12 November 2012

Quartet of Cavas

I will once again offer my standard Thanksgiving wine buying advice. Think PIGS: Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain. There are loads of bargains from these four countries, wines that are meant to be drunk young and consumed with a wide range of foods. And within that range, you should always grab a few inexpensive sparkling wines and serve them with the meal, not just as something for toasting alone.

For example, Cava from Spain. These are made in the méthode champenoise or metodo tradicional, the same production methods used in the Champagne region. Cava is a much younger product, only going back to 1850 as opposed to the 1531 creation of Blanquette de Limoux.

I really enjoy casual sparklers, and they're a great reminder that you don't have to wait for a special occasion to enjoy wine with bubbles.

NV Segura Viudas Brut Reserva
50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada, 15% Xarel-lo
$10, 11.5% abv.
Large bubbles with a delicate floral and citrus nose. A good bargain, and perfect for making various sparkling wine cocktails.

NV Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad
67% Macabeo, 33% Parellada
$25, 12% abv.
Crisp and refreshing with mild mineral tones under a splash of lemony acidity. The bottle is very beautiful and distinctive, and worth re-purposing as a flower vase or olive oil container.

NV Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut
$12, 40% Parellada, 35% Macabeo, and 25% Xarel-lo
12% abv.
Toasty nose with a hint of honey. Clean, refreshing flavor with a flinty edge. The iconic black bottle should be familiar to everyone. I enjoy it with olives and hard cheeses before dinner.

NV Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvée Brut
40% Chardonnay, 30% Macabeo, 20% Parellada and 10% Pinot Noir
$18, 12% abv.
Very different grape composition in this one, and the profile reflects it. It's a lot like an entry-level Crémant de Bourgogne with a nice aroma of butter and spice on top. This bottle has the smallest bubbles of the four but maintains a crisp, tart acidity. Really great with a bowl of steamed clams.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

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