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August 30, 2010

NV Segura Viudas, Cava Brut Reserva Sparkling Wine

There's nothing more I love about Cava than my ability to hate it on a whim. To taste a perfectly fine wine, look it up and down, see the rest of the party loving it, and then ruin it for everyone. It's how I identify these wines in blind tastings in fact: Tastes pretty good, crisp texture, very controlled sweetness, makes me want to hate. Cava. I can't justify it. But I keep drinking them because they humble me, and the Segura Viudas is no exception. On first taste, it's steely, almost cheap tasting. Until I realize that, unlike Veuve Clicquot which starts precisely the same way, the flavors that develop here are... smart. Unlike the brand's slightly higher-end, more modern-looking Aria sparkler, this wine makes no bones about what it is. It doesn't pull in any phony apple pie flavors. It's purely macabeo, parellada, xarel-lo. And, for those few of us who don't get off on reading Spanish wine fact sheets, well, that's pretty much what unoaked chardonnay tastes like. I love the tart quinine and lime zest and crushed lemongrass and dandelion greens, the sharpness against the herbs and flowers. I tend to drink sparkling wines on their own. I find them one of the world's purest pleasures--a cheat in the way that quinoa somehow managed to be a complete protein. But cava, and Segura Viudas in particular, thinks a bit beyond this. Of course, unlike my favorite Champagnes, this wine comes off a bit too lean. That's the point. You won't be happy if you're not eating. You have to drink, you always drink, and wines like this remind you to eat. Nutrition 101. No meat. No pudding.

From time to time, we accept sponsors at 750 mL, though they have no influence on the wines we choose to review. Along those lines, six+ bottles of Italian wine get 1/2 off shipping with promo code 750m94. I know, this post is about Spanish wine. I don't see the connection either, but they insisted.


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