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Fabulous Fizz

TOAST hears about Cava’s comeback with Codorníu

Fizzy news flash! Cava is making a comeback. TOAST chats to Codorníu’s Moises Almenara to learn about Europe’s largest privately-owned wine estate and their premium Cava, plus his top tips for serving this tasty Spanish fizz at home



There was a time when wine lovers everywhere were a bit snooty about Cava, often dismissing it as a less impressive alternative to champagne. But then suddenly Prosecco became the fizz of choice, and now it’s Cava’s turn to make a comeback. Just last week I was at very smart wedding and after the ceremony guests were treated to a glass of chilled vintage Cava rather than the customary French fizz, and the general consensus was that it was in fact totally delicious. Cava (made by Codorniu, no less) was also recently chosen as the main sponsor of Madrid’s prestigious Fashion Week. So yes, that’s right folks - Cava is officially the most fashionable fizz to be sipping this summer.   

Whilst Champagne is of course French and Prosecco Italian, Cava is Spanish; it is a sparkling wine of Denominación de Origen (DO) status from Catalonia and much like Champagne here in the UK, Cava is an important part of Catalan and Spanish family tradition and is often served at celebrations such as baptisms, marriages, parties and other special occasions. It therefore makes complete sense that Spain’s oldest family-run business also happens to be Europe’s largest privately-owned wine estate – Codorníu.

“I grew up with Cava! It is always on every table and celebration, and it has been like this for hundreds of generations!” enthuses Moises Almenara, On-Trade & Prestige Sales Manager for Codorniu in UK and Ireland. “I do my job because I am passionate about the art of Cava, wine making and Codorniu,”

Established in Barcelona in 1551 and steeped in rich family heritage, Codorníu is Spain’s oldest winery and is the result of an impressive 18 successive generations of winemakers. In 1872, Josep Raventós Fatjó crafted the first bottle of cava after applying the traditional method to a combination of grapes and the result was what is known today as

Anna de Codorníu Codorníu’s premium Cava, named after the sole heiress of the Codorníu dynasty and the last family member to use the Codorníu surname. 

Ever since this initial breakthrough, Codorníu has gone on to develop a complete range of wines and Cavas at its flagship Sant Sadurní d’Anoia winery which was built by Gaudí’s disciple, Josep Puig i Cadafalch. It is regarded as the Cathedral of Cava!” explains Moises.

Anna de Codorníu was the first cava to incorporate the Chardonnay grape, and today it is un­doubtedly Codorníu’s most iconic cava.”

Cord Interior

Cord Vinyard

Cord

Cord Scenery

Today Codorníu produces sixty million bottles of premium Cava every year; Spain is the biggest consumer, followed by the rest of Europe, the USA, Asia and the rest of the world. Their most popular product is the Anna Blanc de Blancs Reserva; a unique blend of Chardonnay, Xarello, Macabeo, Perellada aged for 15 months in ‘lees’ - yeast particles that add a certain creaminess as well as additional aromas and flavours to the wine.

This blend and ageing brings a more subtle and balance taste,” explains Moises. “Our Cava is particularly good because of quality from the vineyards, grapes and the traditional winemaking process. Everything starts off with the harvest. The grapes come exclusively from our estate vineyards or from associated winegrowers and undergo strict quality controls. Each grape varietal is vinified separately and they are then blended in just the right proportion to obtain a unique melody known as the cuvée or coupage,” he adds.

Yeasts are added to the selected coupage which bring on the second fermentation in the bottle - this lasts from six to eight weeks and takes place in the cellars at a constant temperature. After that the bottles are cellared under constant temperature and humidity conditions. So this process is very different than other sparkling wines that are commonly made in stain steel tanks, within only a few weeks!”

Cava bars are a way of life in Barcelona and this summer Codorníu has brought a slice - or should I say sip? - of that culture to London by way of the Anna de Codorníu Terrace on the Thames – a stylish al fresco terrace at the DoubleTree by Hilton London Docklands Riverside hotel. Situated in the Grade II-listed Columbia Wharf building (a former dock warehouse dating back to the 17th century) this cosmopolitan riverside bar features chic grey sofas and coffee tables, white ‘Anna’- branded cushions, parasols, throws and ice buckets, whilst candles and fairy lights will provide added atmosphere at dusk. There’s also a wine cart doing the rounds, comfy deck chairs and banquette seating, and entertainment comes in the form of regular DJ sessions and live Spanish music. As well as the bubbly stuff, there’s also authentic Spanish tapas and sangria cocktails on the menu, and in the summer sunshine with a cold glass of Cava in hand (naturally), it all feels very Spanish indeed.

Anna De Codorniu Terrace On The Thames By Night

Anna Codorniu Terrace

“We wanted to create a setting that reflects metropolitan Barcelona and the location of the brand’s winery, just outside the city” enthuses Moises.

“The Terrace fuses natural materials with a white colour scheme which is in keeping with the look and feel of Anna, and it’s a place where anyone can sample the Anna de Codorniu range whilst overlooking the river.”

Sounds pretty dreamy to us, but if you can’t make it to London then fear not - Codorníu’s wines and premium Cavas are available to buy online from Majestic, Waitrose, Uvinum and several other retailers, so next time you’re packing a picnic or planning a party, why not swap out the champagne for some good quality Cava?

Here are Moises’s top tips for enjoying Cava at home, as well as one of his favourite cocktail recipes. Cheers!

CODORNÍU’S TOP TIPS FOR ENJOYING CAVA AT HOME

  • Cava should be served chilled, in a flute-shaped glass
  • It is great as an aperitif before dinner, just after your guests arrive
  • It also pairs well with most food thanks to its balance of freshness, fruitiness and acidity. It’s great with tapas and paella, but also works well with sushi. I personally like it with my dessert!
  • Good quality Cava like Codorníu’s should be a brilliant yellow colour with green reflections, with fine, persistent bubbles forming continuous beads.
  • On the nose, it displays citrusy and tropical fruit notes along with more complex ageing aromas (such as toast, brioche) that enrich the range of aromas.
  • On the palate, it is creamy, wide and long-lasting – it is these characteristics that make it highly versatile and delicious with a great variety of food.
  • Cava works well in cocktails too. Here is one of my favourites!

Sangrias

ANNA MEDITERRANEAN SPLITZ LEMONADE

Place two or three mint leaves in a balloon glass and then add the juice from one lemon, the juice from one orange plus a teaspoon of sugar syrup. Finish the cocktail with Anna de Codorníu Blanc de Blancs Reserva and decorate with half a slice of lemon and orange and a mint heart.


The Anna de Codorníu Terrace on the Thames is now open and can be found ay the DoubleTree by Hilton London Docklands Riverside 265 Rotherhithe Street, London SE16 5HW. For more information visit www.annadecodorniu.com.

 

Posted in Spotlight

by Sophie Farrah
on on 28 June 2017

  cava, champagne, party drinks

  See All Articles

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