With the holidays approaching, everyone thinks of toasting the days with Champagne.  And then the term sparkling wine rises to the surface.  When I first heard the term “sparkling wine” many years ago, I thought it was an imitation of Champagne, to find later that sparkling wines  produced in the French region of Champagne were the only ones that could be called Champagne, but all were in fact sparkling wines.

Recently I procurred a bottle of Cava Pere Ventura, Brut Nature.  So then, what is Cava?  It is the Spanish form of Champagne (Oops! Excuse me, I mean sparkling wine).

In 1872, Josep Raventós Fatjó of the Codorniu estate was the first in Spain to produce a wine in the Champagne method or “méthode champenoise” and was called cava after the cellars in which it was produced.  It was soon to become very popular in particular with the elite and ruling classes.

Cava is made by first producing a white wine is principally from the grapes from the Spanish native varietals Xarello, Macabeo, of Parellada.  The second step is Tirajo in which the bottle is filled with blended wine and a syrupy mixture of yeast and sugars (licor de tirajo) causing a secondary fermentation in the temprorarily corked bottle which lasts aproximately nine months.  During this time there is an occasional turning of the bottle (a process called remuage)  to make the yeast residue settle in the neck of the bottle which is then frozen forcing the sediment out after which the bottle is then recorked.

For this tasting, drinking Pere Ventura, Cava Brut Nature (approxiamately $9-$12.00 for a 750 ml bottle), served as chilled as cold as possible (some insist on using a chilled glass) was a delight.  The fine white bubbles preceded the lovely light wheat color which is the perfect invite to a holiday drink (or any other time).  The initial taste produced a nice fruity taste that was matched only by a long  dry finish carrying the initial taste throughout the entire experience.  The effervescence kept my attention by continually enlivening my palate allowing me to be able to  enjoy the long finish.

The lightness of this cava made it very refreshing and enjoyable.  It was an excellent pairing for an apertif, however when tried with a slice of soprosetta salame on a Ritz cracker, it was unfortunately lost in the spice of the salame, with only the bubbles surviving, giving the impression that this cava may be best with a non spicy apertif or some form of salad.

Whether for an apertif or just for a nice wine to enjoy with friends, Pere Ventura is an excellent  wine to have in one’s wine cellar.  One word of advice:  Do not drink this wine solely at the holidays or for special occasions, a cava like this can be enjoyed the entire year for any  reason.  If in fact you do use Cava Pere Ventura at a holiday gathering, toast in the Spanish tradition…¡Próspero Año Nuevo!, to a Prosperous New Year!

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