Cava fights back

Recaredo is a must-try – 100% biodynamic, 100% hand-disgorged, thrillingly fresh. Gramona is the grandee of cava, its richer styles making it the Bollinger of cavas. For those interested in natural wines, then Josep Mitjans at Loxarel makes wine in amphoras. His 109 sparkling is aged for 109 months on the lees.

Cava should do more to consolidate itself with chefs and restaurants. Freixenet is using food matching as a marketing theme this year. A Catalan sparkling starred at a memorable meal I enjoyed at San Sebastian’s Mugaritz. It was a niche choice – Colet-Navazos, where the liqueur d’expedition is sherry – but a perfect one. Cava and these Catalan sparklings provide some singular choices.

Of course it’s not just all about top-end appeal. Codorníu, in addition to its fine wines, is looking at covering all areas, hence Zero, its first no-alcohol product. Its organic, from its Ecológica vineyard, has been “a huge success” in Scandinavia and central Europe and is now arriving in the UK. And, just to make sure it can make inroads to the prosecco- drinking millennials, there’s Albariño Frizz and Verdejo Frizz at just 5.5% abv.

Overall, there’s plenty of promise for cava in 2016. The straightforward approach is to get opinion formers in the trade and customers to taste the good wines. The radical solution to cava’s image problems is to start by changing its name. It’s not an original idea. A senior figure in cava was the one who suggested it to me. He believes ‘cava’ has been a mistake and that it should have a regional name for the DO. Well, it’s never too late.  

Sarah Jane Evans MW is a member of the Gran Orden de Caballeros de Vino.