Cava Avinyó: A Pearl of a Wine

Cava Avinyó: A Pearl of a Wine

Country:

Spain

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Made in the same painstaking way as French Champagne, the Aviny Brut is a classic cava. A lovely pearl of a bubble beads to the top of the glass: soft scents of fruit, fresh bread and Chardonnay-like fruit delight the nose: apple, pear and the faintest hint of cinnamon caress the palate. Fun, flavorful, and easy to drink, the Avinyó Brut is one of the most enjoyable sparkling wines we've tasted in a long time. Kudos to the Esteve Nadal family for producing such charming, well-balanced champagne, or rather, cava, with such a beguiling aftertaste; it lingers for nearly a minute. Exhibiting neither an acidic bite nor a flat, flabby finish, this wine will change your mind about sparkling wines or make you wonder why you paid $125.00 for a bottle of Dom Perignon.
Hors d'oeuvres such as smoked salmon with capers and onions, or that special someone are our favorite accompaniments to the Avinyó Brut. Like all fine sparkling wines, less is usually more. Usually, neither "heady" nor "heavy" will accentuate the subtle delicacy of sparkling wine. Although our preference is to consume the Avinyó Brut as an apéritif with family and friends, we do like what it does for lightly grilled or sautéed fish, and the fact that it will stand up to salmon in a fennel sauce attests to its diversity. You may also want to try it with veal or chicken. There are even a few among us who insist upon saving the bottle for dessert to finish with fruit, cheese, or simple biscotti. Perhaps you'll need to have a few bottles on hand-it goes down easy.
Cava Avinyó is produced by the Esteve Nadal family of Avinyonet del Penedès. The winery is located at their home, Can Fontanals, in the heart of the Penedès region of Catalonia, near Barcelona. The family's delicious cava, or sparkling wine, produced by the painstaking champagne process, is the only wine the family makes for sale, preferring to concentrate their talents on what they do best. The patriarch, Juan Esteve, planted vines of Parellada, Xarel-lo and Macabeo 25 years ago so that he could have a fine sparkling wine for his family and friends. Today his two sons and his daughter carry on the tradition of Avinyó, providing a very small quantity of this exquisite bubbly for export. Avinyó is produced from 40% free run juice. The resulting wine is aged in the cellar for a minimum of 18 months. The use of such a high percentage of free run juice gives the wine its fresh, but non-astringent character, while the extended bottle aging practiced at this estate winery contributes to a very long, flavorful finish. It is this long, distinctive finish that remains the signature of the estate's outstanding Cava. On the Avinyó label, there is an inscription in Catalan that aptly represents the philosophy of the Esteve Nadal family. The inscription roughly translates into the following: "From the must of the flower, or free run juice, and with the rigor of a work well crafted." There also appears a tiara from the church of the local village. Indeed, the Esteve Nadal family has crafted a jewel that many in the wine trade have called "other worldly." The masio, or farmhouse, that housed the winery is also the workshop of Fina Via, the wife of Juan Esteve, who is a renowned ceramic artist. Her works appear throughout the region and all of it is done according to the same traditional methods that were used during the seventeenth century in Catalonia. "How much more beautiful the world would be with a little more art, a little more love, and a few more wines like the Avinyó Cava! Gracias Señor and Señora Esteve Nadal for doing your part- your pearls are not hidden, they shine forth in my glass," commented one of Avinyó's admirers. Certainly this tiny estate is doing its part to make the world smile. Salut!
Cava: Catalonian Bubbly Cava may sound like java, but it tastes a lot like champagne. Produced by the traditional champagne method of fermenting the wine in the bottle, cava is Spain's answer (some would even say rebuke) to champagne. Although cava can be made elsewhere in Spain, it is the Catalan versions from Penedés that have captured the world's attention. In fact, more fine champagne-method sparkling wine flows out of Catalonia than any other place on Earth, including Champagne. The limestone hills beyond Barcelona provide the ideal soil condition, nearly identical to that of Champagne, for the cultivation of the native Xarelo-lo, Parellada, Viura, and Macabeo grapes for sparkling wine. With the addition of champagne yeasts during the fermentation, the high-acid musts of Catalonia yield sparkling wines of rich flavor, softness and finesse to rival those of Champagne itself. Where cava may even have the "edge," is in its soft, round, lingering finish, the antithesis of French Champagne which can often possess just a bit too much nerve and acidity on the back end. Centered around the town of San Sadurni de Noya, 20 miles west of Barcelona, the production of cava has taken the world by storm. In the past thirty years, the export of the cava has grown from a relative trickle to Spain's leading wine export; cava is presently the world's number one selling champagne-method sparkling wine.
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