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05 August 2011

Spain: Cava

Perelada Reserva
A trio of tasty 'fizzes of the moment' have also inspired a timely update to my Cava mini-guide kick-started back in 2006, which I’ve now teleported across from ‘old’ WineWriting.com and carefully stored in a new ‘Spain page’ nestling among the ‘wine words’ archive. Click here to check it out, which will soon be plumped up with other hot Spanish tasting and touring features such as: tripping, sampling and eating in dreamy Castilla - León wine country (experienced first hand and penned in 2009); cutting-edge tasting reports such as ‘new wave’ Spain, Monastrell from Jumilla and ‘Rioja-free zone’; various winemaker snapshots and wine reviews from across the country and more besides…
Back to those three recently test-driven 'creative Catalan bubbles,' as I coined the expression at the time as a subtitle to my mini-guide, which have also been added to it.

Codorníu 2009 Vintage Rosado Brut (Monastrell, Garnacha; 12% alc.) – bottle aged on lees for at least 9 months. Quite delicate fizz actually with subtle toasty oat-cake & biscuit edges vs ‘sweet’ red fruit cocktail vs refreshing bite and length. 1+
£6.99 at Tesco, allegedly "half-price" although I never believe the so-called full-price claimed on these offers. Anyone else spotted Tesco's increasingly blatant shelf-positioning of ridiculously over-priced bottles right next to the current "half-price" deals, so you'll notice them and which the following week or month magically become "half-price" themselves? Their way of getting round the law I suppose, allegedly...
Freixenet Excelencia Brut (1/3 each Macabeo, Xarel·lo, Parellada; 11.5%) - light refreshing style with floral and subdued yeasty-bready aromas, attractive baked almond notes and gently oily vs crisp finish. 1
£5.99, also allegedly "half-price" at Winemark/Russell’s Cellars in Northern Ireland. I've also bought bottles of this in Catalunya in the past and enjoyed it just the same, especially as it used to be about €3.50 there!
2008 Clos de Monistrol Vintage Extra Brut (Chardonnay, Macabeo, Xarel·lo, Parellada; 12%) - yet another "half-price" job, I think from memory at Sainsbury's (?), making it a very good £5-£6 bargain anyway. Quite toasty and rich actually with roast almond and oaty edges, hints of honey and oily texture with a little crispness underneath; not very fizzy but fairly fine with off-dry finish. 1+
See blurb in the right-hand column for more on "as easy as 1-2-3 scoring."

And finally, a taster of that much-lauded Cava mini-guide aka "creative Catalan bubbles." Intro: "I'm not going to bore you with the full monty geographical or technical stuff, the Cava region is quite vast and extends beyond Catalunya... This gradually expanding page, originally published in 2008 and updated every year, is more about bringing your attention to a few lesser-known sparkling gems and hopefully also to encourage you to explore beyond Barcelona and the region's nice beaches and coastal towns, out into real Cava country... head for those green hills!" Includes these 10 stand-out Cava wineries: Llopart, Carles Andreu, Perelada, Parxet, Raimat, Bach, Lavernoya, Mont Àrac, Blancher, Parató...
And you'll find more here too (scroll down to Spain): Wines of the moment 2005 - 2010

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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.