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Simon’s Wine of the Week - Lacrima Baccus Organic Cava Brut

Good morning all, Apologies to avid followers of Wine of the Week, I was away for a few days last week. We’re back with a ‘Pop’ though… Simon’s Wine of the Week is Lacrima Baccus Organic Cava Brut Is there a wine that has been so overshadowed by another’s success, as Cava has been by Prosecco? Whilst the perennial Italian sparkling goes from strength to strength, with over 130 million bottles sold last year, sales of Cava languish miles behind. Memories of ‘stack it high, sell it cheap’ Cava from the 80’s and 90’s linger, and Cava’s image suffered. Prosecco has been the fizz of choice for the last 20 years, with its ‘affordable luxury’ shtick; Cava was just seen as cheap. Which is a shame because there’s some fantastic Cava out there, and, because it’s deeply unfashionable, it’s incredibly good value. And it seems that the word about Cava is getting out there, as it is currently undergoing a serious renaissance, with sales expected to be 50% this year versus 2022. So what is it about this Spanish sparkling that is getting people in a fizz? Firstly, it’s in the way it is made. To make most sparkling wines you need a second fermentation to get the bubbles. If you add a bit of yeast and sugar to a still wine, you’re going to get a bit more alcohol, and more importantly you’ll get CO2. If you seal the fermentation container, then the CO2 has nowhere to go and dissolves into the wine. And when you open the container, you get bubbles! And this is one of the big differences between Cava and Prosecco, because whilst Prosecco is made in great big tanks, Cava is made in the bottle. This means that the wine has time to lay on the less (the dead yeast) and takes up some of the flavours, texture and complexity of these dead yeast cells. This means that Cava is made in the same way as Champagne and has more in common flavour wise with the great French sparkling wine than it does with Prosecco. Cava is usually made with the local grapes Xarel-lo, Parellada, and Macabeo, but recently there have been incursions by Champagne grape varieties, with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir appearing in the mix. And whilst Spain may seem to hot to make quality sparkling wine, most of the vineyards are at altitude in Catalonia, where the cooler air retains the crisp acidity that you need for a great sparkling wine. Our newest addition to the range, Lacrima Baccus, is made with the three traditional grapes, and is a benchmark example of the sort of value you can get from Cava. It’s Organic and Vegan too, making it a fine addition to any wine list. I tasted this a few weeks back in our Wine Room and it was an instant hit. In the glass it is pale lemon in colour with very fine, persistent bubbles. The nose is classic Cava, a blend of granny smith apple, sherbet, lemon meringue with a lovely touch of ‘earthy’ complexity in the background. The palate is dry and super fresh, with a creamy texture. There’s a whoosh of lemon and apple flavours, with a touch of dry cider, and hints of tropical fruit. It’s a lovely wine that provides a more ‘serious’ sparkling wine choice at a great price. Obviously, this is going to be perfect on its own but it’s a blast with sushi, smoked salmon or fish and chips. Have a great week,Simon
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