|Food 99/1: Wines from Spain|
|Wednesday, 18 July 2012 08:42|
Some of my favorite wines are from Spain, but in particular I love Cava and Rioja.
Rioja is located in northern Spain and is divided into three sub areas: Alta, Alavesa, Baja each producing slightly different wines although all Rioja wines have a common identity. There are quite a few grape varieties used in making red Rioja, the major varieties are Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache). Tempranillo accounts for 75% of Rioja’s vineyards.
Rioja offers three tiers of ageing: Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva.
Crianza wines are wines in their third year and require the least amount of oak ageing in Rioja- a minimum of one year in oak.
Reserva wines are aged for a minimum of three years with one year in oak and chosen from excellent vintage years.
Gran Reserva wines are selected from exceptional vintage years, aged in the bottle for three years after ageing in oak casks for atleast two years.Regardless of the age designation of a Rioja, all wines are a minimum three years old; the winemakers did a lot of work on that wine before you indulge in it! When buying Rioja, the ageing process is already done for you and provides a mellow, balanced wine.
Rioja wines are medium bodied and display dark, ripe red fruits like cherries and blackberries and a deep spice and leather. And they always have a balanced acidity with the fruitiness. The more aged ones have more earthiness than the younger Crianza wines which have bright red fruit characteristics.
Rioja wines match well with grilled chicken, hard cheeses like cheddar, Manchego and Parmesan, tapas, cheese based pasta or pizza! Some names to try are Montecillo, Conde de Valdemar and Campo Viejo.
Cava, named after the caves it is aged in, is a sparkling wine from the Catalonia region in Spain and is made in what is called the “traditional method” of sparkling wine. The traditional method (also called methode champanoise) is where the second fermentation that produces the bubbles in the wine happens in the bottle that you buy it in. Other sparkling wines are fermented in large vats and then transferred into a bottle.
It is argued that because the wine does not change vessels during the traditional method, the bubbles are more incorporated into the wine making it more complex. Champagne cellar masters in France turn each individual bottle by hand during the ageing process, this very labour intensive process adds to the price of Champagne. Cava uses a mechanized option called a “gyropalette” to reduce its labour costs; and this is reflected in the price of Cava.
There are several grapes used in making Cava and almost only Cava: Macabeo, Paralleda and Xarello. Cava can be white or rosé. This bubbly sipper is a great addition to any menu because of its freshness. Although it is made almost exactly like Champagne, it does not have the same oaky, toasty and buttery qualities of Champagne making it easy on the palate and able to pair with many things.
Try Cava with cheese, light fish dishes, beef tartare or carpaccio, or even potato chips! Cava should be served at a nice cold eight degrees Celcius or forty five degrees Farenheit in a Champagne flute. Some names to try for Cava are Codorniu, Segura Viudas or Freixenet.
As always, savoring the flavors of wine is all about creating flavor memories so that you draw on those memories to create food and wine pairings. For your next meal, add Cava or a Rioja to the menu!
And, if you have any other wine or food questions drop by our website at www.ninetynineone.com and drop us a line in the Q&A section of the site. We’re always happy to answer any questions you have.
Also, drop by www.flyingfishbahamas.com or find us on Facebook to stay up to date on the happenings at Freeport’s finest restaurant!
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Cheers and happy quaffing,
- Rebecca Tibbitts
99/1 Food Service Management in Freeport is owned & run by Tim & Rebecca Tibbitts. Flying Fish Modern Seafood restaurant is the newest adventure from 99/1 opened in February adjacent to Pelican Bay Hotel & The Grand Lucayan in Lucaya. With unmatched service & attention to detail, Flying Fish is a blend of traditional & modernist cuisine techniques not used anywhere else in the Bahamas.
Ranked # 1 in the Bahamas and #2 in the Caribbean on Trip Advisor242 373 4363 or 242 359 5053.
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