Posted by: tomciocco | August 20, 2011


Like certain musical groups, the collective, band name has orders of magnitude more notoriety than any single member could dream about having alone. The case of the very famous sparkling wine Cava to me seems roughly analogous to a band like Steely Dan – everybody knows them as a muscial unit, but how many can name the individual names?

So back to the wine…sort of. Cava usually performs as a power trio comprised of members Macabeo, Parellada, and today’s solo artist Xarel-lo (cha RE loe). Common wisdom has it that these three players are all about their chemistry as Cava, and being a bubbly, and that without the other two, any one grape, especially without the CO2 kick, goes nowhere fast. Well, this release proves them all wrong.  

Xarel-lo away from Cava doesn’t offer up any sort of fruity bubble gum pop, but rather just the opposite, it seeming to be responsible for Cava’s “serious” side, making lots of  complex, layered, and slightly askew music that with just  a bit more patience,  reveals its fascinating and powerful ebbing and flowing between delicate and imposing.


First course: Boiled and baked chick peas. Bacon. Tomato. Toasted roasted garlic mayonnaise top.

Second course: Suquet (Brothy Catalan seafood stew with saffron, tomato, and almond paste)









Bohigas Xarel-lo Catalunya 2010 

Very pale “champagne” gold color. Complex, layered nose of lemon zest, yellow cherries, fresh banana, dried white flowers, blue curacao, rosemary, sage, and an intense minerality. The palate is fine and elegant, round, deep, and a touch viscous, with clean flavors of pinoli nuts, orange cream, golden apple, and wheat berries with a bright stony, salty skeleton. The sweet and sour but fat finish goes on and on.


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