It is a pleasure to co-host Fiesta Friday with my co-host Catherine today. FiestaFriday.net. Please visit Catherine’s blog: https://kunstkitchen.wordpress.com. I’ll be sharing interesting tidbits from the Fiesta Friday link-up throughout the day on Pinterest, Instagram (bubblybeeboop), Facebook (bubblybee) and Twitter.
“Bacchus opens the gate of the heart.” … Homer
While visiting the Catalonia region in Spain I couldn’t wait to visit the wineries that make Cava. One of my favorites is Freixenet.
The first bottle of Freixenet was released in 1914, the creation of a couple named Pedro Ferrer & Dolores Sala who were both from winemaking families.
In 1889, Pedro Ferrer married Dolores Sala, whose family had been making wine at their Casa Sala property since 1861. Pedro’s nickname was “El Freixenet”, named after his family’s ranch “La Freixeneda”, which means ash tree grove in Catalan. Dolores’ keen interest in the winemaking process was easily complemented by Pedro’s business savvy and sense of community.
Their marriage coincided with the arrival of the Phylloxera plague in Spain, which wiped out most of Europe’s vineyards. Far from being deterred, the couple replanted their decimated land with white varietals to make sparkling wine. In 1914, the first bottles were released with Pedro’s childhood nickname on the label. Freixenet had been born.
The Ferrer family continues to own and manage Freixenet today. Salut!
Motorcycle made in the shape of a Freixenet Cava bottle!
Driving towards Cava Heaven…Parés Baltà Winery
“A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns to wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.” … P.J. O’Rourke
Parés Baltà Winery, Pacs del Penedes, Catalonia, Spain.
Since 2000 the winery has been managed by two grandsons of the original owner Joan and Josep Cusiné Carol.
The wives of Joan and Josep, Maria Elena Jimenez and Marta Casas are the winemakers and oenologists. Parés Baltà has been certified organic since 2004.
All of their wines are certified as organic and their vineyards as biodynamic. They do not use herbicides, pesticides or any chemical fertilizer. They have sheep that fertilize the vines after the harvest and bees that pollinate the vines during the flowering season.
They use organic manure and special herbs in their compost (as well as cattle horns) but they also plant, and trim vines and harvest according to the phases of the moon.
“The juice of the grape is the liquid quintessence of concentrated sunbeams.” … Thomas Love Peacock
Cava is the Catalan word for “cellar.”
We asked about these moldy bottles in the wine cave. Our guide told us that they no longer use those bottles. They are just for show. They call them “cemetery bottles”. I call them creepy!
Our guide explained about the “Mother” in the Cava: This sparkling wine is made with the traditional method, an aging system similar to that of “Methode Champenoise” which is used when making champagne. As the bottle is turned upside-down and rotated, the “Mother” of the Cava, in small filaments, slides to the neck of the bottle. The “Mother” is expelled from the bottle at very high pressure, in a process known as “Desgorche”.
Our winery tour included a chocolate and wine tasting. The first taste was Rosa Cusine (the last name of the winery owners is Cusiné!) (100% Garnatxa) 2013 with white chocolate with tiny bits of strawberry in it. The smooth creaminess of the white chocolate was perfect with the bubbles and the strawberry flavor made the rosé pop!
Our next taste was Hisenda Miret Garnatxa 2015. 100% Garnacha grapes. On the palate, there are flavors of cherries and blueberries with an accompaniment of spicy toast. It is a silky smooth wine with a lingering finish.
And for “dessert”…dark chocolate on baguette drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Served with Gratavinum Dolç d’en Piqué. This wine is deep ruby in color, soft and velvety. Intense aroma of dry fruits combined with vanilla and toasty notes from the barrel.
When I returned home I purchased Parés Baltà b Brut Cava at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op. $15 range. Blend of 62% Parellada, 22% Macabeu, 16% Xarel·lo grapes. Creamy and elegant, with a bright mineral finish. Notes of fresh green apple with a hint of almond. Crisp and refreshing.
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