Jan_VenturaThe Jane Ventura Brut Nature Reserva Cava de La Musica is a non-vintage Sparkling wine consisting of 30% Macabeo, 30% Xarel.lo and 40% Parellada (those are the traditional, indigenous grapes that are usually used in making Cava) grown in the Penedes DO of Catalan, Spain (near Barcelona). This Cava is made with the same method used to make Champagne, that is where the wine is fermented like ordinary still wine and then bottled. Before putting a temporary stopper on the bottle, a specific amount of yeast and usually sugar is added to each and every bottle and the wine in each bottle ferments a second time and since there is nowhere for the gases released in the fermentation process to go, bubbles are added to the wine. This Cava is Brut Nature, which indicates that no sugar was added during the second fermentation, making this a very dry Bubbly. Since this is a non-vintage wine, wine produced in different years are blended to get the House style and the average bottle of the Jane Ventura contains wine that was aged from 20 to 30 months. Another aspect of this wine that is almost unheard of in this price range, is that the bottles were hand riddled. Because the fermentation is occurring in each and every bottle and not large barrels or tanks, there is nowhere for the dry, dead yeast to go, except to stick to the side of the bottle. That would look pretty gross on the store shelves and you don’t want the dead yeast to break loose and fall into your glass, so what they do is “riddle” the bottles. That means each and every bottle receives a slight shake and a1/4 turn every other day or so, nowadays there are machines to do that in all but the most expensive Bubbly. So somebody, who has or is about to get carpal tunnel syndrome turned every bottle for 20 to 30 months.

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The color is very pale golden yellow with loads of tight tiny bubbles. The nose is slightly yeasty, with the aroma of limes, apples, apricots and a soft floral edge. If you have never had a Brut Nature Sparkling wine before, the first sip can be a bit of a jolt, there is no sugar to soften the tart, sour fruit and citrus flavors and hide some of the acidity. But once you let this Cava settle in, things become very interesting. Tart green apples, the lime from a gin and tonic, a touch of tart, savory herbs, lemon extract and bread (not bakery bread, softer more like Wonder bread). Juicy Macintosh apple comes in on the finish to soften all the tart, sour and acidic sensations going on before it, and the finish lingers for a very long time.

If you are into Bubbly and on a budget, exploring the Sparkling wines of Champagne is not going to get you very far. Cava from the Penedes is a whole another story, excellent, hand made, diverse Sparkling wines full of flavor and history are available at a reasonable cost. If you are looking for first class, inexpensive wine, there are more very enjoyable bargain Sparkling wines available, than any other category of wine.

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Don’t tell anyone, but there is absolutely no correlation between the cost of wine and the quality of wine.