For those who love sparkling wines, this is a great time of year. However, the festive season can be a minefield of lesser bubblies just waiting to hurt your body and soul. Here in Catalunya, there is no reason to reach for the champagne shelf, as we have a more than ample supply of our own bubbly in the form of cava.
Maybe you’ve been burned by a cheap cava at some point, and it’s true, there are many bad cavas out there. But after countless tastings in recent years, I can attest that there are also a lot of excellent varieties to keep you interested through the toasts and celebrations that lie ahead.
JUVÉ Y CAMPS RESERVA DE LA FAMILIA 2011
Aromatic touches of the barrel aging but very balanced overall. Brioche and red fruits emerge as it opens. Full in the mouth, it holds a good, fresh acidity that carries through the finish, and year after year it is one of the best value bottles on the market. €15
RECAREDO TERRERS 2008
One of my favourite cava producers, who works completely organically. Fresh, floral aromas along with chalky minerality, and a light perfume that gives way to an elegant mouthfeel with excellent acidity enhanced by the fine bubbles. €17
ALTA ALELLA OPUS EVOLUTIUM 2010
What may be termed a Blanc de Blancs as it is made solely from Chardonnay grapes, this unique and elegant bottle holds light lime peel, fresh cream, and white blossoms to the nose as well as mineral notes and a delicate tinge of brininess. €25
Miquel Hudin is originally from California but is now based in Barcelona. He founded the Vinologue enotourism series of wine books. www.vinologue.com