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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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August 02, 2010

NV Aveleda, Portugal "Casal Garcia" Vinho Verde Rose

I started it in a wine glass. Then I moved it to a snifter. I poured that into a highball and then a 4-ounce beer glass. And finally I settled on this coffee mug because my Boston shaker's in the sink. This rose is just that disarming, to the point where I couldn't gild it with the concept of drinking wine. I'm just drinking. And today it happens to be a slightly frizzante, full, and spritely Portuguese rose. Sprite. Funny I say that, actually. Because what caught me first was how fruity this wine is--not at all the steely, raw, chalky, "green" rose I tend to drink from southern France. Yet, something seemed so familiar. I kept thinking "spritely"--maybe because it says "crisp and refreshing" on the label, maybe because I'm trying to switch up some of the language on this site. Then I looked closer... Aveleda written like the return address you'd hide under the sealed envelope flap when writing letters was cool. I'd seen their wines, guzzled a few at barbecues. In my town, at least, it happens to be the one decent summer bottle you can even find at 7-11 (and genius with hot dogs, by the way). I searched some more on Aveleda, found the most obnoxious review, "this tastes like Slice," he said. Oh, it's me--some quick note I wrote a few years ago on Aveleda's white Vinho Verde. No surprise then that today, on top of all these relatively complex flavors, all I end up tasting is Sprite. In truth, that lime soda quality's not really this winery's fault. It comes with the territory--Vinho Verde, near the border with Spain--where the blended Loureiro-, Azal-, Trajadura-, Arinto-, and Avesso-based wines are bottled early, keeping the alcohol low, the sugar a touch residual, and the bubbles trickling. Without the fermentation, it'd be a new flavor of Boylan's. (Note to self: contact Boylan's.) It's white raspberries and strawberries in July. The grenadine floating in a midmorning Monaco; you can almost hear the pomegranate seeds being tapped with the back of a knife. You don't call it wine any more than you need to say "H20" when you roll out of bed thirsty at 3am. You just go to the sink and pour a glass. It's a need that primal for me. These wines are often dismissed as non-descript. They're cheap as all get out. They have no real story. None were ever buried in a shipwreck and, if they were, they'd be brown and taste like sludge today. Thomas Jefferson didn't own these. Churchill didn't insist on a bottle of it with every meal. If you bring it to a fancy wine tasting, everyone will laugh at you. I'll laugh at you, too. These wines are just there. We don't need to talk about them, or blog about them... They're not like the folks you see on TV or follow on Twitter. Not like the ones fetishisised with posters on your ceiling, you someday hoping to jump or sing or vogue like them. It's the primer on the wall, the chassis in your car. It's like everyone you know. It's not what you covet; it's what you are.

1 Comments:

Blogger Lori said...

I serve this by the glass on my wine list. To me, it's all strawberries but nice and dry...slightly fizzy and perfect for summer!

1:10 AM  

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The Most Memorable Meal I Ever Forgot

"Rocky and Bullwinkle," and a defense of vegetarian wine drinkers (though I guess I should add many wines aren't technically vegetarian because of popular fining compounds... details...). Read it on The Awl. Also, 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, one of our sponsors this month is offering wine gift baskets and half-off shipping when you buy 6 or more bottles. Use code 750m61.

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