Cava, for that bubbly time of year

This is an expanded version of my monthly column for Barcelona Metropolitan

For those who love sparkling wines, this is a great time of year. However, the festive season can be a minefield of lesser bubblies just waiting to hurt your body, soul, and potentially, friendships. In Catalunya, there is no reason to reach for the Champagne shelf, as we have a more than ample supply of our own bubbly in the form of Cava.

Maybe you’ve been burned by a cheap Cava at some point as there are many, many bad Cavas out there. I can easily attest to this as I just had one of the Loxarel lower-end wines that’s usually about 15€. It was lackluster, blunt, and generally uninteresting and if that doesn’t sound like a good time, it wasn’t.

If however you can divorce yourself from the giddiness at seeing a bubbly on the shelf for less than 10€ and accept paying that 20€ or more price, then Cava will most seriously “be your joint“. Take this gospel seriously as it comes from a red wine drinker.

Juvé y Camps Reserva de la Familia 2011
Aromatic touches of the barrel aging but very balanced overall. Brioche and red fruits emerge as it opens. Full in the mouth, it holds a good, fresh acidity that carries through the finish, and year after year it is one of the best value bottles on the market.

Macabeu, Parellada, Xarel·lo 12% 15€

Recaredo Terrers 2008
One of my favourite cava producers, who works completely organically. Fresh, floral aromas along with chalky minerality, and a light perfume that gives way to an elegant mouthfeel with excellent acidity enhanced by the fine bubbles.

Xarel·lo, Macabeu, Parellada 12% 17€

Alta Alella Opus Evolutim 2010
What may be termed a Blanc de Blancs as it is made solely from Chardonnay grapes, this unique and elegant bottle holds light lime peel, fresh cream, and white blossoms to the nose as well as mineral notes and a delicate tinge of brininess.

Xarel·lo, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir 12% 25€