116/365 – Catalonia – D.O. Cava – Torrelavit – Segura Viudas – Lavit Brut Nature
…., where one relaxes on the axis of the wheel of life, to get the feel of life, but to write Lush Life in D.O. Cava is not quite right, as D.O Cava is not a place but a appellation covering all Cava making areas in Spain. The one region producing most of the Cava in the country (95%) is Penedes and in Penedes, most of it comes from and around Sant Sadurni d’Anoia. So let;s start by explaining more in detail what D.O Cava is and how the Regulatory Board works.
The Consejo Regulador (Regulatory Board) consists of a Chairman, Deputy Chairman and General Secretary. In addition to the obvious positions, there are representatives for the wine making sector and the production sector, all so that the vintners, wine makers and all others involved, have their say. Well, this is at least in theory, how it actually works is beyond me, but one of these days I’ll pay them a visit to make sure they are doing what they are supposed to!
Cava is subjected to quality checks carried out by the technical services of the Regulatory Board. These controls start in the vineyards, using the registers of plots entitles to produce grapes for Cava making, control of volumes produced, monitoring of the quality and final destination of the grapes. Registered producers must comply with the specific technical conditions to obtain the right to produce both the cuvee and the Cava. The tipping stoppers for Cava must be marked with the month and year of the operation so as to guarantee the minimum aging periods required by the Regulations.
Quality, analytical and organoleptic controls are conducted so as to evaluate the cuvees, a process during which regular inspections. stock statements and verification of movements are made. The labels for any type of Cava must first be authorized by the Board and meet the requisites under current law. The entire, complex control system includes the quality check of the finished product, authorizing the use of the name “Cava” and also the terms “Reserva” and “Gran Reserva”, issuing the numbered control marks (disc or band) with the three terms above which all bottles destined for consumption must bear, as seals which guarantee the quality and origin of the Cava.
The characteristics of Cavas will depend on the differing variety combinations, years and also the different aging periods. To call a sparkling wine Cava, it has to be made using the traditional method (Methode Champagneoise) with a second fermentation “sur lees” and in a bottle. The minimum aging time for CAVA is 9 moths. The minimum for Reserva CAVA is 15 months and finally Gran Reserva CAVA with the minimum of 30 months.
The indication “Gran Reserva” may only be used for “Brut Nature”, “Extra Brut” and “Brut”, which are aged for thirty months or more in the same cellars. The label must show the indication “Gran Reserva” and the year of the harvest. In this respect, Cava is the only sparkling wine which can bear this distinction.
The Cava Region comprises a total of 159 municipalities in the provinces of Barcelona (63), Tarragona (52), Lleida (12), Girona (5), La Rioja (18), Alava (3), Zaragoza (2), Navarra (2), Valencia (1) and Badajoz (1), which together conform the delimited Cava producing area and are therefore the only ones with the full legal capacity to produce this type of sparkling wine and market it under this name.
The municipality of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia si the heart and origin of this region, its driving force. Its spirit lies not merely in an area, a territory, but in the traditions, the style of winemaking, a blind faith in the quality of the product and a keen enthusiasm in disseminating this special beverage. Cava is made from different varieties, although there are three varieties of white grape which are considered the main ingredients.
Macabeu, Xarel.lo and Parellada are the three main characters, the lead roles. In addition to these, several more varieties come into play and have been proven suitable for wine making under the D.O. of Cava. Chardonnay, Malvoisie, Pinot Noir, Red Grenache, Monastrell and Trepat. The latter has, so far, only been authorized for the making of rose Cava.
Pairing Cava with food is often relegated to being served with only appetizers and desserts, but in reality, it is a remarkably versatile beverage that can be served throughout the meal! Here are some tips for successful pairings and some suggestions to try for yourself. Cava acts as a palate cleanser when paired with fried food and dishes with rich sauces. The crisp acidity and bubbles cut through fatty flavors, refreshing the palate for the next bite.
A brut Cava works well with vegetable tempura or with linguine in mushroom cream sauce. For a refreshing contrast to smooth, silky food textures, Cava’s effervescence adds an interesting textural dimension. Try a Brut with creamy butternut squash soup and with triple cream brie, some Reservas, Brut Nature works well with seared foie gras. Cava is a brilliant match for bright, tart and tangy foods, which need to be matched by an equal measure of vibrancy in the wine. Brut Rosé with Nicoise salad works wonders!
The head count for Cava producing wineries in 2014 is 247. Companies producing base wines for Cava are 157, and together the two categories, produced some 241 million bottles during 2013, out of which 160 millions went abroad. That’s a whole lot of bubbles! The five top countries consuming Cava are Germany, The UK, Belgium, The US and Japan. One of the producers is Heretat Segura Viudas and today we’re exploring one of the Cavas they make.
Lavit Brut Nature, 60% Macabeu and 40% Parellada
Straw yellow color with greenish hues. The bubbles are fine with steady release, forming a slight crown. Primary aromas are of yeast, nuts, butter, those are the parenting aromas also. Ripe fruit and hints of aniseed appear and provide the depth. The palate entry is soft and fresh, with bubbles that fits nicely in the mouth. This is a Cava with structure and a dry aftertaste which has a marked character. It is an ideal Cava to enjoy with starters, especially with light snacks and tapas.
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Catalan Wine 365 and the SweetEasy Lifestyle