Killer Cava from Spain

Marques de Gelida Tasting at The Purple Pig in Chicago

Marques de Gelida from Spain was the focus of a trade tasting at the Purple Pig in Chicago yesterday.  Maite (short for Marie-Theresa) Esteve I Julia, the owner, poured several of her sparkling wines starting off with her 2008 Kila Cava, made from the three traditional varieties: Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Paralleda.  A tasty, refreshing entry wine with a minimum of 12 months ageing, produced from 20 year-old vines. The 2006 Brut Exclusive included 20% Chardonnay in the blend in addition to the local varieties, hand harvested from 40-50 year-old vines and spent 5 years slumbering in bottle before being disgorged and released.   Time’s indelible influence manifested itself on the personality of this as well as the 2007 Brut Exclusive.  Not only did the wines have more color, but also more evidence of secondary aromas including mushrooms, and sweet biscuit. Still fresh and youthful, there was an attractive minerality which became more pronounced with the 2007 vintage.  With only 13,000 bottles made, you’ll want to get your hands on some of these!

My winemaking lesson for the day was from Maite who explained that fermentation temperatures directly affect the size of the bubbles produced.  The lower the temperature, the slower the fermentation and the smaller and finer the bubbles.  The converse is true: the warmer the temperature, fermentation will speed up thereby causing larger bubbles to be produced.  This noted when tasting the mousse on the palate.  As with all good sparkling wine, especially those made in the traditional method with the second fermentation in bottle, it is the goal of every winemaker to make the bubbles as fine as possible.  After all, sparkling wine tasting is all about the texture.

Also interesting was the 2007 Brut Rose made exclusively from a few precious hectares of Pinot Noir.  Dark salmon in color, the nose was on the restrained side, but offered up subtle strawberries a mouth-filling mid-palate and a clean finish.  Plus, it went wonderfully with the tapas-style dishes we were served including Sepia (cuttlefish) with roasted almonds and rosemary and beets with whipped goat cheese and pistachios.  My mouth is watering all over again…..

Let’s hear it for Cava!

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