What is Cava and why should we drink it? Cava is sparkling wine done in the traditional champagne method in Spain. In order to not have thousands of French lawyers from Champagne climbing down their throats, they call it Cava and it is delicious. Typically Cava is a bit lighter and brighter in style than your traditional champagne at a fraction of the cost. Many a good Cava can be found for less than $20, something impossible to do with champagne.
At a recent evening tasting, I sampled some of the better collections from the Heredad Collection that I just had to share.
The event was a meet and greet with Gloria Collell, winemaker’s ambassador for the Ferrer Wine Estates. After working a full day, I was happy to grab a glass of the Segura Viudas Brut Rose. Heavy for a Cava, with some good mineral and red fruit notes that were clean and refreshing. Perfect for sitting around and talking to other writers and wine people about the weather, the economy and the world of wine. This led to the introduction of Gloria Collell.
Gloria Collell is from the Penedes region of Spain, near Barcelona, and her business is wine in all forms. Her job now is to be the ambassador to the world for the Ferrer Wine Estates portfolio. This means that she gets to travel the world showing off the wines and trying to help the world develop a palate for these boutique wines. Talk about a dream job. One of the stories she told was of her traveling to China to introduce the Ferrer line to their new distributor and the Chinese market. They had a huge party with all of the reps. Three months later, they are looking for a new rep because the one they used did not survive and now she is looking into going back and doing it all over again. She is a pleasure to be around and I hope to talk to her again soon.
Among the Ferrer Wine Estates portfolio that Gloria Collell walked us through is the Segura Viudas Cava collection, which also includes the Brut Reserva and the Reserva Heredad. You may recognize the bottle of the Reserva Heredad as the “pewter bottle”. This is the sweetest cava of the three tasted, with strong lemon and lime notes mixed in with a bushel of apples. Delicious, perfect as an aperitif, after-dinner drink or anytime I feel like it.
Also at the tasting were four still wines, one white and three reds. The white was the Vionta Albarino from Rias Baixas. This was very grassy and herbal with good body. I love Albarino because it usually has this flavor I can only describe as the sea, a saliene, briny, almost oyster shell flavor that is beautiful. The Vionta had this in spades with a touch of honeydew melon on the oily palate. Crisp and refreshing, I was ready to get some of the Spanish cocas, crispy pizza-like appetizers layered with toppings, and pair the food with the wines.
A lamb lollipop went really well with the two Tempranillos at the tasting, the 2008 Vasa Cosecha from Rioja and the 2003 Valdubon Crianza from Ribera del Duero. My favorite wine of the night was the Vasa Cosecha. While being the youngest of the three, it definitely tasted of the classic style of Rioja.
Some winemakers make more modern styles with jammy fruit overwhelming the other flavors in wine but this was all tobacco, leather and spice with just hints of red cherry and strawberry. It really brought out the sweetness of the lamb. The Valdubon, while older, had much richer fruit (dark cherry, plum and raspberry) with more mint, pepper and a touch of tobacco that brought out the smoky seasonings of the lamb. It also went extremely well with the sausage coca with sage and bell peppers.
The final wine of the night was the 2004 Morlanda from Priorat, the change-of-pace wine of the night. Big, dark black fruits with rich espresso and spice notes dominate on this wine. Try having this with your steak instead of Cabernet Sauvignon and you will be amazed at how well it works at a much better price point.
This was a great tasting of wines that show off the diversity of Spain. The food was great and the companywas better. I just hope I can somehow repeat this experience soon.