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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Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvee for the holidays

Dec 19, 11 Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvee for the holidays

Posted by in Spain, Sparkling Wine

Although I do tend to go on about champagne, I occasionally drink other sparkling wines. Freixenet sent me the Elyssia Gran Cuvee and the Elyssia Pinot noir, their premium cavas as an economical alternative to champange. I have tried the Elyssia pinot noir in the past and was left a bit wanting but I think they may have tweaked it a bit and this time around, it was definitely much fruitier then before. It’s made from 100% pinot noir and there was plenty of strawberry and raspberry on the nose and palate. It would make a good party aperitif, rosy sparkles around this time of year are always appreciated. The Gran Cuvee was a bit different. I hadn’t tried it before although I have had the Freixenet Cordon Negro in the past and I do enjoy cava. The Gran Cuvee is an interesting blend of macabeo, parelleda, chardonnay and pinot noir. A charming cava, sparkly, gently bubbles, with orange blossom and elderflower on the nose and palate, it was very easy to drink and great with dinner. I could however, have drunk this on it’s own. Both are good economical alternatives to champagne this holiday season. If you can only afford champagne for Christmas or New Years, at least you have a very good Spanish alternative for the rest of the holiday season in the Elyssia cavas. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Benjamin Romeo’s wines of Rioja

The wines of Rioja are very well known in the UK. Largely known for being rich, heavily oaked wines, the regions has recently been infused with new blood and these young winemakers are now making more modern and fresh wines.  Benjamin Romeo is one of those forward looking winemakers and his assistant winemaker, Allende Perez-Medrano (no relation) was in London recently to showcase his wines. I had a chat with her and we had a quick tasting of a wine Benjamin makes in honour of his father, the La Vina Andres Benjamin Romeo, 2002. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Chatting with Manuel Louzada, Numanthia winemaker

When the subject of Spanish wine comes up, the wines of Rioja are usually what springs to mind and although tempranillo is the red grape of Spain. There is a lot more to Spain then Rioja. I had the chance to speak to Spanish winemaker, Manuel Louzada of Numathia vineyards recently. Numanthia is in the Toro DOC region of Spain. The DOC is in the northwest of Spain and specializes in tinta de toro, an offshoot of tempranillo. Manuel however, takes a different approach to his wine and is hoping to create balanced, elegant, but not heavily oaked wines. Manuel and I sat down after lunch one day and had a chat about the Toro region, the tinta de toro grape and how he makes his wines. Oh, and we had a little tasting as well of his Numanthia and Termanthia wines…. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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What a pretty bottle -Elyssia, Spanish sparkling rose

Denise, would you like to come round to mine on Saturday for dinner? I can never resist a dinner invitation, especially if it’s from a good friend and so I found myself, on time for once, on the doorstep of my friend Luiz’ house with a bottle of the new Freixenet rosado sparkling wine, the Elyssia Pinot Noir Brut in hand. Freixenet, the Spanish cava usually found in it’s iconic black bottle with gold lettering is now launching a sparkling rosado wine. Freixenet has long been a big player in the cava stakes, being part of the Codorniu group, it has a wealth of expertise, state of the art wineries and plenty of marketing muscle behind it to launch a rosado sparkling on the market. The Elyssia is a blend of 85% pinot noir and 15% trepat which is a varietal native to Catalonia, it is often used in cava blends to give a uniquely Catalonian spin to the wines. We decided to have the Elyssia as an aperitif. When I pulled out the box, there were lots of oohs and ahhs, they definitely have not skimped on the marketing. The box it comes in is very smart, a soft pink with a defining silver stripe running down the middle, it looked like a very expensive champagne box. The bottle is also well posh, clear and in the shape of traditional champagne bottles, it looked very pretty sitting on the table. So how did it taste? Well, it was fine as an aperitif. I didn’t really find much in the way of defining characteristics. It was a pleasant little bit of sparkle to the evening but I thought it should have been a bit more flavourful. Seeing as it’s a pinot noir brut, I was expecting lots of red berries and red fruits on the nose and palate but didn’t really find much on either. A pleasant sparkly, not offensive in any way. I’ve had other Rosado cavas from Spain and this one, well...

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