As winter turns to spring, celebrate the warmer weather with Spanish wines By Aubrey Craig
There are few things I enjoy more than sharing a bottle of cava in Central Square with family and friends. Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine from Catalonia, on the Mediterranean coast. This Denominación de Origen (DO) has strict aging and production requirements. Cava, such as Segura Viudas Brut Rosé, must be aged for a minimum of nine months. Cava has a white DO seal on the foil. My personal favorite of 45 Central’s cava offerings is the Perelada Brut Blanc Reserva. Made from the classic grape varieties Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Paradella, this and all other reserva cava must be aged a minimum of 15 months and is capped with a green DO seal. This reserve requirement is in stark contrast to other regions, such as California, which have no accepted criteria for reserve wines. Lastly, Gran Reserva Cava must be aged 30 months before release, and has a black DO seal on its cap.
The red wines of Rioja, in stark contrast to other regions, are also subject to aging restrictions. A Gran Reserva Rioja, such as the 2009 Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva, must be aged for two years in oak and three years in bottle. This particular wine is made only in exceptional vintages, the previous vintage being 2006. Muga is among a very small number of wineries that maintain an in-house cooperage, which allows them to control the consistency of wood and toast in their barrels.
A great pairing with strong cheeses, Prado Enea has been a personal favorite for many years. This cuvee is 70 percent Tempranillo, 20 percent Garnacha, and the remaining 10 percent split between Mazuelo and Graciano; its richness and silky texture are sure to please. The Crianza style of Rioja is a great entry point into the style. The 2013 Vivanco Crianza from 45 Central is a great entry point into the region. With aging requirements one year in oak and an additional year in bottle, Crianza provides excellent value. Let’s share a glass this spring.