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Top 10 Cavas over £10

We count down 10 top-end Cavas following a series of masterclasses across the UK this year, which were hosted by the drinks business and the Cava Regulatory Board.

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The Cava masterclasses featured solely premium expressions and were held in the UK cities of Exeter, Manchester and Edinburgh

The Cavas over the following pages all featured in a masterclass in Exeter which was led by west country wine celebrity and Sunday Telegraph columnist Susy Atkins, who professed a particular liking for very dry styles of sparkling wine, and hence the high number of brut nature Cavas in the line-up.

The masterclasses were focused on solely premium Cava, which was defined by the length of time the Cavas had spent ageing on their lees following the second fermentation in bottle. Because the classes looked only at Cavas classified as Reserva or higher, that ensured that Premium Cava comprised expressions that had had at least 15 months on their lees. Furthermore, the majority of labels in the events were vintage expressions, and all of them were priced over £10.

Click here to read more about the masterclasses, and click through the slideshow to see all 10 of the Cavas that featured, including tasting notes and winemaking details. Alternatively, click here to see the list of the Cavas chosen by Susy.

10. Celler Carles Andreu, 2011

cavareservaBlend: 60% Parellada, 20% Macabeu, 20% Chardonnay

Lees ageing: 48 months

Dosage: 0 g/l

Price: £15

Nose: Creamy with crisp apple aromas

Palate: Creamy texture with fine persistant mousse. Gently bready with green apple, some ripe pineapple at its heart, and then a touch bit of bruised apple on the finish, giving a hint of bitterness. Finishes very dry.

9. Vilarnau Brut Rosado, Reserva, NV

vilarnau-brut-rosadoBlend: 85% Trepat, 15% Pinot Noir

Lees ageing: 15 months

Dosage: 10 g/l

Price: £12

Nose: Lovely fruity nose with raspberry and rhubard

Palate: Lots of bright berry fruit, gently fizzy, masses of ripe fresh raspberry and some rhubarb bite, soft, ripe, but long and just enough freshness to clean the palate. Generous but complex. Touch of sweetness there with combination of ripe red fruits and 10g/l dosage.

8. Codorníu, Reina Maria Cristina, Blanc de Noirs, 2013

codorniu-reina-maria-cristina-blanc-de-noirs-brut-reserva-vintage-cavaBlend: 100% Pinot Noir

Lees ageing: 15 months

Dosage: NA g/l

Price: £15

Nose: Cream and sweet strawberry aromas (appearance is clear and lemon with pink glint).

Palate: Lots of ripe raspberry, with a crisp apple bite on the finish. Good, but not much autolytic character. Lots of red fruit. Quite a full and fruity sparkling with a creamy texture. However, finishes a bit hard and short.

7. Castillo Perelada, Gran Claustro, Brut Nature Reserva, 2011

perelada-cava-gran-claustroBlend: 45% Pinot Noir, 45% Chardonnay, 5% Xarel lo, 2.5% Macabeu, 2.5% Parellada

Lees ageing: Minimum 15 months

Dosage: 1.2 g/l

Price: £17

Nose: Creamy, ripe stone fruit and buttery aromas

Palate: Pineapple, creamy, buttery, full and ripe, and not typically Cava-like except for gently bready character. Seems more like Carneros sparkling. Good, with a long finish. Very dry with almost no residual sugar.

6. Segura Viudas Torre Galimany, Brut Nature, Gran Reserva, 2011

segura-viudas-torre-galimanyBlend: 94% Xarel-lo, 3% Parellada, 3% Macabeo

Lees ageing: 30 months

Dosage: 0 g/l

Price: £12

Nose: Toasty with oxidative bruised apple note, and some oaky, nutty aromas.

Palate: Seems almost sweet even though this is a Brut Nature. It is very toasty, with some butter, and cream, as well as a hint of marshmallow/vanilla. At the core is ripe pineapple, which, when mixed with coconut flavours from the barrel influence (the base wine is aged in French oak), makes it taste a little like sparkling white Graves. It is made in an oxidative style, but very well done. Good, full-bodied, food-friendly sparkling. Good value too.

5. Castellroig Brut Nature Gran Reserva, 2010

cava-so-gran-reserva-brut-nature-1-600x600Blend: Xarel·lo and Macabeo

Lees ageing: 36 months

Dosage: 0 g/l

Price: £19

Nose: Gently creamy, with pineapple, butter, and apple.

Palate: A lovely Cava with a creamy mousse, ripe pineapple and butter characters, along with toasty flavours. It then finishes very dry and fresh, firm and chalky. Precise, cleansing, but could do with a drop of sugar to round off the finish. Very good and complex.

4. Gramona, III Lustros, Brut Nature, Gran Reserva, 2007

cava-gramona-iii-lustros-brut-nature-gran-reservaBlend: Xarel·lo 75%, Macabeo 25%

Lees ageing: Minimum 72 months

Dosage: 0 g/l

Price: £38

Nose: Quite oxidative aged nose, with apple skin, bread and hazlenuts. It is almost sherry-like, and has a slightly golden colour too

Palate: Very good, with biscuit, nuts, some butter, and a bit of apple skin, as well as a salty sensation. A complex food-friendly Cava. Fresh, aged, but not oxidised. It does finish very dry, and, again, could benefit with a drop of sugar to lift the aromas soften the finish.

3. Vallformosa, Gala de Vallformosa, Brut Gran Reserva, 2013

vallformosa-gala-de-vallformosa-brut-gran-reserva-2013Blend: Chardonnay, Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel·lo

Lees ageing: 24 months

Dosage: NA g/l

Price: £10

Nose: Slightly earthy but also honeyed, waxy, with Chardonnay stone fruit

Palate: Lovely pineapple and honey combination, full, creamy, with a frothy mousse. Lemony, quite pure, bright finish. Good. Not hugely complex but good fruity style of Cava.

2. Reserva de La Familia Gran Reserva Brut Nature, Cava 2012

juve-y-camps-2012Blend: Macabeu, Xarel-lo and Parellada

Lees ageing: 36 months

Dosage: 0 g/l

Price: £15

Nose: Interesting combination of slightly herbal, salty aromas with a touch honey, apple skin and brioche.

Palate: Complex, with dried herbs, earthy notes, green apple and lemon. It is also yeasty, and has hints of honey and touch of wax. Finishes very dry.

1. Freixenet, Casa Sala, Brut Nature, Gran Reserva 2006

bottles-casa-sala-bottleBlend: Parellada and Xarel-lo

Lees ageing: 8 years minimum

Dosage: 0 g/l

Price: £20

Nose: Aged aromas with honey and toast. Slightly sherry like, oxidative but also sweet smelling.

Palate: Honey, patisserie, bready, little fruit now, except some apple skin. Ripe at core with sweetness/roundness from age, although it finishes very dry. Impressive and complex, with a very long finish. Almonds on finish, and a touch of marzipan. Indulgent, lovely, but needs drinking now.

And finally… the 10 ‘premium’ Cavas

cava-210. Celler Carles Andreu, 2011

9. Vilarnau Brut Rosado, Reserva, NV

8. Codorníu, Reina Maria Cristina, Blanc de Noirs 2013

7. Castillo Perelada, Gran Claustro, Brut Nature Reserva, 2011

6. Segura Viudas Torre Galimany, Brut Nature, Gran Reserva, 2011

5. Castellroig Brut Nature Gran Reserva, 2010

4. Gramona, III Lustros, Brut Nature, Gran Reserva, 2007

3. Vallformosa, Gala de Vallformosa, Brut Gran Reserva, 2013

2. Reserva de La Familia Gran Reserva Brut Nature, Cava 2012

1. Freixenet, Casa Sala, Brut Nature

 

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