Spirits of the Season 2013 will bring you the hottest new recipes from the coolest distilleries, wineries, restaurants and bars all across the globe!¡Próspero Año Nuevo!, to a Prosperous New Year!
In Spain, the art of sparkling wine is taken very seriously. Only wines made in the Champagne region of France may be called Champagne. This fact had Spain even the field by making some of the finest sparkling wines called "cava" after the cellars where this bubbly wine is made in the “méthode champenoise” or “Champagne method,” which is the same method the French employ with Champagne.
There are many sparkling wine producers in the area south of Barcelona called Penedés. A major sparkling wine producer is Freixenet. Its’ “cordon negro” product, a cava in a matte black bottle with gold writing, is a well known reasonably priced sparkling wine many in the USA are familiar with. Freixenet also has another varietal sold in a black bottle, the Gran Cordon Negro, a Brut cava and slightly better quality.
Segura Viudas winery was established in 1950 and they sold their first wines publicly in 1959. Their Reserva Heredad, which is sold in a bottle with a highly decorative metal ring around the bottom of the bottle and a metal crest on the side is a fabulous cava and a nice holiday gift. Of all the cavas we tried, this one topped our list.
In 1991 EU (European Union) legal specifications were implemented to make sure that there was a consistent quality standard for Cataluña regional Cava and at the same time, the EU recognized the origin of cava.
In general, the more expensive, the drier the cava. A star with four-points is printed on the base of the cork of any true cava. The six official types are as follows, depending on the sugar content:
Extra Brut – 0-6 grams of sugar per liter, the driest of the cava
Brut – 0-15 grams of sugar per liter
Extra Seco – 12-20 grams of sugar per liter
Seco – 17-35 grams of sugar per liter
Semi-Seco – 33-50 grams of sugar per liter
Dulce – More than 50 grams of sugar per liter, the sweetest of the cava
Cava should be served very cold to really enjoy it – about 46 to 48 degrees Fahrenheit.
For your holiday table, we recommend the following affordably priced sparkling wines:
Segura Viudas Brut (SRP $10)
A gift of the affordable Segura Viudas Brut is a good move. The refreshing bubbly is a consistent crowd-pleaser with aromas of white fruits, citrus, and tropical fruits and boasts a complex, full flavor with notes of lime and pineapple. This crisp, dry sparkling wine is a winner. www.seguraviudasusa.com
Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad (SRP $25)
For a little more money, Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad makes an impressive statement visually and on the palate. The elegant pewter-embellished bottle bears the stately Segura Viudas family crest and houses exquisite artisanal bubbly inside. The brut bubbly is the estate’s top cuvee, with aromas of brioche, white peach and Asian pear with crisp minerality. www.seguraviudasusa.com
Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Minis (SRP $3 each or a 3-pack for $9)
Stocking stuffers can sometimes be an afterthought, resulting in practical yet unexciting small gifts. This year, include a bottle or two of Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Minis in the adults’ stockings! The “black bottle bubbly” will make opening gifts even more festive. www.freixenetusa.com