The weather is finally warm, so you know what that means, right? Time to bust out the bubbly! Ok, who we kidding? Red, White, Pink, Sparkling, or in a cocktail…it’s always wine time! However, we have been living up to one of our New Year’s resolutions…learning more about Sparkling Wine.
What started with some Proseccos at the beginning of the year (read post here), led to explore the wonderful world of Spanish Sparkling wine…Cava. Thanks to Pasternak Wine Imports we’ve been sampling the Paul Cheneau line this past month. We have to say we were a little surprised at just how different each one really is. We had some favorites, a “will not drink again” and a “meh…better in a cocktail”. Here’s the breakdown…
Cava Paul Cheneau
Appellation: D.O. Cava (Penédes)
Average price of each: $10-15
First up…Brut Rosé Grape Varieties: 85% Trepat, 15% Pinot Noir Finished Alcohol: 11.5% Winemaker’s Notes: Very bright, attractive, cherry–pink color with well-developed small and constant bubbles forming a gently rosary. Intense notes of fresh red fruits and hints of fine lees and dried berries, together with subtle, yet very attractive fragrances of fresh strawberries. On the palate this cava explodes with juicy red fruit flavors. Rich, lively and well-balanced. Lingering and pleasant after taste with elegant carbonic finish. Our Thoughts and Pairings: We actually tried this one first expecting it to be the best. Didn’t happen. While it tasted good and the crisp and fruit were there, it was just a little stronger and drier than we would have liked. We took this to a BYOB and paired it with some fresh and delicious Mediterranean food. We ended up feeling very full, very fast. While the flavors seemed to go well together, we just think the Rosé would have worked better for us in a Mimosa or other mixed drink. A little too much bubble for us.
Second…Brut Grape Varieties: 45% Macabeo, 40% Xarel·lo, 10% Chardonnay, 5% Parellada Finished Alcohol: 12% Crystal-clear greenish color with golden highlights. Fine and constant bubbles forming a great rosary on the top of the glass. Nose -Wild meadow flowers fusing into pleasant fruit aromas and subtle ageing undertones. Palate -Fresh with good acidity and balanced with very subtle floral undertones and flavors of creamy pastries. Nice carbonic finish, lingering on the palate. Our Thoughts & Pairings: At first sip we were overwhelmed with bubbles. A little too floral for our liking though it was very clean and crisp. W e took this bottle to a BYOB and paired it with some Moroccan food. While the pairing was great, we couldn’t even finish our food from the carbonation. 😦
Third…Demi Sec Grape Varieties: 45% Macabeo, 40% Xarello, 10% Chardonnay, 5% Parellada Finished Alcohol: 11.5% Straw yellow color with green hues. Fine bubbles, well chained and persistent. Very clean and elegant aroma. Ripe fruit notes and pastry hints. Palate Inviting, well structuraded and alive. Sweet on the palate, with toasty notes and light touches of ripe fruit. Wide and persistent.
Our Thoughts & Parings: We opened this baby up for Easter and have to say it was a winner! One of the favorites of the bunch. The bubbles were there, but not overwhelming. The cava had some sweetness to it that was just right and it wasn’t too dry. We mixed it in a Mimosa and a Passion Mimosa cocktail but actually preferred this Cava all by itself. Ok, also went great with our Easter tray of desserts. 😉Winemaker’s Notes: Straw-colored with greenish tints, and with a steady effervescence and a formation of small bubbles which generate a gentle crown.Subtle and delicate, floral, with light toasty notes and recall of dry fruits. Touch of dried herbs. It is appetizing, fruity, well structured, rich and mature in the mouth. A slightly toasted background flavor with pleasant traces of lees. Altogether elegant. Lingering and strong. Our Thoughts & Pairings: This brut cava was also on the strong side with a lot going on in terms of taste. Not bad by itself, but once we added some pomegranate juice and berries it made for a delicious sparkling cocktail. We paired this with some olives, cheeses and grilled veggies. Amazing. Perfect for a hot summer day celebration.
Fifth and Final…Lady of Spain Brut Grape Varieties: 45% Macabeo, 40% Xarello and 15% Parellada Finished Alcohol: 12.0%
Our Thoughts & Pairings: This is the Cava we were probably most excited about…yes, because of the pretty bottle. 😉 However, we wouldn’t call it delicate. The Lady of Spain was another strong cava. Clean and crisp, bubbly. By adding some raspberries and orange juice, we got a really great Mimosa. We definitely recommend it. We also paired it with a cheese, nut, veggie and fruit platter.
***Final Thoughts: We’d like to thank Pasternak Wine again for allowing us the opportunity to sample and review these sparkling wines. While we definitely enjoyed the Cavas and highly recommend the Paul Cheneau line, so far we have to say we’ll stick with Prosecco. Check out the Valdo Superiore Oro Puro Prosecco, also from Pasternak. Dare we move on to Champagne? 😉
- Cava-Tasting 101: How to Get the Full Experience of Spain’s Favorite Sparkling Wine (jetsettimes.com)
- New Breakaway Sparkling Wine Appellation to Rival Cava (podilatokafe.wordpress.com)
- Beautiful Food and Cava in Barcelona – 2006 Gramona Imperial Gran Reserva (corkdork.typepad.com)
- Tasting Notes for the Current Wines by the Glass 4/11/13 (theseausa.wordpress.com)