Great Big Cava
This is a brut rose cava made from 60% monastrell (!!) and 40% garnacha. Some people we know are prejudiced against rose because it seems like watered-down red. But if you think of it as flavored-up white… that sounds better! (‘Cava’ is the Spanish term for sparkling wine made with the same process that the ‘Champagne’ region of France uses.)
We think of champagne and champagne-oise as honorary Great Big Reds. The bubbles stand in for richness, and the acidity distracts less when the wine is cold and the mood is celebratory. Also, rose champagne-oise is colorful because the grape skins were left in the mix longer, and that results — all other things being equal — in more flavor than white. In this case, 60% monastrell probably adds a lot more flavor than they would have gotten from another grape.
I’d give this a ‘great big’, sure…. This is my second tasting, and I’m enjoying it. It was fifteen bucks or less, and the color is nice and I’m pleased the extra flavor. It’s cold and crisp with bubbles and a little extra richness.
Caveat: When I first opened the bottle, I had recently had a bottle of Gloria Ferrer. It’s unfair to compare. Ferrer is more expensive and very good… crisp and bright with tiny bubbles and shiny color. (The tinier the bubles, the better the champagne-oise.) The Gloria Ferrer seems to be very popular with the wine-folks in northern California, and deservedly so. At first sip, I was a little disappointed by the Canals Canals bubbles — fewer and larger — and I just happened that day to be in the mood for exactly the crisp, acidic champagne-oise I had recently had from Gloria Ferrer.
The California champagne-oise we like is mostly made with pinot noir. For some of us, using monastrell/mourvedre (and even garnacha/grenache) is an upgrade. Cold, bubbly, and colorful — what’s not to love? We’ll continue to explore the world of monastrell-based cavas. You may find this one plenty good for an average day, even if you would want something ‘finer’ for a big celebration.
Just for the record, there’s a lot of branding and labeling on this bottle. First, “Canals Canals”. Then ‘Vintage 2012’. Then ‘Cellar Fundat L’Any 1903’… ‘Brut Nature’… ‘Castellvi de Rosannes Barcelona Espana’… ‘El Aborador: Ramon Canals Canals, SA’, etc.