WineWriting.com with special guest star FrenchMediterraneanWine.com
Richard Mark James' wine blog with some travel, food & BYO restaurants, craft beer and stuff like that...

02 June 2020

Lockdown bubbly of the moment

Prestige Cava Rosado & Prestige Cava Brut
At first, I thought this dynamic duo were the usual Marks & Spencer Cavas with flashy new labels and a price rise, but they are additional to the range and definitely noticeably tastier and toastier quality-wise for the £10 price tag. Made by 'Sevisa' in Torrelavit up in the hills to the west/north-west of Barcelona, which is probably Segura Viudas, part of the Freixenet group and well-known for their reliably classy Cavas. The 'Prestige Brut' is classically made from local grapes Macabeo and Parellada and shows fine fizz, floral yeasty nutty aromas and lovely crisp mouth-feel layered with subtle richer oat-biscuit flavours. The 'Prestige Rosado' rosé is probably the star of the pair and shaped by 'mostly' or '100%' (slightly contradictory info on Mark's website) Catalan red variety Trepat, which has similar long-lasting elegant bubbles but is red-fruitier with rose petal notes, well-poised palate offering crisp bite, toastiness and delicious lingering fresh fruitiness. Both are pretty dry, '1 out of 5' on that popular scale (one being the driest, five the sweetest), and 12% alcohol by volume.


Marqués del Norte Cava Brut Vintage 2018, Jaume Serra
A fairly long-standing Asda label (usually £7.25, £6 at the moment), although this bottle has a black label with gold lettering and band, whereas the shot on their site has a black surround with a gold 'badge' centre and red lettering, so it looks like they've changed label or vintage? Jaume Serra is another name you can count on in Cava-land and this winery produces a lot of good quality own-labels. This 2018 is also made from the traditional Cava grape varieties and seemed less fizzy than the Marks' two, but had enticing apple and roast almond characters, perhaps a touch lighter (11.5% abv) with crisp yet soft finish. 'No. 2' on the dryness scale.

Mas Miralda Cava Vintage Reserva 2014
Another Asda label, possibly from the same supplier but this time under their 'Extra Special' banner and an older vintage aged in bottle for longer (obviously). More developed on the nose and palate with richer biscuit tones, oilier rounded texture (12% abv) with lingering freshness although for drinking straightaway. £9 a bottle although I think it was £7.50 on offer.

* UPDATED JULY 2020 *
Mas Miralda Cava Rosado Vintage 2016
The rosé version of the above is even better, especially if you can get it for a bargain £7 on offer. Deliciously toasty with rich red fruits and dark choc texture, still fresh and fizzy too.

Cava Brut Nature 2016
This Cava is made from Chardonnay as well as Xarel-lo, Macabeu and Parellada (with 11.5% abv) by Marqués de Monistrol, part of United Wineries for J. Sainsbury's 'Taste the Difference' range. This dry and nicely mature Cava is a Brut Nature style (sometimes called Brut Zero or Zero Dosage), which means not sweetened at all like regular Brut styles can be let alone those confusing so-called 'Extra Dry' ones which are actually even less dry! It had delicate yeasty notes alongside almond and apple flavours, again for drinking up rather than keeping. Sometimes on offer for £7.50-ish or £9 full price.

Cava Rosado
Tesco's good-value all-rounder rosé Cava delivers plenty of fruity flavour for the money - strawberry, raspberry and chocolate, refreshing acidity and off-dry finish. Also produced by Jaume Serra. £6

Jaume Serra Cava Brut
JS is cornering the market it seems - this gold-label version is available on and off in some of B&M Bargains' licensed stores (which isn't many) for about £6.49 from memory. Similar style with nice mix of yeasty, frothy and refreshing.

Barcelona Cuvée 1872 Cava Brut Rosé
Apart from evoking that Freddie Mercury song, this special celebration bottling by the mighty Codorníu packaged in a pretty 'modernist stained-glass window' decorated bottle is also supposed to replicate winemaking methods of the time. Such as where some of the base wine is fermented in oak casks before second fermentation in bottle, using 'the choicest traditional red varietals' whatever that means since their site also talks about Parellada, which is a white variety unless there's a red sibling too? Anyway, the net result is very tasty and berry fruity with subtle yeast-lees richness and refreshing finish. Winemark stores in NI - usually something like £12-£13 but much better value if you do one of their '£5 off two' type deals (their website is hopeless with very few of their range or current prices on it).
Photo from www.codorniu.com.



The Rhona Brut Rosé, Graham Beck
Just to show that we do partake in other fizz than Cava, this classy bubbly has been reviewed on my blog before and probably will be again, as it's consistently yummy. Beck is based in the Robertson region of South Africa and knows how to craft Champagne-style wines from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay offering quite rich, toasty and creamy characters with delicate fresh bite and lingering red fruit flavours; a fuller longer-matured style (with 12% abv) and subtly done. £11 M&S

McGuigan Black Label Chardonnay Pinot Noir (12% abv)
Something of a simple Australian classic, this well-made difficult-not-to-like sparkling wine is also built of two of the typical French bubbly varieties and delivers citrus, light biscuity nutty notes and off-dry freshness. £7.50 or £6 on offer at Sainsbury's and elsewhere.