The StoryThe Aria Pinot Noir Brut Cava is a non-vintage Bubbly from the Penedes region of Catalunya, near Barcelona in Eastern Spain. Aria is part of the Segura Viudas family of Sparkling wines. Segura Viudas is in turn part of the Freixenet group that includes Mionetto Prosecco and Gloria Ferrer wines.Cava is produced with the same production methods used in Champaign wines. The Traditional Method where the second fermentation occurs in each and every bottle. The major difference is the grapes used. In Champagne, the main grapes are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with Cava three local grapes are used, Xarelo-lo, Macabeo, and Parellada. Champagne is also 500 or 600 miles to the north of the Penedes in Spain.The grapes used are typically a difference but not so with the Aria Pinot Noir Brut. Pinot Noir is not a grape usually grown in eastern Spain. The grapes are Estate grown in the higher elevations where the temperatures are cool enough to keep Pinot Noir grapes happy.The second fermentation for this Cava lasts for 18 months, which also happens to be the minimum length for 2nd fermentation in Champagne. The grape used, Pinot Noir and the length of 2nd fermentation sets the Aria Pinot Noir Brut Cava up to be compared with entry-level Champagne. There is a price difference, I found the Aria for $11.99 and “cheap” Champagne typically starts around $35.It isn't fair to directly compare the 2 Sparkling wines, Cava and Champagne have stylistic differences and Champagne is a cool to cold growing region while the Cava region is warm to hot. So while it isn't fair, it will be interesting to compare and enjoy the two similar but different Bubbly wines. The alcohol content is 12%.Aria Pinot Noir Brut Cava Tasting NotesThe color is somewhere between pink and apricot and there are plenty of bubbles. The nose is light and delicate, there is a scent of strawberry, butterscotch sundae, it is faint but there a butterscotch and vanilla thing, ripe cherry, and a soft floral edge.This is a smooth Cava with soft acidity. It tastes of sour (slightly) cherry, a slap of minerality (it has that mineral water sensation), lemon, and nectarine. The mid-palate adds a salty, nutty “on lees” sensation, cranberry, and a slight apple core flavor.Photo by Malin Strandvall on Unsplash Pinot Noir based Champagne is maybe my very favorite of all wines. Well at least for now, my favorites tend to change with the seasons, so I was very interested in tasting the Aria. It does not remind me of Champagne, the flavor profile and the intensity is different. I didn't expect them to be the same the two growing regions do not have much in common and the similar production techniques were not going to bridge the difference.But that does not mean that I did not thoroughly enjoy the Aria Pinot Noir Brut Cava Bubbly. It is a lot of Bubbly for 12 bucks. It over-delivers at its price point while budget Champagne sometimes underwhelms at its price-point. It is all about using the right tool for the job and at under twenty bucks Cava gets the job done.
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