Cava Tips for the Finish market!

Sweden and Finland have many things in common. Lots of Cava fans and a Monopoly on alcohol are two of them. For you not living with a monopoly like we are, I can tell you that it is a strange thing… but like all other things it has both good and bad sides.

Some time ago I got the question from a finish cava lover what tips I had when he was going to order cava at Alko (the monopoly in Finland). Now it struck me that there are of course more Finish cava fans out there that might like to get these. So here is what I recommended.

-Anything from the house Gramona, who is a terrific producer. 

Segura viudas Heredad, is a lovely Gran Reserva worth a try.
Recaredo is always a safe bet with wonderful 100% ecological cavas.
Raventós i Blanc is also a fantastic producer, altough no longer within the DO Cava.
Freixenet Elyssia, both blanc and rosé are nice creations.

Albet i Noya have also left DO Cava, but make lovely things all the same.
Mont Marcall is also a good producer, with a good range normally.
-Pere Ventura has a great design that is loved by many, and so is their cavas.
-Juv’e y Camps makes good things straigt through their portfolio, although Cinta Purpura is their base line.
For you who can read swedish I have left the exact and mor detailed ansver below.

Happy Friday everyone!! 

Ni har ju på Alko något annorlunda sortiment än vad vi har på vårt monopol i Sverige, men många av husen som finns att tillgå på Alko känner jag väl till och många är goda vänner till mig, men jag har inte testat dem alla som finns på Alko.
 
Rent allmänt vill jag säga detta om några av dem:
-Gramona är ett mycket kvalitétsorienterat hus, som nu håller på att konvertera alla sina odlingar till biodynamiska. Deras Imperial, som finns på Alko är deras “signatur” cava och en av mina långvariga “go to” cavor.
-Segura viudas är ett hus som ägs av Freixenet, men som drivs helt separat och har gamla anor. De har guldkorn i sin portfölj och Heredad är väl värd att testa. Flaskan brukar också imponera på många. 🙂
-Recaredo är också ett “kvalitéts hus” och odlar helt enligt den Biodynamiska läran. Allt de gör är av hög kvalité. Deras “top cava” Turó D’en Mota är mycket speciell och motbevisar alla som säger att cava inte går att lagras. Du kan läsa mer om den på min Blog om du har intresse. http://annawallner.se/2015/11/29/turo-den-mota-maybe-the-best-cava-ive-ever-had/
-Raventós är formellt sett inte längre Cava då de lämnade DO Cava 2012. Men den görs på exakt samma sätt, ligger granne med Codorniu och drivs av samma familj som startade och drev Codorniú fram tills det bolagiserades. Generellt gör Raventós mycket bra grejer och deras De Nit har länge varit en av mina sommar-rosé-favoriter. Men självklart varierar årgångarna.
-Freixenet är ju för många synonymt med cava och ofta billig cava. Säga vad man vill så är det otroligt att de kan producera så kvalitetskonstanta produkter i sådana mängder, år efter år. Sedan kan man ju ha en åsikt om stilen såklart. Men även Freixenet gör guldkorn. Elyssia är en sådan enligt mig. För ovanlighetens skull baserad på chardonnay, för Freixenet är annars väldigt inriktade på traditionell stil. Elyssia är frisk, fruktig och ett bra alternativ om man vill testa något annat än den “svarta flaskan”.
-La vida Al Camp är faktiskt producerad av Raventós. Det är den enda de producerar under DO Cava och det har väckt mycket debatt bland cavaproducenterna. “Antingen lämnar man eller så är man kvar under DO Cava” är det många som tycker. Deras första La vida al camp var “vit” och en mycket bra bascava. Jag har inte testat deras rosé, men utgår från att även denna borde hålla måttet vad gäller kvalité kontra pris.
-Albet i Noya har likt Raventós lämnat DO Cava och producerar under DO Penedés, men åter igen är det samma område, druvor, metoder osv. Även Albet i Noya är biodynamiska. De gör trevliga grejer över lag även om jag personligen inte tycker att de kommer upp i samma kvalité som Recaredo och Gramona.
-Mont Marcal gör välgjorda och vanligen lättdruckna cavor i alla stilar. De som finns på Alko är inte de mest komplexa i deras portfölj, men helt klart välgjorda.
-Pere Ventura gör även han bra grejer och just hans Roséer brukar vara av en mycket tydlig “medelhavsstil” dvs mycket fruktiga och intensivt röda, vilket som du vet skiljer sig mycket from champagnes bleka laxrosa varianter. Jag gillar båda stilar, bara de är välgjorda.
-Juvé y Camps är också ett hus som gör mycket bra grejer, dessvärre verkar ni bara få deras basvariant Cinta Purpura och dessutom i en söt variant… kanske inte något du kör i första provningen. 🙂

Time for PINK!

Now summer is really getting close and today with the super nice weather we had I just thought I’d write a post about Pink, that I have planned for so long.

Yes indeed the rosé season is upon us for real (even though I’d happily drink rosé all year round), and the hunt has begun to find new favorites.
Here in Sweden we have been so lucky as to get Parés Baltà’s, Pink, on the shelves of the monopoly, and it has quickly become something that very often can be found in my fridge.

Pink is a wonderful rosé cava of the medium pale sort I’d say. Based on two white grapes, parellada 32% and macabeu 30%, it gets it color only from the 38% garnacha. I must say that it is a great blend. The Parellada gives it elegance while the garnacha naturally brings the read fruits. The macabeu on the other hand must be the reason why this blend does not “tip over” with ripe strawberries, raspberries and alike, like so many rosés do, leaving you with a “jam-like” taste on the tongue. Pink stays elegant, balanced and fruity, with a nice finish, and jam is really the last thing on my mind!
I’d say that Pink is a lovely cava just to enjoy the way it is, in the afternoon sun, but I’m sure it would go well to lots of sallads and many types of tapas.
And by the way… don’t be fooled by the white control mark on the cork, it is really aged for 18 months, and hence a Reserva, although a very vibrant sort.

Here in Sweden it is a real bargain too, only 99 SEK, which is good value for money in my opinion. And I forgot to mention that it is hundred percent ecological/biodynamic!

To be honest I had a glass after my run yesterday evening. I thought I had earned it. 

If you’d like to see what Parés Baltà has in their portfolio in general you can find all the info you need at: http://www.paresbalta.com

Top Of The Pops among Cava and Champagne

It is not every day you get the chance to try a line-up like this, so I must admit I had been excited for weeks beforehand. And it really was just so interesting and exciting as I thought. This is my thoughts about the experience…

For you who are not really aquatinted with these cavas and champagnes I can just give you the very brief details.
Cavas: 
ENOTECA BRUT NATURE 2001: 75% Xarel-lo and 25% Macabeu, from Gramona.
LA CAPELLA 2005: 100% single vineyard Xarel-lo, from Juvé y Camps.
TURÓ D’EN MOTA 2005: 100% single vineyard Xarel-lo, from Recaredo.

Champagnes:
SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL CUVÉE 2000: Pinot noir and chardonnay, from Pol Roger.
DOM PERIGNON 2006: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot munier, from Moët & Chandon.

To start with we compared the two younger cavas with Dom Perignon of nearly the same age. And after that SWCC and Enoteca.

Before we started I really thought that the notes coming from the aging would be predominant and have made the sparkling wines more similar. Although all wines had very distinct aged notes there was a huge differens which I had not counted on.
What struck us all was how very vibrant and alive all the cavas were compared to the champagnes of nearly the same age. The cavas had together with the aged notes of bread, nuts and biscuits ALSO a great balance of fruitiness left in them. The Champagnes were broader, softer and had both clearly more oxidized notes of yellow apple to them, that the cavas did not.
I love them all for their own uniqueness, but it was truly striking that all the cavas still felt so young after all this time!

Especially Enoteca 2001 (being so old) is truly amazing in its vibrant freshness!

I have always liked “old” wines, because I love what the aging does with the wine. Hence I have for a very long time had Sir Winston rated at the top of my list.  But to be honest… to get both these fantastic aged notes together with a freshness and elegance shown by Grsmona’s Enoteca is amazing.

This same is true for the younger bottles of Turó d’en Mota and La Capella compared with Dom Perignon. The cavas are still super fresh and complex, while the Dom is more rounded and of course complex, but more bombastic than elegant.

One thing that might explain this is something I learned from Xavier Gramona, when he visited Stockholm in March. He explained that Xarel-lo is a perfect wine for aging since the variety contains the highest levels of antioxidants of any white grape. Maybe it is these antioxidants that keep the cavas so fresh after all this time?

I promise I will write a blogpost on all the cavas, all in due course. They deserve nothing less!

Bottles that will keep you going until spring comes!

Do you like me long for Spring?
I hate this cold, snow, ice and gloomy weather, so much that I have become totally addicted to tulips! Maybe because I can’t enjoy bubbles in the same way as before due to a growing belly. But I thouht I’d give you all some tips regarding nice bottles that might help you brighten up that gray winter day! All these bottles are also avalible at the swedish monopoly, for all you poor people that share my unfortunate situation of beeing stuck here in the snow.

IMG_1030.JPGBombonetta by Jaume Giró i Giró,
This bottle is one of my long time favourites from the winemaker Ramón. It is a brut Gran Reserva aged for a minimum of 40 months.
Grapes: 38% Xarel.lo, 17% Parellada, 17 % Macabeu 15% Pinot Noir and 13% Chardonnay.
Wonderful fresh stye with flowers, nuts and baked goods in the nose. Great soft bubbles.
At the monopoly in Sweden you can now buy this bottle for 229 SEK, which is a GREAT price! (Special ordering segment nr: 77591) A real “must buy”!

 

 

de nitDe Nit by Raventós i Blanc,
This sparkling wine (Raventós left DO Cava in 2012) gives me real spring feelings! It is a very pale rosé, that is super crisp and elegnat. I LOVE it! It is an extra brut Reserva aged for a minimum of 18th months.
Grapes: 42% macabeu, 37% xarel-lo, 14% parellada and 7% monastrell.
Super fresh with its white grape base, but with a rich fruity pallet that really makes you think of spring. And nothing makes you long for summer as a rosé!
Can be bought at the monopoly for 169 SEK. (Special ordering segment nr: 77423)

OliviaOlivia by Castell D’Age
If you are looking for something ecologic this cava is a great spring choise. It is actually aged in oak, which gives a little touch that I like. It is a Reserva brut nature, so no added sugar.
Grapes: 100% chardonnay.
This cava is my clear favourit from this house. It is fruity, with clear notes of bread from the ageing but those subtil oak notes realy make it that extra special.
It c
an be bought at the monopoly for 171 SEK. (Special ordering segment nr: 77169)

These are my three tips for right now!
Hope you like them!

Bubbly hugs!!

 

 

Turo d’en Mota maybe the best cava I’ve ever had

tdm2I did not believe it when I the other day was up on the Swedish monopoly’s website and saw that they will release Turo d’en Mota in a limited quantity on the 4th of December 2015! That is a rare thing for sure!

For you who does not know this cava I will tell you a little bit about it. Turo d’en Mota is actually the name of a vineyard that is less than 1 hectare, and only planted with very old xarel.lo wines. They are almost 80 years old by now and give a very limited production, but the grapes are because of this extremely concentrated with flavor. This very special vineyard belongs to Ton Mata that is (after his father and grandfather and so on…) running the cava house Recaredo in the city of Sant Sadurní. Every time we visit Ton, we insist on going up to “check” on Turó d’en Mota, because it is such a special and lovely place. I remember very clearly when I first tasted this cava. It was that time the vintage of 2000 and it really blew me away. It was a real “eye opener” so to speak.

This cava is a full expression of the land it comes from. The old wines with roots going deep, suck up the essence of what defines Penedés. So old, but still so vibrant and full of life the xarel.lo that is this lands signature grape really delivers everything that is good, and makes a clear statement that cava can be aged with grace, no doubt about it!

If you are really interested in cava and sparkling wine, you know nothing before you have Turó d’en Mota as a reference in your “taste library”, that is the only thing I can say. If you think 899 SEK is a lot of money for sparkling wine, I do agree. But then think about this… For 949 SEK you get a Bollinger La Grand Année 2005, (I like this champagne very much, don’t get me wrong) that is aged for shorter time and produced in large numbers and that a lot of people have tasted. Why not buy something that is completely new to you, is aged for a longer time and produces in very small numbers, and have something really interesting an new to bring to the discussion next time me meet up with your bubbly friends. I’m just saying…

If you are interested the number is 97716 in the ordering selection at the monopoly.

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