12/29/2021 Federico Oldenburg, journalist specializing in wines
08/27/2021 Federico Oldenburg, journalist specializing in wines
December 13 2021
For this year’s festivities, the circumstances call for the uncorking of quality Cavas, with lively sparkle and immediate impact, to toast with your petit comité (as post-pandemic caution requires).
Celebrating life, time spent with loved ones, and traditions need not be a reason for exorbitant spending, at least not for the bubbly toast, because, in the realm of Cava, there are alternatives to enjoy in style, without breaking the bank.
A lot has happened (and a lot of Cava has been poured) since Josep Raventós i Fatjó produced his first 3000 bottles of sparkling wine – what was then known as xampany – in 1872. And not only in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, the Cava capital par excellence, but also in the other terroirs – such as Alella (Barcelona), Almendralejo (Extremadura), Laguardia (La Rioja) or Aranda de Duero (Burgos) – where this wine-making methodology has also taken root. So much so that the Consejo Regulador del Cava (Cava’s Regulating Council) also recognizes it origin from these places.
Over the course of more than a century and a half of existence, Cava has learnt to adapt to the times, first making a name for itself with the trilogy of traditional varieties by which it is characterized – Xarel·lo, Macabeo and Parellada –, which are complemented by other varieties that highlight its nuances: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Monastrell... and then becoming known for its great diversity of ranges and labels, which offer wine-lovers a Cava for practically any occasion. There are light and dry options for aperitifs; others with more ageing and complexity, which can handle the most varied culinary challenges; as well as rosés, which pair with exotic cuisines; and not forgetting the off-dry Cavas which blend with desserts and cheeses. Any one of them is ideal for toasting, obviously. Don’t forget that there’s nothing more cheerful and welcome at any table than a sparkling celebration wine like Cava.
One of the main virtues that Cava boasts during this festive season is the ability to choose wines with excellent value for money.
In 15Bodegas’ range, there is a wide variety of styles and brands on offer:
At Codorníu, for example, the two original cuvées – the Codorníu Cuvée Original Brut Organic, as well as the brand-new Codorníu Cuvée Original Rosé – are both available for 5.90 euros per 75 cl bottle.
Anna de Codorníu, Codorníu’s emblematic label, also offers excellent value for money in its wide range, with different varieties of sparkling wines. The most affordable are the Anna de Codorníu Brut, the Anna de Codorníu Brut Nature (which includes Chardonnay in its coupage), the Anna de Codorníu Blanc de Noirs (100% Pinot Noir) and the Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé (also made from the Burgundy grape).
The Cava Bach Extrísimos, at 4.45 euros per 75 cl bottle, are another very compelling option, in any of its varieties: Cava Bach Brut, ideal as an aperitif; or the Cava Bach Demi-Sec, which works equally as a welcome drink and an accompaniment to dessert. Rosé lovers have, for the same price, a Cava Bach Rosé Brut, the red, Monastrell, adds a wine-like and distinctly Mediterranean character.
Beyond Sant Sadurní d’Anoia and its surrounding vineyards – the area around which most of this sparkling wine’s production is concentrated –, there are also Cavas being produced which boast great value for money. This is the case with Signat Brut, heir to the long tradition of producers of this type of wine in the small region of Alella, in the province of Barcelona. A young and expressive Cava, with the Xarel·lo variety – known as the Pansa Blanca in this region – in the starring role and a retail price of 7.25 euros, this is an undoubtedly appealing wine for palates that are eager to discover new regions.
The same can be said of the Organic Cava Raimat Brut Nature Chardonnay-Xarel·lo, this sparkling wine comes from the Lleida vineyards of the renowned Raimat winery and it isn’t just attractive thanks to its affordable price (9.20 euros). Combining the majestic white Burgundy and – champenoise – Chardonnay with the boldest of the three varieties of Cava, the Xarel·lo, this sparkling wine is also rigorously produced in an ecological manner, a forward-looking vision to which this house has committed.
After having recommended so many notable, quality and very affordable Cavas in this post, there are only a few more left to add, which retail at higher prices, but which still offer exceptional value for money. Because they are also worth more than they cost. Anyone who decides to take them home for the upcoming toasts, will no doubt enjoy them: they won’t let you down.
Jaume Codorníu Gran Reserva Ars Collecta
This is the case with Codorníu Ars Collecta’s wines. Both Ars Collecta Grand Rosé Reserve 2019, 100% Pinot Noir, and Ars Collecta Blanc de Blancs Gran Reserva 2017, 100% Chardonnay (both retailing at 16.95 euros), as well as Jaume Codorníu Gran Reserva Ars Collecta, 100% Pinot Noir, of a white variety (retailing at 19 euros without case), are all excellent Cavas, created using the most rigorous wine-making processes. Enjoying them is a unique experience, because they promise extraordinary sensations: a pleasure that you will never forget.
So, which Cava will you serve with your meals and which will you toast with this Christmas?