When it comes to the category of fine sparkling wine and debating who does it best, connoisseurs are more than likely to admit that they are increasingly focused on one region in particular. Champagne is an obvious area to highlight, but the world-class region being referred to here is Catalonia – a place that isn’t likely to come to mind immediately, but nonetheless is hitting the radar. Situated in northeastern Spain (think Barcelona), this is where 95 percent of the country’s Cava is produced.
Cava is the Catalan word for cave or cellar, and while it may not sound as fancy as Champagne, this Spanish sparkling has become incredibly popular around the world as an alternative, and much more affordable, choice for sparkling wine lovers.
Spain’s Cava industry took off in the late 1800s after the root-destroying plague phylloxera devastated much of France’s Champagne-making capabilities. In the 150 years since, cava has never looked back. Today, Spain produces nearly a quarter billion bottles of the bubbly per year.
Much in the way that Champagne is made and governed, Cava is made in the traditional method and must follow strict laws, such as where it can be made and what grapes can be used. Indigenous grapes to Spain, including macabeo, xarel-lo and parellada – three white grapes that are known for being brightly lemony, robustly floral and tartly citrusy, respectively, are commonly used. And although not native to Spain, chardonnay grapes are also often used.
Rosé Cavas are not nearly as popular as their white counterparts but are still widely produced in Spain. These Cavas are often made using pinot noir, garnacha or monastrell grapes.
One producer widely recognized as a leader in the production of Cava is Segura Viudas.
Located outside Barcelona, Heredad Segura Viudas is an iconic boutique winery, quietly basking in the sunny vineyards of the ancient wine region of Penedès. The origins of the Heredad have been traced back to the 11th century – the time of the Iberian Crusades – La Reconquista.
Well noted for its high production standards, this winery utilizes a labour-intensive approach to winemaking, and, as a result, has a penchant for releasing some of Europe’s finest artisan sparkling wines. Their dedication to biodiversity and a focused commitment to sustainability across their winery and vineyards seem to directly influence the quality of their wines.
Their commitment to studying and sustaining the rich and diverse ecosystem that has developed over centuries around their estate has seen the winery being awarded the environmental “Wineries for Climate Protection” certificate. A recent campaign called “Respect the Roots” – designed as a brand conviction and a call to action – not only lends literal reference to their organic plant roots stemming through the vineyards, but also as a metaphor for Segura’s history and heritage, declaring and inviting all to respect the roots in the past.
More importantly, Segura Viudas connects the past of the brand with its roots to the present and future by interpreting history in a contemporary and stylish way. This underlines the premium quality positioning of the products and the brand itself, putting a clear focus on its unique values.
Segura Viudas highlights its historic logo and emblem with a qualitative no-label design on its bottles that makes this logo iconic for the brand – offering a premium Cava for consumers, who appreciate excellent taste and the values of tradition and history as part of quality.
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva D.O. Cava
Fresh and fruity, this a wonderfully dry Brut Cava with an effervescence that is by no means invasive. Unlike many a sharp-tasting bubbly that can overwhelm the palate, this is soft with its floating and persistent mousse dancing across the tongue. Aromas of apple, citrus and tropical fruits lure you in. The palate is complex and quite full of flavour, with good acidity and notes of lime and pineapple. Of course, this is a great choice to have on its own or with appetizers, but expand your comfort zone and try this with a main course meal and expect this to cut and clean all of those assorted flavours on your dish. Quite simply put, this is a value that can’t be met by anyone else for the quality. ($15.95)
Segura Viudas Brut Rosado D.O. Cava
There’s an intense fruitiness on both the nose and the palate here, indicated by its bright and lively strawberry pink colour. Made principally from the trepat grape – a variety that’s grown very little these days. Segura Viudas were pioneers in the regeneration of trepat through their policy of working with indigenous varieties that help to express the distinctive typicity they are always looking for. Youthful fruit aromas of strawberry and currant lead to refreshing palate flavours, full of cherry fruit and light acidity. A soft finish to the back of the palate gives a lovely approachable balance to this very quaffable cava. ($15.95)
Segura Viudas 2013 Brut Gran Reserva Heredad Cava
Created to express style in the world of top range sparkling wines, this Spanish Cava is surely one to experience. Beautifully presented in one of the most stylish bottles one can find, this is made up of nine different wines, each one vinified in separate tanks. The magic of the blend is in ensuring that each one lends its own touch of character to the whole. Aromas of honeyed biscuits, dried fruit and flowers are elegant and enticing. The palate is soft and quite complex, full of flavour with dried fruits from the lees ageing. A class act all the way. ($32.95)