A Must-Try Cava Sparkler

A Must-Try Cava Sparkler

Quality Spanish bubbly at a fair price

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imagesLook around and you’ll see that almost every wine-producing nation now makes a bubbly. Prosecco, of course, is hot, hot, hot, and it’s not even made by the process that real Champagne is. But people love the off-dry easiness that the Glera grape offers, and farmers are planting it in droves. One country that does make bubbly in the manner of Champagne, with the second fermentation that produces the bubbles taking place within the bottle, is Spain. Their “Cava” sparklers have always been cheaper alternatives to the French landmark. The region of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia is home to many Cava producers. The brands you see everywhere are Codorníu and Freixenet. But Gonzales Byass also makes terrific Cava under the Vilarnau name. Today’s example is not only a good drink, but it also comes in a colorfully decorated bottle inspired by the work of famed architect, Antoni Gaudi (of “La Sagrada Familia” Basilica). One person I know saw it and to them it automatically tasted better!

Vilarnau Brut Reserva D.O. Cava $15 srp

Almost clear to light yellow color. A nose of apple, pear and lemon peel, with flowery accents and a “cut” of energy. Lovely, small, persistent bubbles. Flavors are remarkably full with more pear and citric elements. A very good Cava that spends more than 15 months on the yeast before disgorgement. (50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada and 15% Xarel.lo) Drink now-2018.

87/100 points

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Arturo Ciompi
Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.