VARIETALS: Macabeo, Xarello, Parellada
I love this time of year. My three favorite holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years) are all celebrated within a month or so of each other. Here in the northern Midwest, the temperatures are plummeting and many of us are gladly hunkering down at home. It's the perfect time of year to share some hearty food and delicious wine with your family and friends.
In my opinion, there's nothing better to drink while celebrating a holiday or a special occasion than a sparkling wine. And although many of you will be looking to buy Champagne and Prosecco this holiday season, I highly recommend you try one of my favorite sparkling wines....Cava.
If you're a wine nerd, you've probably tasted Cava before. But I'm guessing that many of you reading this have never even heard of it. Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine that is made in the Champagne style without Champagne prices. You can easily find a high-quality Cava for under $20, which makes it the ideal sparkling wine to buy if you are hosting a big party and want everyone to enjoy some celebratory bubbles (think New Years Eve). Plus, Cava is perfect for making next-morning mimosas.
A LITTLE MORE ABOUT CAVA
There are three primary grape varietals of Cava:
- Macabeo - adds floral and berry flavors
- Xarel-lo - adds acidity
- Parellada - adds citrus flavors
There are also three different quality levels of Cava, indicated by name and a sticker or band on the bottle:
- Cava (Standard) - 9 months minimum aging
- Reserva - 15 months minimum aging
- Gran Reserva - 30 months minimum aging and vintage dated
The 2011 Juve Y Camps Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava is aged for 36 months in the bottle before it's released. It's an awesome wine. Fun Fact: It's so awesome that apparently it is the Cava of choice for Spain's Royal Family. BOOM.
As soon as you pop the cork, you'll smell something like buttery biscuits with peach preserve spread on them. But nothing overpowering or unappealing. The smells and tastes of this Cava are subtle, which makes it easy to drink multiple glasses (beware).
When drinking a Cava with "Brut Nature" on the label, expect a refreshing fruitiness that is not overtly sweet. Why is that? Brut Nature is a specific style category of sparkling wines that has the least amount of sugar compared to Extra Brut (0-6 g/l residual sugar), Brut (0-12 g/l) and Semi Seco (12-17 g/l).
The 2011 Juve Y Camps Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava is not too sweet, smooth on the palate, and finishes cleanly with good length. Enjoy the taste of green apples, peaches and pears with every sip. Really a nice wine. Happy Holidays!