Art, culture and wine-pairing
of cavas and sparkling wines
Wine-pairing is understood as the union, analogy or conformity with which some things are linked or correspond to each other. In the case of wines in gastronomy, it is a matter of matching a food with a certain type of wine, so that the resulting combination highlights the properties and delicacies of both products.
Pairing is the art of harmoniously combining food and drink. On the one hand, the aim is to balance the flavours of both products and, at the same time, to create new sensations. When pairing cava and sparkling wines, the texture and flavour of each food and each sparkling wine react differently when mixed. Finding the right combination will make the experience much more pleasurable and allows you to discover the secrets of wine and cava and their entire production process, using sustainable and organically grown techniques.
Before purchasing a sparkling wine, it is important to know which one will go best with each type of food. The sparkling wine chosen must be able to enhance and complement the dish we are going to taste.
Grape varieties for making sparkling wines and cavas
Although xarel-lo, macabeu and parellada is a combination that gives rise to many cavas, the different wineries have always been open to innovation and to the use and blending of other varieties.
The combination of varieties gives rise to unique flavours and aromas for each product. In the tastings, the characteristics are discovered, and their particularities are identified.
- Chardonnay. A variety that brings freshness provided by the aromas of tropical fruits. Its acidity is balanced with a touch of sweetness and these more exotic aromas.
- Macabeu. A variety with a good balance between sugar and acidity and in which the fruity and soft aromas are noticeable.
- Parellada. A variety with more delicate and floral aromas. They also provide freshness and a slight acidity.
- Pinot noir. – This is a very special variety. The bubbles rise to the top and form the famous crown of foam. Fine aromas. Subtle, but pleasant.
- Picapoll. An autochthonous variety, mainly grown in the Pla de Bages area. The grape is small and oval and ripens late. It has a fresh, acidic and deep aroma. Notes of citrus, American pineapple and fresh pineapple stand out.
- Xarel-lo. – It is harvested greener when we want a base wine to make cava, to achieve a fruity balance.
Details of the DO CAVA according to its ageing.
To make cava according to the traditional method, a minimum of nine months of ageing is necessary. The D.O. Cava establishes a series of categories according to the ageing period:
Cavas with an ageing period of between 9 and 18 months.
Cavas aged for more than 18 months.
Within this same category we find the Reserva, aged from 18 to 30 months, and the Gran Reserva, aged for a minimum of 30 months.
Types of cava
The D.O. Cava establishes different typologies according to the sugar added:
- Brut nature cavas, with no added sugar.
- Brut cavas, with a maximum of 12 g/l.
- Dry cavas, between 17 and 30 grams of sugar per litre.
- Sweet cavas, containing more than 50g/l.
Processes to consider serving a cava or sparkling wine well.
The appropriate temperature. – Do not serve cavas too cold, especially reserva and gran reserva cavas, as they would lose their organoleptic properties and, when savoured, their aromatic subtleties would not be enjoyed. To chill a cava correctly, it is recommended to put it in the fridge 24 hours before serving it. It should never be put in the freezer. When it is time to serve, it would be very useful to have an ice bucket to avoid sudden changes in temperature.
Recommendations for tasting sparkling wines
We can start with a visual examination. This involves analysing the cava through its bubbles and colour.
Cavas and sparkling wines that have been aged for a long period of time have an integrated bubble, i.e. a fine bubble that is created naturally. The colour of each cava or sparkling wine will be unique and special. Cavas blended with xarel-lo and chardonnay usually have pale yellow tones with greenish reflections.
Another way of tasting the product is with an olfactory test. Generally, for beginners, it is usually important to taste several times, as the senses must get used to and discern from all the stimuli they receive and begin to recognise the varietal notes of each product or brand. If the cava is aged for a long time, you can find the aromas of the yeasts and toast that the fermentation and ageing time give us. The aromas of a good cava are subtle, fine, and light. Integrated with each other.
The decisive moment is when we reach the taste test. The moment of tasting the cava or sparkling wine. They may have unique aromas and flavours, but these must be integrated and balanced between acidity, sweetness, and alcohol or between freshness and body. All these elements make up the balance in the product. For the final impression, we must keep the flavour of the cava in our mouth for a few seconds to taste and savour it at our leisure.
The keys to WINE-pairing with cava or sparkling wines
The different varieties of cavas and sparkling wines go well with all kinds of dishes, whether they are salads, pasta, rice, fish, seafood, meat or desserts. There is a sparkling wine for every dish.
For example, the Brut Joven or Brut Reserva cavas are ideal to complement all kinds of salads. On the other hand, Brut Nature goes best with pasta dishes and rosés are a perfect match for rice dishes.
Cava has the special ability to enhance the aromatic intensity and flavours of seafood, especially if it is a Brut. On the other hand, for fish, it is better to share a cava or sparkling Reserva or Gran Reserva wine.
And for a dessert to harmonise correctly with a sparkling wine or cava, it is possible to pair it with a semi-dry type. Sometimes, it is also preferred to use a less sweet sparkling wine to create a contrast with desserts that are more acidic or have a higher sugar content.
Another of the great virtues of sparkling wines or cavas is that they allow us to play with any type of chocolate. In this case there are no rules or norms, as the acidity and freshness of the bubbles will help to cleanse the palate and make any chocolate a perfect pairing. We can suggest the Flores al Marc de Cava to finish a meal in the sweetest way. A good suggestion for pairing sparkling wines and chocolates is offered by Simó Coll’s experience as a manufacturer, which has managed to give continuity to its products since 1840, adding other traditional products from Chocolates Amatller,, a brand that Simó Coll acquired in 1972 to evolve and grow with products of great added value.
ARCHITECTURE, CULTURE AND WINE. ANOTHER TYPE OF PAIRING.
In principle, winemaking is an art with centuries of history, learning and evolution, based on tradition but looking to the future. The winemaking process requires a specific environment with ideal conditions of light, temperature and humidity that guarantee the good development of the wine.
WINE, CULTURE AND ARCHITECTURE
Wine is part of our cultural identity and most of the wineries that make wine are also known for their spectacular architecture, a fact that has made them a tourist attraction and a must-see cultural attraction.
Nowadays, all over the territory, there are examples of winery projects that are both avant-garde architecture and jewels of modernism. An authentic combination of centuries of tradition and modernity and an impressive historical and cultural heritage. In this sense, the Cavas Codorniu in Catalonia, designed by the architect Puig y Cadafalch, and other great architectural projects such as the Bodegas Baigorri, located in Samaniego, (Rioja alavesa), designed by the architect Iñaki Aspiazu, or the Bodegas Ysios, designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava, just to mention a few, stand out.
The pleasure of eating and drinking is an inseparable part of the history and culture of Catalonia and Barcelona.
Its privileged enclave in a Mediterranean setting allows for the development of parallel activities complemented by the culture of wine and cava. Activities that sublimate the enogastronomic experience, whether through tastings, excursions in a natural environment, complementary cultural activities and other proposals that are difficult to forget. Wine tourism is, without a doubt, a gift for the senses for all wine lovers,
Wine tourism to discover culture and heritage
Proposals that will allow you to discover the origins, passion, and secrets of Cava, which will allow you to discover the architectural and cultural heritage of Catalonia through wine tourism.
Wine and cava are part of the history of Catalonia and can be discovered in detail through wine tourism programmes and experiences. In the VipXperience programme, there are numerous proposals to carry out privately or with the family.
Discover the varied landscape and cultural heritage in #Catalonia through more than 300 wineries that open their doors to you to enjoy wine tourism.