The Segura Viudas Gran Cuvée Reserva Brut is a blend of 85% Macebeo and Parellada (these, along with Xarel.lo, are the grapes traditionally used in the production of Cava), plus 15% of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown in the Penedès region of Spain. The Segura Viudas property has been an estate since the 1000’s and they have produced Cava here since the 1850’s. Spanish Cava uses the Traditional Method which is the same process used for Champagne. The wine is aged for a minimum of 15 months, on lees (that means the dead yeast is kept with in contact with the wine), in Segura Viudas underground caves. Cava is traditionally produced with local Catalonia grape varietals and the addition of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir give this Spanish Bubbly a little French twist. This is a Brut Sparkling wine which indicates it is on the Dry side (not sweet). The alcohol content is 12% and the list price is $14.
A little refresher on Bubbly: Carbon dioxide is a natural part of the chemical reaction during the fermentation of the grapes. In still wines, the carbon dioxide is allowed to dissipate into the air. Sparkling wine/Bubbly such as Cava starts out as a still wine and undergoes fermentation just like every other wine. To incorporate the bubbles, the wine is fermented a 2nd time, this time the carbon dioxide is not allowed to escape and becomes part of the wine. In the Traditional Method, the still wine is bottled, then a measured amount of yeast and sugar is added to each and every bottle (then temporarily capped) and the 2nd fermentation occurs in the bottle. In the case of the Gran Cuvée Reserva, after 15 months the dead yeast and residue is removed, the bottle is topped off, the cork and cage is fixed and you now have Cava Bubbly.
The color is a pale golden-yellow, with tons of tiny, energetic bubbles. The nose is a mix of yeasty bread and fruit and citrus, apricot and lemon, melon and apple and grapefruit and pear. This is a well-balanced Bubbly, there is a solid amount of acidity, but the body of the wine has enough weight to counter the acidity and add to the length of the wine. It tastes of lemon and lime, tart apple, faint crusty French bread and a hint of raspberry. The mid-palate adds a little cream, along with pear and grapefruit, but the flavors hit your tongue and dissolve, it is more sensed than tasted. Again, the acidity is well-balanced, in some Sparkling wines, food is needed to offset the acidity. The Gran Cuvée Reserva does very well sipped on its own.
The Segura Viudas Gran Cuvée Reserva Brut is tons of fun for $14. Classy, tasty, well made, versatile and extremely affordable is my definition of a first-rate wine. The mix of the traditional Cava grapes and the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir give the Segura Viudas a best of both worlds flavor profile. I love Bubbly, it is one wine that works in hot or cold weather, for formal or casual occasions and it is a good way to act classy without having to actually be classy. Very good Bubbly does not have to cost a small fortune, no matter what the folks from Champagne tell you and the Segura Viudas Gran Cuvée Reserva Brut is Bubbles done right.