Monthly Archives: July 2014
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.
It’s July and that means it must be summer. Today has been one of the hottest days of the year and the weekend forecast looks promising… and what goes better with the sun that Riesling, Rose and wines from the Loire! More luck than judgement from me but what the heck… enjoy the sun and the wine!
The second Grape Debate took place at the West London Wine School last week and the subject was Riesling; a brilliant event with lots of learning, laughing and dodgy tactics ensued…
The first rose of the year comes from Spain; it’s time to get to know Rosado!
Monthly wine writing challenge
It’s been a while since I entered the online monthly wine writing challenge but this month’s topic of “Values” got me interested. There are 17 articles this month – have a read and vote for me… I mean vote for the best one!
Waitrose are promoting their Loire Valley wines (offers end 15th July) so what better way to enjoy the July sunshine. I wrote this article on Loire wine earlier this year if you need some inspiration:
La Mariniere Muscadet 2013, Muscadet (Waitrose £5.39 was £6.39)
Muscadet will be cool again – so refreshing and a perfect with seafood.
Champteloup Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Touraine (Waitrose £6.69 was £8.99)
Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire without the price tag of Sancerre and POuilly Fume – crisp citrus fruit with a delicate grassy edge.
Domaine du Vieux Vauvert 2013, Vouvray (Waitrose £7.99 was £8.99)
Chenin Blanc is made in so many different styles – this one is dry with apple crispness and just a touch of honey – I love Chenin.
Croix de Chaintres Saumur-Champigny 2012 (Waitrose £9.59 was £11.99)
Don’t forget the reds! This 100% Cabernet Franc is bursting with red fruit and has the classic Cab Franc herbaceous note – try it chilled, a lovely way to kick off your weekend.
And if you’re in Sainsbury’s make sure you pick up a bottle of their Taste The Difference Priorat – you don’t get much Priorat under £20 never mind under £10 – here’s what I wrote about it in article last year:
Taste The Difference Priorat 2009, Spain (Sainsbury’s £8.50 was £11.00)
This is fab. Blackberries, black currants and a touch of damson jam, but there’s also a fabulous savoury edge and an earthy minerality. Refreshing acidity, nicely judged oak and balanced powdery tannin. This is still a young wine but so what, it tastes really good right now.
Wine in the news
We start with sad, sad news as hail hits Burgundy again, potentially destroying the livelihood of many winemakers:
11 signs you might be turning into a wine snob:
Are we being conned by restaurant wine lists?
Sarah Ahmed picks 20 great Aussie wines from The Wine Society
Tasting Dom Perignon:
7 of the best places in the world to drink wine:
Some very good (and some very bad) one-liners this week:
Why do men find it difficult to make eye contact? Breasts don’t have eyes.
A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.
How do you get a sweet 80-year-old lady to say the F word?
Get another sweet little 80-year-old lady to yell *BINGO*!
As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools.
What did one ocean say to the other ocean? Nothing, they just waved.
A day without sunshine is like, night.
A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don’t need it.
What is faster Hot or cold? Hot, because you can catch a cold.
Love may be blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener.
When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
I say no to alcohol, it just doesn’t listen.
If you can’t convince them, confuse them.
Whenever I find the key to success, someone changes the lock.
What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t come back? A stick.
Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
Time is what keeps things from happening all at once.
If at first you don’t succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.
I just let my mind wander, and it didn’t come back.
I can handle pain until it hurts.
A bargain is something you don’t need at a price you can’t resist.
Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
The boring stuff
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