Instead of chilling the beer this summer, why not opt for a Spanish sparkler and a cool, Mexican shrimp cocktail?
Cava Reserva goes Organic
Spanish cava wine is like your reliable, dependable best friend. You know they're the real deal (made with secondary fermentation in the bottle) but still reachable on a daily basis with its affordability. (Ahem, Champagne - why can't we hang out more often?)
Just to sweeten the deal, the Cava D.O. has determined that all Cava aged 18 months or more on the lees will require organic certification starting in 2025.
This includes Cava Reserva (aged at least 18 months on the lees), Gran Reserva (aged at least 30 months on the lees), and Cava de Paraje Calificado (aged at least 36 months on the lees).
In case you can't wait that long or can't find a Cava Reserva, there are still organic Spanish sparkling wines to be found, including this one I found at my regular grocery store.
Hoya de Cadenas Cava Brut
80% Macabeo, 20% Chardonnay; 11.5% alcohol; $18
Aged in the bottle for a minimum of 12 months, this Cava is made from organically farmed Macabeo and Chardonnay grapes.
Tasting Notes from Vicente Gandia USA:
"Straw yellow colour, with elegant and persistent bubbles. Clean and fruity aroma with prominent citrus character and an undertone of floral notes. The full bodied Chardonnay offers a magnificent presence on the palate, dry but at the same time fruity, and a lingering aftertaste with very well balanced bubbles. Carbonic gas."
Suggested Food Pairings: Apéritifs, smoked fish and meat, oysters, grilled fish, sushi, seafood, caviar and light desserts.
Sparkling wines generally pair well with many foods, and that is especially true of Cava.
According to Fiona Beckett writing for the Cava D.O., "what makes Cava stand out is its ripeness and savouriness. Coming from a warmer climate than many other sparkling wines it doesn’t need much if any additional dosage (the sweet liquor with which most sparkling wines are topped up) so the wines are drier, richer and therefore more adaptable with food."
I decided to pair my Cava with one of my favorite summer dishes, Coctel de Cameron, aka Mexican shrimp cocktail. Gently poached shrimp are mixed with a savory tomato sauce of ketchup, lime, tomato, onion, avocado, and cucumbers.
While this classic Mexican dish might usually be paired with a pislner style, lager beer, I prefer lightness of wine, and a sparkling Cava seemed ideal.
Visual: Color is like champagne, plae yellow that shimmers like gold
Aroma: acacia flowers, fuzzy fruit skin, cantaloupe, nectarines, whipped cream, freshly cleaned sheets
Taste: deep richness, lemon zest, fine to medium bubbles, sunflower seed hulls, indigenous Aztec drink, distinctly not like Champagne
Pairing: Almost made it taste more like beer with the shrimp cocktail. Rich, deep, hoppy flavors, grain. Handles ketchup like a pro.
I also tried the cava with a classic fish ceviche, and it made a dreamy contrast with the punchy lime notes in the fish.
Celebrate Summer with Cava
July 12 is Cava Day. Learn more about this Spanish sparkler from the Wine Pairing Weekend writers:
"Huevos Rotos (Broken Eggs) + Juve & Camps Reserva de la Familia Gran Reserva Brut" from Camilla at Culinary Cam
"Cava and Croissants? Yes Please!" from Andrea at The Quirky Cork
"Grilled Teriyaki Chicken+Cava= A Perfect Summer Pairing" from Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm
"Coconut Almond Tea Cakes and Torre Oria Cava Rosè" from Terri at Our Good Life
"Cava with an eclectic array of Tapas!" from Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles
"Hoya de Cadenas Cava Brut and Coctel de Camaron" from Deanna at Wineivore
"2017 Can Descregut Corpinnat Brut Nature Reserva + Spanish Inspired Appetizers!" from Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine
"Slightly sweet Cava Brut ups your grilling options" from Linda at My Full Wine Glass
"For a Sparkling Summer Surprise, Try Spain’s Biodynamic Raventos i Blanc with Anchovy Sammies" from Gwendolyn at Wine Predator