“I fell in love with everything, the bubbles, the land and the people”..
Swedish born, Anna Wallner, has a passion for all things Spanish and sparkling. In 2009 she bravely decided to leave her stable day job to follow her passion. After immersing herself in the wine industry she came across a world of wine that she now holds dear to her heart, the world of Cava. Anna has become a patriot of the Spanish sparkling wine and is a true inspiration in following ones dreams!
Intrigued by such a motivated and inspirational figure in the wine world, I just had to have a wee Q&A session with her. Here’s how it went:
1. Let’s go back to basics and start from the start, what is Cava?
Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine made by the traditional method, following the rules and regulations of the DO Cava, controlled by Consejo Regulador del Cava. I’m sorry, that was very technical. ?
Cava is mostly produced in Catalonia, to be more precise, 95% of all Cava is made in Penedès just outside Barcelona.
2. How did you fall so deeply in love with the Spanish Sparking wine, Cava?
It was during my sommelier studies. I became very interested in sparkling wine in general and I wanted to learn more about Cava, which was much harder than one would think. Learning about Champagne is easy since there are hundreds of books, but books on Cava there were none. When I started to travel in the area I fell in love with everything, the bubbles, the land and the people. It is just amazing, everything!
3. ‘Cava Sparkling Happiness’ is a beautiful book, what motivated you to write the book?
Actually because I did not find any books about Cava during my studies, and thought it was a bit unfair. Cava is after all the most exported sparkling wine in the world, and people should have a fair chance of learning something about what they drink.
4. I absolutely love the food & Cava section in the book, what is your favourite food to enjoy with Cava & why?
Oh I can drink Cava to anything, I just need to have the right bottle. ?
But I do get a bit extra excited over a nice plate of fried calamari. Maybe it is because we don’t get any nice calamari up here in Sweden, since we need to have them imported and that is not the same.
A very nice fresh bottle of Cava, preferably made on the traditional grapes Xarel-lo, Macabeu and Parellada together with calamari, is probably the ultimate Spanish “trigger” for me. But some nice jamon and bruschetta is always nice too. .
5. If I had 1 day in the Penedes, what Cava houses would you suggest I visit and why?
Well, that depends what you are interested in, but to get a good picture of how diverse the Cava production is, I would suggest that you visit one big house like Freixenet and Codorníu to see how good cava is produced on a mass scale. And visit one or two medium to smaller once, for example Raventós i Blanc or Juvé y Camps that are medium houses and make wonderful cava and are both situated in the city of Sant Sadurní. Or smaller houses like Recaredo, Parés Baltà, who are both biodynamic or Giró i Giró that is a fantastic little house that I just love as well. But anywhere you decide to go I’m sure that you will be very well received. The cava producers are a very friendly lot.
6. In one sentence, how would you convince a beer or non-wine drinker to try a glass of Cava?
Because it makes you happy! (And by that, I don’t mean drunk 😉 )
7. If you could take 1 bottle of Cava to a deserted island, what one would it be?
I would take Turó d’en Mota, from Recaredo. It is an amazing cava made from 70 year old Xarel.lo grapes, and it is the most beautiful vineyard I have ever seen, so full of soul. And so it the wine!
8. When you’re not drinking Cava, what are you drinking?
I have always had a big passion for beer, and just love it.
Anyone feel like a glass of Cava now? I sure do! If you interested in learning about Cava, or ordering your own copy of “Cava, Sparkling Happiness”, please click here.