The Best New Cavas from Cavatast

When asked which cava was the best I tasted all week, I don’t know what to answer. Ramon, the owner of Jaume Giró i Giró cavas phrased it in a good way: can you really say which one of your children you love the most? I only have one, but I can see his point. During the week in Spain, we tasted perhaps around 50 different cavas, so instead of announcing a winner I thought I would mention a few new acquaintances that stood out.

1. Torelló Rose Brut Reserva. This cava is a blend of Garnacha and Pinot Noir. It is a Catalan style Rose: deep in color and rich with taste. Taste is full with red berries. The Cava is not sweet at all. One of the best rose Cavas I have tasted.

2. Juve y Camps 100% Xarello Essential. I am sure that it has become clear that I am a fan of the Xarello grape. It gives a full bodied and aromatic cava with citrus fruits and mineral freshness. A perfect companion on a hot day.

At the Mestres stand at Cavatast 2015
At the Mestres stand at Cavatast 2015
Finger got in the way of the picture. I wonder how many cavas I had already tasted at this point
Finger got in the way of the picture. I wonder how many cavas I had already tasted at this point

3. Jaume Giró i Giró Montaner Gran Reserva. The Montaner is a blend of the cava trio: Xarello, Macabeo and Parellada, and Chardonnay. The nose has nice aromas of peach and honey melon. The taste has light acidity with hints of brioche and a nice creamy mouthfeel. Truly a stunning cava!

4. Mestres Visol 2007 Brut Nature. The house of Mestres has a distinct style. They are charismatic with an oxidized flavor and a touch of oak. The Visol has aromas of dried fruits, brioche and roasted nuts.

5. Martinez Rose (by Rimats Cava). Last year when we visited Rimarts, they had already sold out of their special edition Rose, Martinez. This year, we were well on time to taste the new harvest. The Martinez is also a blend of Garnacha and Pinot Noir. The color is absolutely stunning, light ruby pink. It is a young cava with extreme freshness and clean taste. It is very seldom that a Rose is made as a Brut Nature (no dosage). I am not sure if I would pick it as a rose if I were blind tasting (in dark glasses).

Jaume Giró i Giró really impressed with their selection.
Jaume Giró i Giró really impressed with their selection.
Finally tasting the the Martinez Rose. Only waited 6 months..
Finally tasting the the Martinez Rose. Only waited 6 months..

Bonus: Pere Mata Brut Nature Gran Reserva. When tasting this cava, both myself and M were amazed. The taste was fresh with white fruits, burned butter and brioche, and the mouthfeel was creamy. We had tasted quite many cavas during the week with nice aromas enticed by long aging, but this one stood out as very clean. The real surprise came when we heard that this cava was made with no Chardonnay. It is seldom that the cava trio produces such deep toasty notes.

There! Some cavas to put on the shopping list. The more I learn about cava, the more I am convinced that it has a bright future as a premium choice for bubbly.

Wineweek 47: The Week After Cavatast

There is a saying in Swedish, borta bra men hemma bäst. It basically means that its great to travel, but nothing beats being home. We had a wonderful week in Barcelona, however I am ecstatic about being home. Also, our Air BnB apartment was quite run down, so nice to have a proper hot shower and a comfy bed again. We did not come home empty handed though. We brought 31 new Spanish friends to occupy our wine fridge. This is not the record. From Portugal we were able to bring 34 bottles. However, this time we had significantly more bubbly that weighs more and takes more space. We were actually discussing with M how many bottles we could potentially bring if we really came prepared, in check in luggage I mean (one can always send a pallet). I think we concluded that around 90 Bordeaux bottles could be doable. I will share some of my wine packing tips later.

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All 31 bottles survived the trip
Torelló cavas in the cooling
Torelló cavas in the cooling

What did we buy and where did we shop? We bought mainly cava, some 100% Xarello and white rioja. We also picked up a bottle of Castell d’Encus riesling (a really interesting producer in the Pyrenees) and a Mencia from Bierzo. Sounds wonderful right? The wines were bought from Cavatast as well as two of our favorite wine shops in Barcelona: Vila Viniteca (Borne) and Di Vi (Eixample).

As we were in the region, we also took the opportunity to meet some producers, old and new. We spent a day at Torelló, a high-end producer of cava. We popped by Rimarts to sample their new batch of Martinez Rose (last year this cava was sold out). And we also took a quick tour in the historical cellars of Jaume Giró i Giró and had dinner with our star producer Peret Fuster. Really wonderful visits that, again, increased me knowledge on cava production. We also heard some rumors on a new classification, Singe estate cava, coming up next year. How the labelling will look is not clear yet, however, only gran reserva cavas that are produced from start to finish by the same grower-producer could carry this classification. This would be very interesting for the consumer, so I really hope it materializes.

The Martinez rose cava has a beautiful light ruby color
The Martinez rose cava has a beautiful light ruby color
M browsing in Vila Viniteca
M browsing in Vila Viniteca
Tasting the selection at Jaume Giró i Giró
Tasting the selection at Jaume Giró i Giró

Next week (including this weekend) will be low on wine. After having a glass or two (or three) every day we were in Spain, I feel I need a detox. Next weekend though, we are holding our fall champagne tasting to customers that made purchases during our spring open house. We will be sampling some private label cavas from the UK as well as branded champagnes from the same producer. I am also tempted to mix a good, toasty cava in there. We will be doing the tasting blind to get more interesting results.

That was it for this wineweek! More about our visits at the producers and other wine-ventures to follow in a few days (after I have catched up on some sleep).