BODEGAS SEGURA VIUDAS
EXEMPLARY CAVAS AND STILL WINES!
BODEGAS SEGURA VIUDAS
EXEMPLARY CAVAS AND STILL WINES!
I was so impressed by my recent visit to Cataluña, Land of Cava, that I’m taking some time to come back down to Earth! Cava rocks and those made by Bodegas Segura Viudas (www.seguraviudas.es/en), part of the huge Freixenet business, are wonderfully flavoursome, elegant Cavas! They also make super still wines, so it’s a one-stop shop really!
But that’s not all – they also have an excellent Wine Tourism Programme and it was their Public Relations Director, Jordi Guilera, who escorted us around the property, taking the same route that he will with tourists who come to tour and taste!
Quality control is at the forefront of everybody’s mind at Bodegas Segura Viudas. For example, the screening system used on all grapes that come into the bodega to be pressed, whether they are from their own vineyards or those of the growers they have used for generations, is indicative of just how much care is taken by Segura Viudas to ensure that the consumer gets the best Cava that it’s possible to obtain!
The grapes are harvested in small plastic crates, which have been cleaned and sterilised immediately after last year’s harvest and again just before this year’s. No grapes are split so there’s no uncontrolled fermentation. A special mechanical arm reaches into random crates, extracts some grapes and presses them into juice, which then goes immediately into a small lab where more machines await.
The results of the analysis are then posted on the grower’s special card (like a credit card) as well as onto a tablet, supplied to the bodega by the Consejo Regulador, which then relays the information to the DO offices. A coded sticker is placed on one of the crates on the tractor that identifies the lot and all the results. The tractor moves swiftly on to various cold storage areas – the whole process takes less than ten minutes, so no grapes are left in the sunshine.
Our next visit was the lab proper! A large room full of samples, test tubes, demijohns and all the scientific paraphernalia that is needed to ensure quality.
The Head Winemaker was in attendance and the Laboratory Head and he took me to a small room where the wild natural yeasts gathered from the skins on the grapes were being cultivated. Stringent testing has occurred over the years to identify which are the best of the natural yeasts to work with, and it’s these that are cultivated from test tube size and ultimately to tanks that hold 100,000 litres. Yes, it’s production on a huge scale, but each small stage is perfected before moving on. Very impressive.
Bodegas Segura Viuda uses mostly the traditional Cava grapes: Parellada, Xarel-lo and Macabeo for white wines; and Garnacha and Trepat for rosados. This year will be the first that they will also make a rather special Cava, one that embraces the traditional Cava grape varieties, but also includes small proportions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – and I can’t wait to taste it!
In order to make the best Cava possible they only use the first 66% of the pressing which ensures the best must (juice) with their top Cavas only using about the first 40%, which is la crème de la crème!
The original cement fermentation tanks are now used for storing base wine and can hold a maximum of five million litres. Nowadays it’s stainless steel fermentation vessels, with a total capacity of 19 million litres, that get on with the job in hand. Once the base wine is ready it is bottled with the appropriate licor de tiraje (the yeast and sugar mixture that starts the second fermentation in bottle) according to the style of Cava to be made.
Then the bottles are transported underground to the cellars where a maximum of 20 million bottles lie, waiting for their time to impress. And do they impress!
The President of DO Cava, the General Secretary and their Cava Manager and I sat down to taste an array of the Cavas as well as two of Segura Viudas’ top still wines – and all of this over a sumptuous lunch (which again can be arranged for touring groups).
Bodegas Segura Vuidas Reserva Brut has had sixteen months en rima (in contact with its lees whilst in bottle in the depths of the old cellars). It’s made with Macabeo and Xarel.lo which are planted at about 250 metres above sea level and are usually the first varieties to be harvested, plus Parellada which is happier at a higher altitude.
The wine, as with all tasted, is delightfully elegant and yet it has the fresh vibrancy of youth still. Refreshing and perfect for celebrations but this wine also delivers more. There are typical bready, panaderia notes as well as focussed green apple acidity (from the Macabeo) and an endearing white flower fragrance (probably from the Parellada). It has body (coming largely from the Xarel.lo) and depth of flavour enough to accompany the Manchego cheese, Jamón Serrano and the Anchovy toasts served as amuse bouche!
Served alongside this white Cava was one of the best, fairly priced, Rosado Brut Cavas I’ve tasted. It’s made with the indigenous variety Trepat with the addition of Garnacha and Pinot Noir in varying proportions according to each year’s harvest – a good sign if ever there was one. I think the Pinot in this blend gave an ever so slight strawberry flavour to the wine – super!
Our delightful starters were served with the fine Brut Vintage Gran Reserva 2008! It’s a wonderful fresh wine with body and deep flavours as well as sheer elegance on the palate. Paired with baby broad beans cooked in a cava reduction as well as with seafood ravioli, truffle and shrimp bisque, it was a perfect match. It has the necessary acidity to retain freshness after six years in the cellar and also to cut through the relative richness of the starters. Excellent!
I’m prepared to bet that the first wine you think of to accompany Veal Tenderloin with mushrooms would not be a Cava! Well think again (and watch this space for information about a super tasting coming up, pairing Cavas with each course throughout dinner!) Another Gran Reserva, Torre Galimany 2010 was served with this perfectly cooked main course! Sensational wine and an excellent match.
Fuller in style than the previous fizz it still has elegance in abundance as well as an acidic lift to retain its freshness. There’s a light earthiness to the wine that contributes to the body and makes a good match with the mushrooms. Plus, of course there is the typical yeasty character derived from the second fermentation along with an understated floral element.
Our final course was served with one of the classic Segura Vuidas wines, Brut Reserva Heredad Gran Reserva 2009 – the one with the distinctive metal base and ‘label’, giving a slight Gothic look to the bottle! A wonderful wine – there’s a slight herbiness on the nose with patisserie notes a touch of citrus and a real depth of flavour, with a persistent finish. Again the Segura Viudas characteristic elegance in perfect harmony with rich fullness. Outstanding.
Fellow diner, Maria Eugenia Puig, Consejo Regulador Secretary General, suggested we also tasted one of her favourite dessert Cavas, in fact made by parent company Bodegas Freixenet. Cuvée de Prestige Malvasia 2001 Especial per Postre is a fantastic dessert wine, only a slight sweetness but body and depth and I am assured the perfect accompaniment to chocolate!