Cava tasting at Freixenet
It’s time to enjoy Cava
The beautiful Freixent premises in Sant Sadurni
Me and The Fish visited Freixenet winery on Monday 29th October 2012. A 40 minute train journey from the centre of Barcelona was well worth it, and the cost of €6 each for the tour was an absolute steal. There are a couple of daily tours in English and we were lucky enough that there were only 8 of us on the tour so it felt vey personal.
Freixenet is big business, with over 100 million bottles maturing on site at any one time! The company was started in 1861 and is still run by one of the original families.
The tour begins with a short video introducing Freixenet and their wines, and took place in a cool little cinema. The tour then ambles through the whole process of making the Cavas with lots of information about grapes and process, delivered by a very friendly Spanish lady with brilliant English and a great sense of humour. What I actually loved was the fact that it never felt like a marketing speech (anyone visited Veuve Cliquot in Reims??). The tour really is all about the product and not the brand. Part of the tour is a mini train ride around the production and storage areas and really does add a nice touch. 45 minutes for the whole thing and a great deal of quality information is shared.
After the tour we were taken to a tasting room, a bit like an airport departure lounge but cosy enough nevertheless. As part of the admission fee you get a full glass of Cordon Negro Reserve Brut. You’ve probably seen these black bottles on the shelves of your local supermarket. I have to say it went down very well and we asked if it was possible to try some other Cavas. This is where the place came into its own. We were given a menu with 11 Cavas, priced between €1,75 and €5,10 a glass… A full 125ml glass! Brilliant I thought, and so glad we took the train! To accompany the wines there is also a small selection of cold tapas dishes available, including a fantastic platter for about €16, superb value considering the quality of the jamon on the plate.
Cava and tapas. Beautiful!
We enjoyed a cracking couple of hours working our way through 7 Cavas and demolishing the jamon, butifarra blanco and manchego. If you get the chance please go. the wines are excellent, the staff are brilliant and it will certainly make you reconsider Cava as a sparkling option. Oh and by the way, the tour (2 people), tasting and tapas came to a grand total of €55!
The full list by the glass
Below are my tasting notes on the wines we drank. I’ve used winesearcher.com to try and find stockists and prices in the UK, but as you’ll see this proved quite difficult, with only the Cordon Negro available!
Cordon Negro Reserva Brut
A blend of the local Parellada, Macabeu and Xarel-lo grapes, aged for 18-24 months in chestnut barrels. Apple skins and lemon on the nose. Vey dry with a lovely lemon-sherbet finish. Not complex but far more refreshing that I’d expected. 85 points. (£9.49 all major supermarkets)
Same blend as the Cordon Negro but with a higher percentage of Xarel-lo, apparently for a better balanced wine, aged for 30-36 months. Granny Smiths in a glass. Unfortunately the alcohol felt unbalanced and overtook the fruit, leaving an astringent and very dry finish. Bit disappointing this one, 82 points. (Can’t find a UK retailer)
Made using 100% Trepat black grapes, aged for 30-40 months. This is more like it! Slight blush colour if you look hard enough, wild strawberries on the nose and palette with a gorgeous acidic streak running though. Long and delicious. Yes please! 90 points. (Can’t find a UK retailer)
100% Pinot Noir, aged for 10 months only. Lovely pink redish-pink colour. Very fragrant, red fruits and cherries. Rally fresh taste and lovely balance. Simple and fruity, a great party wine. 88 points. (Can’t find a UK retailer)
We’re back to the local Parellada, Macabeu and Xarel-lo blend, but this time it’s the first pressing, aged for over 30 months. This is a serious wine. It’s yeasty and bready, super complex and oh so long. It’s is what I expect from a good vintage champers – and I reckon would do very well in a blind tasting. Best wine of the flight for me by some distance. 93 points. (Can’t find a UK retailer – gutted!)
Casa Sala Brut Nature
Now we’re into the stuff they keep for themselves! Made using a blend of Xarel-lo and Parelloda, aged for 30-40 months. This is super dry but very complex. Not so much breadiness as the Real but certainly complex. I got quite a bit of dried fruit, maybe even figs coming through on the taste, which has a very long finish. Good wine but I’ll stick with the Real. 89 points.
100% Malvasia, aged for 9 years. Is this a Cava or a sherry?? Wow, this is interesting. This wine must be made for Xmas. Spices, figs, raisins and a lovely sweetness but with a slightly dry finish. This really is great and I am gutted they don’t export this little beauty. Would be a great match for foie gras. 91 points.