ALKO : Terrers Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2008 by Recaredo (Espagne, Catalogne, Cava)

Enfin, un nouveau billet, sur un MAGNIFIQUE Cava de chez Recaredo. Vous pourrez lire tout ça, ici, en Français.

A new article about Recaredo Terrers 2008, a new Cava available at Alko. Here in English

Recaredo, Terrers 2008 Brut Nature Gran Reserva

Recaredo, Terrers 2008 Brut Nature Gran Reserva

ALKO : Cristalino Brut by Jaume Serra (Spain, Catalonia Cava)

Producer: Jaume Serra

Wine: Cristalino Cava Brut

Vintage: NV

Origin: Spain, Cataluña

Price range: 8-10€ (Finland, Alko)

Available at Alko: Yes (09/13), 552097

Here is one of the cheapest sparkling wine from Alko’s list. Nothing to expect from a Cava at this price range. It is far less risky to take a Prosecco for instance. Still.  Let’s taste it.

Nose is characteristic of basic sparkling, yeasty, a bit oxidized. It is not unpleasant, though not interesting. The mouth is well balanced but with the same bland to unpleasant taste. The first glass is pretty ok. The second start to be boring, leaving a bitterness in the finish.

The bubbles makes this very plain wine not completely impossible to enjoy. So it is a possibility for a workday evening treat, a good substitute to beer. However the Prosecco Divici for instance is a much more enjoyable wine. On the bottle there was a sticker stating that it is the « value brand of the year » and it is true that it is surprisingly drinkable for the price but, still, no miracle.

Wineops’ rating: 57/100 ; 0 0


ALKO: Reina Ma Christina 2008 by Codorniu (Spain, Cataluña)

Reina Maria Christina 2008 by Cordoniu is what we call a « blanc de noir ». This is quite specific to Champagne and Cava, sparkling wines in general (though you can find it very rarely on still wine bottles). It means that the wine is made out of black grape (typically Pinot Noir) event if it is a white wine. This is achieved through a very gentle pressing and no maceration (no color extraction). It usually results in a more powerful taste and a wine with more body. That kind of sparking is usually recommended  to be tasted with meals, not as aperitif.

I must say that aside from the very nice bottle, this wine was a disappointment. The dosage is very strong, so the wine bears a clear soft finish, which makes it quite boring to taste. The aromas are not developed and do not seem to be able to develop a lot. In other word, this is a wine I would not recommend, especially at this price point.

Wineops’ rating: 63/100 ; 0 0

Link to Alko : HERE

ALKO: Imperial Gran Reserva 2006 by Gramona (Spain, Catalonia)

Gramona is one of the famous, high quality cava producer of Catalonia. The estate is based in San Sadurni d’Anoia (the same as Freixenet). The range is quite complex. At the top, you will find Argent, a vintage cava which is produced from Chardonnay. Follows Celler Battle (available in Finland), a superb wine ; IIILustros and then Imperial. The last three are based on a blend of Xarel-lo and Maccabeo, which are the traditional grapes of spanish cava. Their main difference is the ageing time in bottle on lees (7, 5 and 3-4) and the selection of the grapes. All of them are vintage wines. Then you will find 5 more standard wines, without vintage indications.

One of the characteristics of Gramona is the style, a distinct oxidative style : it means that you will find nuts, honey and some stone fruits, these wines will be better suited to accompany a dinner.

Imperial Gran Reserva 2006 is a very nice wine. The aromatics is complex and expressive. The palate is balanced with a long finnish. But this is really oxidative. Biscuits, nuts, honey (indeed) and some sweetness brought by the liqueur (a little bit too much), makes it a powerful wine which will require a proper wine pairing. This is not to be drank alone as aperitive. Aim rather at poultry or a nice cream-based meat dish. I would have expected more from this bottle, which is decent but not over the top. It will probably benefit from ageing a couple of years.

Wineops’s rating: 75/100 ; 0 +

This wine is only available in specific Alko shops like the one of Arkadia in Helsinki.

Imperial Gran Reserva 2006 by Gramona (Spain, Catalonia)

Alko’s: Cordon Negro and Carta Nevada by Freixenet (Spain, Cava)

This week starts in English because of this week-end tasting, which involved two of the basic widely available Freixenet Cavas.

What is a Cava? A Cava is a sprakling wine from Spain. More specifically, Freixenet is based in Catalonia, next to Barcelona in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia. This sparkling is made in the same way as Champagne in France with a second fermentation held in bottle. Yet, the law is more flexible (eg it is not required to age it as long as Champagne, yields are not so strict either…), the grapes are different (Parellada, Macabeo, Xarel-lo… and recently a bit of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, like in Champagne) and the climate is also much warmer. It is possible to find very high quality Cava in Catalonia, like the one of Gramona or Raventos. Big firms’ best sellers like Anna de Codorniu by Codorniu are very servicable, the same with the « more confidential » Freixenet Vintage 2007.

Freixenet is by far the biggest producer so it was interesting to check on its two basic cuvées Cordon Negro and Carta Nevada. These two Cavas are produced from the traditional grape varieties, Parellada, Macabeo and Xarel-lo. I wrote already a note about them in a previous article, HERE.

Cordon Negro (Brut) is definitely what we can call a basic wine. It is cheap, it taste cheap and it does not go beyond your expectations. Aromatically, it is quite poor. The mouth feel is fresh and evaporates fast. It is easy drinking, beer-like. No bad after taste. This is decent technically speaking but it is pleasureless. Forget about it, the basic Codorniu is better.

Wineops’ rating: 40/100 ; 0 0

Carta Nevada (Semi Seco) is a sweeter version, bit cheaper too. The sweetness is not overwhelming which makes it difficult for it to fit with any desert. Kind of an appetitive wine again. The smell is neutral. The taste is a bit sweet and bitter in the end. This is again technically correct and this time truly unpleasant. Pass, forget about it, obliterate it form you memory!

Wineops’ rating: 38/100 ; 0 0

The result of this tasting is clear: avoid the basic Freixenet Cavas. Aim rather at basic sparkling form Italy or South America. For your information, I repeat that the Freixenet Vintage 2007 is good. This is so uninteresting that I don’t even link Alko site.