Given Segura Viudas’ $10 Hall of Fame reputation, it’s no surprise that the new Segura Viudas Gran Cuvee Reserva is another top-notch wine.
I say this even though the Gran Cuvee Reserva ($14, purchased, 12%) is the company’s attempt at trading consumers up, and we all know how the Wine Curmudgeon feels about premiumization. And, to make matters worse, it includes a little chardonnay and pinot noir, two grapes that sometimes show up in cava and rarely add much more than a flabby sweetness.
This time, though, the result is a more elegant, Champagne-like cava — which, of course, I should have expected given Segura’s devotion to quality. Look for some crisp apple, tart lemon, and even a hint of berry fruit, as well as a creamy mousse and a bit of yeasty aroma. Plus, it still has all those wonderful tight bubbles.
This is a step up from the regular Segura and well worth the extra three or four dollars. Highly recommended, whether you’re toasting the New Year in a couple of days or you feel like sparkling wine to brighten a gloomy winter’s day. I drank this with my annual holiday gumbo (chicken, sausage, and okra, made in the finest Cajun tradition, including a nutty, chocolate-colored roux) and my only regret was that I didn’t have a second bottle to drink.
The Segura Viudas cava proves cheap wine’s greatness, a sparkling wine from Spain that offers much more value than it costs, and that does so year after year after year. Best yet, it does so without much Winestream Media attention, a minimum of high scores, and the kind of fawning that more expensive wine and Champagne gets from wine snobs.
I’ve been buying the Segura Viudas ($9, purchased, 12%) for years, almost from the time I started the blog. Yes, the company that makes it paid for a press trip to I took to Spain, but when has that ever stopped me from writing what I thought? This is terrific wine, ideal for sipping, toasting, and meals — bone dry, with tart green apple flavor balanced by a little tropical fruit, the yeastiness that you expect from more expensive champagne-style wines, and tight, delightful bubbles. I really love the bubbles.
This week, when it comes time to celebrate The Holiday that Must Not be Named, don’t worry about impressing your significant other with some high-end, overpriced sparkler that has the kind of description — “dough aromas” — that makes you shake your head and sigh. Pour this, don’t mention how much it costs, and accept the compliments gracefully.
This is the second of two parts about cava, the Spanish sparkling wine — reviews of many of the cavas I tasted. The first part, an overview of cava, posted Feb. 3.
Mini-reviews of some of the cavas that I tasted during my Spanish adventure. Full disclaimer: The trip was paid for by cava producer Segura Viudas, which is part of one of the largest cava companies in the world. But no quid pro quo was part of the trip, and I have not agreed to write anything in exchange for being invited. The reviews, after the jump:
Cava, the Spanish sparkling wine, is a conundrum. It's significantly less expensive than champagne, the French sparkling wine, which immediately makes it suspect among the Winestream Media. Their thinking, of course, is that something that isn't pricey can't be any good. Yet there is a not a thing wrong with cava, most of which deliver quality and value for around $10.
So, as a public service, the Wine Curmudgeon offers the Aria (sample, $13), since it is actually a little more than $10. (There are cavas that cost $20 and more, though they are rarely available in the U.S. I'll review several for those who are curious when I wrap up my Spain trip, paid for by Segura Viudas, later this week.)
The Aria is a little richer and more full bodied than basic cavas like Cristalino and Freixenet, and is probably a little closer in style to champagne. But it's still cava, with the typical fresh, clean lingering finish, a minimum of fruit, and a notable absence of yeast and oak. In all, a lot of wine for not a lot of money.
Serve this chilled on its own, or with most white wine dishes. It would also work with cold plates — Iberian ham, corned beef on rye, and the like.
Call it Cuvee Cranky — my entry in the informal competition between the writers on the cava trip to blend the best sparkling wine. We did the blending on Tuesday, and, believe it or not, Seguras Viudas winemaker Gabriel Suberviola picked mine as the best blend. Yes, the wine world did turn upside down.
I'll write more next week when I get back, but it's enough to know that we have some top wine types on this trip to Spain. So I didn't beat just any group of schlubs. And, given that wine making is not what I do, I was quite surprised. Suberviola said my blend was "balanced and harmonic." Who knew?