Posted by: tomciocco | January 16, 2012


The history of Cava is a fairly short one (late 19th century), and more than anything, it’s the story of an INDUSTRY, and that’s the straight poop, with all of the arbors and breezy plazas left to the website copy. This is not to say that there aren’t some very fine Cavas made (especially when price is a factor), and that there aren’t also some small scale, artisanal producers out there as well, but Cava is the canny Catalans’ answer to the costly, time sucking,  riddle-diddle rigamarole that is bona fide Champagne.

With the invention of some really ingenious early automated processes (like the girasol, which is a type of large hand operated rolling riddler that can do the work of a hand riddler and a pupitre in a fraction of the time), a better climate in which to grow the unfussy, productive, and often mechanically harvested  Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada grapes that make up the typical cava blend, an emphasis on non-vintage bottling, and constant improvement, Cava has quickly put a pretty fat cork in Champagne’s once unimpeded flow into the market.

But even here in the all-business, left brain capital of bubbly, there are still a few oddballs, and the Trepat grape is definitely one of them. Not much is known about the origins of this light-red skinned variety (which grows almost exclusively in the Conca de Barbera` and Costers del Segre regions) but the results of the Cava industry turning its juggernaut-self on this obscure but wonderfully quirky grape always yield results that are worth a try… Despite its lighter pigmentation, Trepat is a grape of real and unique personality: often spicy, lightly aromatic, earthy, and popping with every kind of small red and black fruit  that is usually bottled as Rose` Cava, but which can also make some fascinating still red wine (check out my post on a still, red Trepat here) too.

I whipped up a very Catalan spread to go with this very Catalan wine – a salad of frisee`, roasted squash, cubes of Garrotxa cheese, and home made croutons dressed with lemon, olive oil, and romesco sauce. The main course I put up was a platter of piquillo peppers stuffed with a pate`of chicken (this a dish usually made with duck, but I couldn’t lay my hands on any this evening) , chicken livers, leeks, Port, etc. and then baked with a bechamel sauce.









Poema Rose` Cava (Trepat) Non-Vintage

Deep, slightly brownish pink color, and quickly dissapating cotton candy-colored mousse. The nose is a clean bundle of strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, earthy minerality, wild rose, wood spice, black pepper, and toasted pine nuts. In the mouth the wine shows quite a fine bubble, a razor tartness that is nicely balanced by a smooth, “slick” texture, and clean expressive flavors of orange peel, tea, merengue, Cornelian cherries, and cassia. Surprisingly long and complex finish. Despite “brut” designation,  the wine has a certain generosity that I’d call  “extra dry”.


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