Throw a SUMMER PARTY! This keenly priced sparkler makes it easy, says wine editor MARY DOWEY …
Contevedo Cava Brut NV
If you happened to read my wine column about Frivolous Fizz in the June issue of The Gloss, you’ll have picked up on two points that bear repeating. The first is that, while champagne is the perfect fit for glamorous occasions around Christmas, summer is the ideal time to enjoy bubbly of a less serious and, let’s face it, less expensive kind. The second thing is that Prosecco has been so over-produced and over-exposed that it can no longer be considered a smart choice.
What to sip instead with friends in the garden on a summer’s day? Cava, Spain’s favourite fizz, is attracting fresh attention – especially as so many delicious versions are now reaching the Irish market from small bodegas. This one can’t claim that kind of boutique pedigree. It’s quite the opposite: a high-volume product. In spite of that it’s extremely drinkable, combining zesty lemon and apple flavours with hints of biscuits and honey so subtle that the finish is crisp and dry. And it comes at an astonishingly reasonable price.
Selling any sparkling wine at €10.99 in Ireland is a minor miracle. Excise duty accounts for €6.37 of the total and VAT €2.52, leaving just €2.10 for the heavy bottle, cork, label, transport, warehousing and… oh yes, a few cents for the wine. That explains why most fizz at this price tastes obnoxious. Sugar is often thrown in to mask the bitter flavours of unripe or imperfect grapes.
Against this depressing backdrop, Aldi’s Contevedo is a heartening exception. I’m not mad about the gold bottle, I must say – but the contents are more important than the presentation. Serve with a few tapas if you can – even just olives, almonds or small squares of manchego. And make sure that you pour it fridge-cold. It’ll soon warm up in the glass, even in an average Irish summer.
From Aldi, €10.99
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