Rosé, 100% Pinot rosé
  • Vilarnau Rosé,  90 % Trepat and 10% Pinot noir

 

 

Trepat

Now when we have gone through all the green grapes that are allowed when it comes to Cava production, it is time for the blue ones. We will start off with Trepat, which I think is my favorite blue Cava grape. This grape is very special and is not used much elsewhere, as far as I know. Trepat buds early, but takes a long time to mature. Because of this it is among the last variety to be harvested. Trepat grows in relatively large, bright blue almost purple bunches and is strong and durable in nature. The grapes from Trepat may, under current regulations only be used for the production of rosé cava. And is the only grape that is subjected to restrictions when it comes to use. Trepat is a wonderful grape that offers fruity wines with medium alcohol and balanced acidity.

Rosé caves made on 100% Trepat is not very hard to come by. At least not in Spain...

If you are curious on cavas made on Trepat I can suggest the following, which should not be too hard to find.

Freixenet makes a great 100% Trepat, that is a vintage. So this Cava  will of course change a bit depending on the harvest. Personally I think that makes everything so much more exciting! This cava is just called Trepat 2006 (or what ever vintage it might be). It is very light in color, and very fruity. I love it!

The house of Vilarnau also has a Brut rosé based on Trepat, but here they have also added 10% pinot noir. It is a fresh and fruity Cava with a great pink color. Vilarnau also has a great design in my opinion.

 

The house of Mont Marcal also makes a very nice rosé cava with 100% trepat. And like Vilarnau they have a great design on their over all range in my opinion. The rosé has very nice fruity cherry notes and is over all very elegant.

 

 

 

 

Last but not least the producer Pere ventura should be mentioned, since also they have a great rosé cava made from 100% Trepat. This is also a great fruity cava with all those red fruits that are so great with trepat. I think this was one of my husbands favorites, last we visited the area, if I'm not mistaken.

 

But he does seem to have developed a special love fore the Trepat The rosés made on the Trepat is different from the once we are normally used to, since they are often made on Pinot noir. And I must say that I like the trepat maybe just because it is a bit special. If you try one, please let me know what you thought about it. Either in the comment field here below or send me and e-mail at: Anna@annawallner.se

 

 

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!