Mr Spittoon and I spent 6 weeks in Cava country in Spain. The Penedes is a beautiful region and if you love Spanish sparkling wine, it’s a must do!
When we were there we did a WorkAway experience where we worked in exchange for food, board and wine. It was a great way to extend our backpacking adventure without dipping into our budget. Continue reading →
I absolutely love the selection of wine Good Pair Days have online. There’s always something interesting! Including this sample bottle I received (thank you!) of the Bodegas DoCampo 2018 ‘Sampaio’. Continue reading →
“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? Beer. ?
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.
You can also connect with Anna on twiiter and facebook if you would like to chat to her about Cava more indepth.
Following on from my February 6th article, about Cava Berdie, I have to recognize another bodega whose seductive Spanish suave swayed me to the Cava side of life last summer.
You, me and the guy next door are all looking for a way to stand out from the crowd and to shout ‘I am unique’, its human nature after all. After visiting various Cava producers I have come across a Bodega who in my eyes, stands out from the rest. Gramona Cavas in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia is revolutionizing Cava and the Spanish wine industry as I am writing this.
What sets Gramona apart from other producers is their philosophy of making aged Cavas rather than young and fruity Cavas. The minimum ageing length for any of their Cavas is 4 years in order to allow autolysis to fully kick in. Autolysis is the chemical reaction that takes place with the wine spends enough time in contact with the lees to produce more toasty, nutty and creamy flavours in the final product. See I told you, that it’d make you moan.
But as I found out on my recent visit to the Cava caves of Gramona, the crafting of their products does not stop there. Possibly the most interesting part of the 3-storey cave visit was seeing their solera system for ageing their dosage (a measure of sugar and/or wine added in the final step of production). This alongside using triple disc corks, hand riddling and hand labeling just shows how important quality is. This is probably the reason that a lot of their Cava is sold before the wine is even bottled. Quality, exclusivity and innovation are what Gramona is all about.
If you prefer something with fewer bubbles, Gramona will definitely tempt your taste buds. Their 25 product strong portfolio also includes a 100% Pinot Noir, barrel-aged Sauvignon Blancs and ice-wines using dry ice and freezing techniques. Tours can be arranged in Spanish, Catalan and English. The price ranges from 6 Euro per person for a 45-minute tour and tasting and up to 40 Euros per person for a 3-hour tour including a guided tasting of 8 different Cavas. It is well worth a visit to see how this internationally acclaimed Bodega is able to produce what I like to think is the elite of the Cava world. For more details on how to contact Gramona, please click here.