Southern bubbles to see you through your holidays
by Miquel Hudin | 22-12-2021
So… here were are nearly the end of another strange, yet perhaps slightly more manageable year in this “grand” time we find ourselves in.
While we may be locking things down again, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have some kind of sparkling wine during these dark days of winter burdened by mega meals. In case you think there’s light work again, do keep in mind that we’ve: Christmas, Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s, New Years, and, if in a country who does it, Three Kings. Those are a lot of hours to pass without some bubbles in your glass.
The go to of course is Champagne and why not? They’ve done a splendid job of marketing themselves as the silky, velvety wine of celebration for decades. I however have two problems with Champagne. The first is the cost as here in Europe, any bottle less than 30€ is a touch suspect. The other is that I honestly don’t like it with most dishes. If you feel different, do comment below as I’ve flat given up.
Taking these two items into account, I would offer up my sparkling wine of choice which is one sourced from the Penedès region here in Catalunya and can be any of the “Four C’s”: Cava, Corpinnat, Clàssic Penedès, or Conca. There’s a quality to these wines which I find savory and mouthwatering which makes pairing them with meals wonderful whether it’s a classic roast, ham, turkey (which you don’t actually taste anyways), or then canelones. They’re also great with desserts and, having a mother in-law that only drinks sparkling wines, we just end up rolling with them for all the courses.
There are a wealth of wines to try but here are a couple of options (full reviews below for members) to get you on your way and ideally, are available wherever you live:
Recaredo – Terrers 2018
I’ve found this motor of the winery to be consistently excellent and embody their ethos perfectly. This 2018 vintage could very well be my favorite vintage to date and even though they’ve raised the price a little in recent years, it’s still an excellent value.
Vins el Cep – Mim Natura Rosat 2017
I make little secret of not liking rosé sparkling wines terribly much and on top of that, I find that Pinot Noir as a variety has little place south of the Pyrénées. There are of course exceptions and this is one as Vins el Cep is making a killer rosé with Pinot Noir that I’ve had to admit I truly love for a good long time now.
Raventós i Blanc – Manuel Raventós
A tribute to the 19th-century member of the family who was the first to produce sparkling wines in the region. This is the priciest of the lot, but stands up with a lovely structure and length. If you wanted to try something with a lower price tag, have a look at Textures de Pedra.
Torelló – Brut Nature 2015
This is the embodiment of the Torelló estate and while I’ve often ranked their upper-end wine higher, this is outstanding value and will even age further as it’s the perfect example of what’s great about sparkling wines from the Penedès region as it has plenty of structure but a lengthy, delicate acidity as well.
Huguet de Can Feixes – Brut Clàssic 2013
As to why the touch more sugar in the dosage makes this wine shine above its sibling that’s the same wine, but Brut Nature is beyond me, but it just works and is and outstanding wine for the price although it may be the harder wine to find out of the lot as they’re not a terribly huge producer.
I do hope you have a happiest of holidays and are able to make the most out of these times!