Copa de Cava: Spain in the City
There are 2 simple Cava rules if you live in or near London:
Rule #1 – If you love Cava, you must visit Copa de Cava
Rule #2 – If you don’t love Cava, you must visit Copa de Cava… you will learn to love it!
Copa de Cava is a dedicated Cava bar, which was opened by the team behind Camino and Bar Pepita (try it sherry lovers!) in May 2013. I went along with a couple of other wine enthusiast to meet Richard Bigg, the man with the plan, following a bit of Twitter banter… And I can assure we will all be going back again and again.
The bar is located in the heart of the City, a 2-minute walk from Blackfriars station, and really feels a little piece of Spain of Spain has been transported to our capital; walk down the steps and you will find yourself in an authentic Spanish bodega. Richard is a huge fan of Spain, having spent lots of time in the sunny climate over the years, and wants to help rescue the image of Cava that he feels is suffering due to what is available on UK supermarket shelves. He says it’s time to stop being apologetic and start to celebrate Cava, demonstrating how can be a fantastic drink and should be held in the same esteem as Champagne.
And he is 100% right. Cava can only be labelled so if it produced using the Método Tradicional (Méthode Traditionnelle in French), the same process used for making Champagne. Yeast and sugar is added to a base wine, which then undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle and allowed to age. Brut wines must undergo a minimum of 9 months ageing before release, 15 months for Reserva and 30 month for Gran Reserva.
The fizz is made predominantly using the indigenous grapes Xarel-lo, Macabeu and Parellada, each of which bring something different to the wine. Macabeu brings fruit and a balance acidity and freshness, Parellada is delicate and aromatic with a creamy character, and Xarel-lo has an aromatic nature and brings structure that provides great ageing potential. Subirat, Chardaonnay and Pinot Noir are also allowed, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha and Monastrell, which can be added to the base wine in the production of Rosado (rosé).
The sheer amount of work that goes into these wines make the prices incredible value… the result in the bottle makes the prices exceptional.
There are over 20 different Cavas available Copa de Cava at any one time, with eight available by the glass, along with a selection of still Spanish wine. Look out for the Cava flights, where you get 3 x 75ml glasses to taste your way through a selection of different wines at a very attractive price. There is also a delicious selection of authentic Tapas available to complete the experience.
Copa de Cava also operates an audacious happy hour, with 2 for 1 on all Cavas by the glass between 5PM to 7PM; in fact the only downside is that Copa de Cava is not open at the weekend! I can assure you Richard there would be plenty of wine lovers that would make a beeline at the weekend too!
For our visit we put ourselves in Richard’s hands and tasted (I mean drank full glasses/bottles!) our way through six wines, accompanied by a fine selection of tapas including some incredible octopus and squid-ink rice:
Mas Pere Brut Reserva (£5.75 glass/£29.50 bottle)
40% Macabeu, 40% Xarel-lo, 20% Parellada
Delightfully yeasty nose, with hints of citrus fruit and honey. The palate is all about the citrus freshness and elegant texture; so smith and with a surprisinlgly long finish. 90 points
Raventós í Blanc de Nit Reserva 2010 (£7.50 glass/£36.00 bottle)
55% Macabeu, 30% Xarel-lo, 10% Parellada, Monastrell 5%
Raventós actually decided to leave the Cava DO in 2012 and begin a new direction (Conca Del Riu Anoia) but I’m glad its still on the menu at CdC! This rosado has a floral and rather funky nose, but the palate is dry as a bone, with super acidity but amazing balance with fruit and brioche (not sure what the Spanish equivalent is!). A wonderful wine that left me salivating just as the food arrived. 93 points
Mas Sardana Cava Brut Nature Reserva (£33.00 bottle)
50% Xarel-lo, 25% Macabeu, 25% Parellada
Aromas of citrus and white flowers with a gentle whiff of toast. So delicate and so fine on the palate – reserved and elegant with hints on citrus and apple. The vinegar from the steamed Galician mussels, roasted pepper vinaigrette really brought it to life! 92 points
Gramona Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2008 (£8.00 glass/£42.00 bottle)
50% Xarel-lo, 40% Macabeu, 10% Parellada
Appears to be a light oxygenation and a truffle/vegetal note. Deep, toasty, salty complex palate with bruised apples and a spritz of citrus – the finish is very long and very complex – again so much better with the Pa Amb Tomaquet (toast, tomato, garlic, extra virgin olive oil) 93 points
Núria Claverõl Sumarroca 2004 (£46.00 bottle)
70% Xarel-lo, 15% Parellada, 15% Chardonnay
Very expressive nose of freshly baked bread and a hint of allspice. The palate is surprisingly savoury and mineral with a definite saltiness.I found id slightly lacking in fruit but the savoury notes just keep going. 91 points
La Rosita, Lobban, Calatayud (£6.75 glass/£34.00 bottle)
85% Garnacha, 15% Shiraz
A wonderfully fun Rosado to finish things off and the perfect accompaniment to the chocolate pot with churros. Cherry and blackberry fruit with a wonderful fresh, acidic but also luxuriously creamy palate. POW! Certainly no shrinking violet but all the better for it. 89 points
Copa de Cava is open from 5.00 till late Monday to Friday.
For full details go to www.cava.co.uk
I would like to thank Richard for his time and his generosity – we did not pay for any food or drink on our visit.