Long ageing means this style is more marked by autolysis, which adds toasted, buttery and spicy notes. These are Cavas that pair with complex dishes including toasted nuts, mature cheeses, aged beef and foie gras.
Bruno Colomer, winemaker at Raventós Codorníu believes balance is the key factor in pairing foods with their Ars Collecta range of Gran Reserva Cavas: “One of the key characteristics is the balance they show between freshness and body, aroma and structure on the palate. They have a long capacity for ageing, that’s to say; they have a great deal of energy and vitality despite their ageing. In addition, 40 months’ ageing gives a velvety texture, they are extremely smooth with broadness on the palate. This all means that they can be served with dishes that are well structured, smooth and delicate all at the same time, lightly flavored dishes that allow the raw material to shine, such as sole with a cream sauce, oysters, seafood, white meats, canelones, rare meat or raw fish.”
For Álex Pardo, the notes of toasted nuts and the oxidative touches in Gran Reserva Cavas means that they pair perfectly with pan-fried mushrooms, or Coque’s roast suckling pig with crispy skin.
Marcos Arreza Martín of the 5-star hotel Villa Magna, recommends baked turbot or the classic bacalao a la vizcaína – salt cod in a sauce made from red choricero peppers – with Kripta from Agustí Torelló, a Gran Reserva Brut Nature, made from old vine Macabeo, Xarel.lo and Parellada aged for 48 months.
Marcos also reminds us that cava is a multi-regional DO, and suggests some local pairings - Tantum Ergo Brut Nature Pinot Noir, a rosé cava from Bodegas Hispano Suizas ,ocated in the Utiel-Requena area of Valencia, “ties together the flavors in a paella beautifully,” while Vía de la Plata Cava Reserva Chardonnay from Extremadura is recommended with a local “torta” cheese”.
Endless possibilities for an endlessly versatile and enjoyable sparkling wine.
Text: Anna Harris-Noble