Mont-Marcal Cava Brut Reserva 2017
Estate bottled and disgorged upon order following minimum of 18 months aging on lees. Produced from Xarel-lo, Macabeo, & Chardonnay grapes in a classically dry style. Finely beaded texture with doughy complexity and excellent fruit on the dry finish. Zesty aromas of citrus and ripe yellow fruit -like a gently spiced pear set in pastry.
Manuel Sancho's 230-acre estate, "Finca Manlleu," is located on a prominent chalky knoll five miles south of Vilafranca del Penedès overlooking the hamlet of Sant Marcal. One hundred acres are planted to Parellada, Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Chardonnay for white wines; Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for reds. The "Mont" provides 360-degree exposure, creating a wide variety of microclimates for maturation of the various varieties.
In 1975, Manuel Sancho purchased a neglected 19th-century convent, originally a 14th-century farmhouse, converting it to a state-of-the-art winemaking facility and initiating the restructuring of the vineyards. Recent excavation has expanded the CAVA aging and bottling capacity, at the same time revealing medieval underground passageways in the chalk which have been carefully preserved for additional bottle storage.
Intrinsic vineyard quality and careful handling of the grapes obtain a naturally-rich base wine in little need of dosage. Mont-Marcal Brut Reserva is produced from the indigenous white grapes, Parellada, Macabeo, Chardonnay and Xarel-lo, aged at least 24 months with the yeast, and disgorged on order for shipment.
What is Cava?
Spain adopted the word, cava, which technically means ‘cellar’ in Catalan, to describe their sparkling wines made using the traditional method. While this style was first created outside of Spain in the 1600s, its birthplace inside of Spain came in 1872 when Jose Raventós of Codorníu first produced traditional method sparkling wine in the town of San Sadurní d’Anoia. Uniquely, the Cava denomination isn’t restricted to one geographical area but rather, it spans eight total wine regions. However, about 90% of Spain’s total production of Cava sparkling wine happens within Catalonia, and about 75% is produced within the borders of San Sadurní d’Anoia, inside the smaller Catalan region of Penedès. In 2019, Spain registered nearly 38,000 hectares of vineyards for Cava production, compared to just under 34,000 in Champagne.
How is Cava sparkling wine made?
Cava, like many other sparkling wines of the world is made using the traditional method, or "Champagne method," or método tradicional in Spanish, in which the second fermentation (the one that makes the bubbles) takes place inside the bottle. With this method, spent yeast cells remain in contact with the wine during bottle aging, giving it a creamy mouthful, a toasted bread or brioche quality and in many cases, the capacity to age.
What are the Cava wine grapes?
The mainstay Cava grape varieties include Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo. Macabeo, also known as Viura, lends pleasant aromatics to the blend, while Parellada adds acidity and finesse. Xarel-lo is the grape that gives body, earth and greengage characteristics to Cava. Occasionally Chardonnay is used as a blending grape or sole variety in making Cava. Governmental inclusion approval was awarded in 1986 but still, Chardonnay makes up only a fraction of total vineyard area. For rosé, in Spanish called rosado, the local Trepat and Garnacha can be used, along with Pinot Noir (first permitted in 1998 for rosado and in 2007 for white Cavas).
Cava Tasting Profile
Since Cava is a sparkling wine produced on the Mediterranean where temperatures are warmer and there is more sunshine compared with Champagne, you can expect that Cava will generally have a gentler acid profile compared with its French counterpart. Furthermore, especially when the indigenous varieties are used, common Cava flavors will include citrus peel, fennel, wildflower, lemon blossom and flint or saline. Most Cava is produced in the Brut style, so dry, with a slightly rounder finish that balances brightness with brioche notes and supple fruit. Brut Nature or Zero Dosage examples are bone dry, whereas Extra-Dry Cava will be slightly sweet and a Demi-Sec Cava will have the highest sweetness level.
One of the best things about pairing Cava is you can drink it on its own or with just about any food! But if you want to focus on bringing out Cava's uniquely brilliant bouquet and citrus notes, rich or seafood-centric dishes are perfect food pairings for Cava. Try Cava with butter poached lobster, seafood risotto, puff pastry and caramelized onions or fried chicken.
Representing the topmost expression of a Champagne house, a vintage Champagne is one made from the produce of a single, superior harvest year. Vintage Champagnes account for a mere 5% of total Champagne production and are produced about three times in a decade. Champagne is typically made as a blend of multiple years in order to preserve the house style; these will have non-vintage, or simply, NV on the label. The term, "vintage," as it applies to all wine, simply means a single harvest year.