Loving this cava – Reina Maria Cristina 2008 blanc de noir

Dec 28, 11 Loving this cava – Reina Maria Cristina 2008 blanc de noir

Posted by in Spain, Sparkling Wine

I usually stick to champagne but I did have this fabulous cava on Christmas Day. Codorniu is probably better known for it’s everyday cavas but the Reina Maria Cristina 2008 blanc de noirs cuvee is a contender for best sparkling wine (non-champagne) of the year in my book. The Reina is named after a queen (reina means queen in Spanish) and is worthy of such a moniker. Spain’s first 100% blanc de noir and produced in the traditional method, the 2008 vintage is Codorniu’s premium cava. The grapes used in the blend all come from family owned vineyards and the wine is aged 18-24 months before being released onto the market. A deliciously elegant wine, tiny bubbles shooting up from the bottom of the glass and into my mouth. Soft and silky  (if it’s possible to say that about bubbles) swooshing past my tongue on the way down. A decadent cava if ever there was one, full of subtle red fruit and floral aromas on the nose with a crisp finish. The Maria Cristina is probably one of the best cavas I’ve had in a long time. It also helps that the cava is packaged in a very distinctive, sexy bottle. It’s very pleasing to my aesthetic sense with it’s squarish bottom half tapering up to a heavy rim. I’d be very happy to drink this on New Year’s Eve and at £14.99 you could have it more often than once a year. Much more often! Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Catalan Cooking with Codorniu

Tapas are extremely popular here in London but Spanish cuisine has a lot more to offer then jamon y queso. Rachel McCormack feels it’s her mission to bring the “other” cuisines of Spain to London. To that end, she has set up her own small cooking classes, called Catalan Cooking. Roughly twice a month, Rachel takes over the normally sweet tooth haven of Bea’s of Bloomsbury’s and transforms it into a Catalan cuisine inspired cafe. Rachel is of Scottish origin but spent her formative years (read: her 20’s) kicking around Catalonia, mostly in Barcelona where she “…caught the Catalonian obsession with food…” as she says.  There she took every opportunity to hang out with the mama’s in their kitchens, learning their secrets, visiting markets and restaurants and generally soaking up as much as she could about the Catalan cuisine. She’s teamed up with former executive chef of Asia de Cuba, Franz Schinagl, who also runs his own supper club out of Bea’s,  to not only bring a taste of Catalan to us Londoners but also show us how to do it.   Our menu was expertly matched by the Spanish cava makers Codorniu and featured some of their very best cava. My favourite of the evening has to be the 2008 Reina Cristina Blanc de Noirs. It is their top of the line and was created in 1997 to honour the Queen Regent Maria Cristina who gave Codorniu their royal warrant in 1897. The 2008 Blanc de noir is the first Spanish blanc de noir and comes from some of the oldest pinot noir vineyards in Spain. An elegant sparkler, it has plenty of subtle fruity notes and bouncy bubbles while at the same time not being too aggressive on the tongue. It was served with our main course(s) and was delicious with our samples of all 7 dishes. Through out the evening we were able to sample Codorniu’s range of cavas and Rachel will be serving this menu up again along with the...

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Everything’s coming up roses for Project Awesome

Rosé! Olé! That was my mission as part of Project Awesome. Some of you may not be familiar with Project Awesome but in a nutshell, The Wineyard & Deli in Morecombe contacted 6 of us bloggers to match their wines with our recipes. While some bloggers got a bit carried away with the whole clandestine operation and posted frequently, I, on the other hand, chose to take the dark horse route (read: didn’t have time to get around to blogging about it til now) but I finally cooked up something for this project. I was sent a bottle of 2008 Raimat Abadia rosé. Rosés are some of my favourite wines and I am on a tireless campaign to remind people that not all rosés are sickly sweet concoctions from California. The Spanish Raimat is an offshoot of the well known cava producer Codorniu. The Raimat vineyards produce still table wines and are also dedicated to producing wines sustainably. While they are not officially certified organic or biodynamic, they try to use minimal agrochemicals, reduce waste and optimize all available local resources. The Raimat rosé is a  blend of cabernet and tempranillo. A lively rosé, it was fresh, crisp and dry with plenty of red cherry and strawberry notes. Not surprisingly, it was bright cherry red, this was certainly no delicate rosé but rather a robust Spanish wine to stand up to the heat that comes from the plains of Spain.  Now, I just want to remind everyone that I am a wine blogger but I seem to be doing more and more with food so, what to pair with this rosé? I had a load of chicken wings and a friend suggested a honey soy marinade so…. that’s what we had for lunch. The recipe is so easy and the chicken wings came out fabulously. A simple spinach, tomato cucumber salad garnished with sunflower seeds and dressed with aged balsalmic vinegar and virgin olive oil and voila! Lunch was served. What I like about...

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EWBC ’08 Bloggers Invitational-the wines

More from the EWBC ’08, this time it’s the Winebloggers Invitational and, to see me interviewed, check out the following link from VinusTV (click here) who were on hand to interview all us bloggers. It was great fun to see what the other bloggers brought for us to try. There were wines from as far away as Canada (a rather intriguing attempt at producing cabernet sauvignon in that northern climate). The Spanish wine giant, Codorniu was one of the main sponsors of the conference and brought plenty of Cava as well as their new range of still table red and white wines for the first nights’ event. I’ve tried them all before in London (see July 08 post) but that didn’t stop me from trying them all again to see if they were just as good as I remembered them. They were! I’m partial to sweeties and Thomas Lippert from winzerblog based in Germany (which is unfortunately for me, written in German) brought not only dry rieslings but also an icewine, which he produces. I spoke to him later about his icewine and he told me that they are only produced in exceptional vintages and that they usually have to pick on Christmas or New Year’s Eve – such is the hardships of an icewine producer. His wine however, is definitely worth the effort. He brought along a 2001 icewine which was unctuous and sweet, like candy while at the same time with enough acidity to keep it well balanced. I love icewine and this one only reinforced my opinion. Another sweetie was the Bodega Tintoralba Dulce, a red dessert wine. I was a bit surprised when I poured it as I thought it was going to be a white wine but any doubts were dispelled once I tried it. It was a delicious, red nectar, not cloying but nicely well balanced with plenty of boysenberry and raspberry in the mix. The wine is produced from over-ripened Garnacha Tintorera, a spanish variety which produces...

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Raimat Abadia

The Codorniu tasting was a long one. First the sparkling and then the still wines. I have to admit that after all those sparklings, I was beginning to get a bit tipsy, especially since this was an informal tasting session after work. But I soldiered on and sampled the wines of Raimat which is the still wine arm of Codorniu. A bit of background on Raimat. They are one of Spain’s most progressive winemakers today. Two years ago they brought in a whole new winemaking team and are using the latest technological advances to produce top quality wines. They even go so far as to do satellite mapping of their vineyards to analyze the soil. Raimat Abadia has been repackaged for 2008 to reflect all the new advances being made at Raimat. The vineyards are based in NE Spain, DO Costers del Segre in Catalunya. Their tagline is “Spanish wines beyond Rioja” and I think that they’ve proved that Spain has a lot more to offer then tempranillo. First up was the Raimat Abadia Crianza 2005. A blend of Cab. Sauv., Merlot and Tempranillo, aged 10 months in American oak and then a further 6 months in French. On the nose, aromas of plum and stewed fruits, a bit of spice and toast. A lovely medium bodied wine with more of those plummy fruits and hints of sweet spice and chocolate once I’d swished it around my mouth. I liked this wine, easy on it’s own or with a meal. The next two wines were whites. The Raimat Abadia Blanc de blanc 07, a blend of chardonnay and albarino. Albarino is unusual for this part of Spain as most of it is grown in the northwest, around Galicia. On pouring, aromas of tropical fruit and what I can only describe as pineapple pie hit me on my nose. This medium bodied wine had loads of pineapple flavours and hints of grapefruit on the finish. Very refreshing and I could imagine drinking it with a...

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