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Some of us have a deep and abiding love of sparkling wine but have to balk at the extravagant pricing of the Champagnes of France. Of course, the quality of Champagne is virtually impossible to beat. Even California can field some fine sparkling wine, yet the prices have continued to escalate over the years. So we look to Spain for values in sparkling wine that allow us to fulfill our thirst for bubbly while preserving our retirement fund. It is truly amazing that wineries there can produce sparklers in the labor intensive Methode Champenois or Champagne Method. Due to European regulations prohibiting use of that term, cava is now labeled as Methode Tradicional, which has the same requirements with an added stipulation that cava must age for a minimum of nine months on the lees before release. “Cava” is Spain’s word for sparkling wine and covers rosés as well. We are opening a couple of these as well to round out the event.
List price 9.95; our price 7.99
The winery behind Cristalino, Jaume Serra, was founded in 1943 some 50 kilometers south of Barcelona by distinguished enologist Jaume Serra Guell. The wine has fresh aromas, a fine and fruity palate, and a dry aftertaste. This blend of the grape varietals Macabeo 50%, Parellada 35% and Xarello (Chah-rayl-lo) 15% is clean, dry and crisp with citrus and apple flavors. Wine Enthusiast gave it an 88 point rating: “Cristalino is always a solid go-to Cava. This brut is round, slightly yeasty and shows citrus aromas that veer toward lemon-lime. The palate is healthy and clean, with a narrow set of citrus and apple flavors. Fairly full and long on the finish, this whole package is more than worth-while given the cost.”
PAUL CHENEAU BRUT “LADY OF SPAIN”
List price 12.00; our price 9.99
Cava was first introduced in 1872 and, by the turn of the century, cava was the wine of choice among the chic patrons of Barcelona’s elegant art nouveau cafes and cava bars. As a tribute to the fashionable ladies who made cava so popular, Paul Cheneau introduced the “Lady of Spain”. This blend of Macabeo 45%, Xarello 40% and Parellada 15% has a formation of small bubbles which generate a gentle crown. It is fine, delicate and very clean, with lightly toasted pastry notes. Fresh and fruity, it is well structured, crispy, and balanced with a long aftertaste.
JUVÉ Y CAMPS BRUT VINTAGE 2006
List price 15.00; our price 11.99
Juvé y Camps has been a family run company for three generations although Joan Juvé Mir began growing grapes over two hundred years ago. Teresa Camps Farré, an exceptional woman and an enthusiastic lover of sparkling wines, inspired her husband to launch the first sparkling wine under the “Juvé” brand in 1921. The blend is similar to that of the Reserva below although the exact percentages were not available. If you like this wine, you will love the Reserva.
JUVÉ Y CAMPS RESERVA DE LA FAMILIA BRUT VINTAGE 2005
List price 17.00; our price 14.99
This cava is made from the free run juices Macabeo 40%, Parellada 40% and Xarello 20%. It is delicate, fruity, fragrant, and perfectly balanced. It shows the three indigenous classic grape varieties at their harmonious best: dry, soft and smooth on the palate, with a richness and finesse that come from the four years it has spent aging in bottle. This is a Gran Reserva cava with perfect structure and balance, and great length and complexity. The full nose is fruity and elegant, rich and complex from the long bottle ageing. On the palate it is quite dry, soft and round with a long, exquisite finish.
CRISTALINO BRUT ROSÉ
List price 9.95; our price 7.99
This blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Trepat shows beautiful scents of raspberry and cherry on the nose with fresh, clean strawberry and cherry flavors in the mouth and a consistent bead. The clean and crisp finish is an excellent match for fried appetizers such as calamari or light desserts such as crème brulee. It is excellent on its own or with fresh fruit.
JUVÉ Y CAMPS BRUT ROSÉ
List price 19.00; our price 16.99
This cava is produced from Pinot Noir grapes grown in the Penedés. The free run juice is allowed a brief maceration on the skins to achieve a deep pink color. On the nose there are both floral and berry fruit notes in perfect harmony. Displaying a lovely nose of rose petals and strawberries, it is lively and fresh on the palate, with crisp acidity and a long finish. Long bottle aging has brought balance, length and weight while retaining freshness and vivacity. Serve this excellent value with a variety of savory courses and as an apéritif.