Cava from Penedès and elsewhere in Spain is one of the best bargains in wine today. Some excellent value Cavas are produced by Berberana, Marqués de la Concordia, and Marqués de Monistrol, and their wines are reviewed below. Made using the méthode champenoise, Cava is usually very dry, especially in comparison to low priced American sparklers. Inexpensive Cava is made with indigenous grapes and is lightly flavored, making it a perfect accompaniment to seafood. The lower priced Cavas can also be mixed with a cassis syrup to create sparkling kir .
Berberana, Marqués de la Concordia, and Marqués de Monistrol are owned by United Wineries, the largest premium wine distributor in Spain with total sales of 15 million bottles per year. It is a global company that markets its wines in 57 countries worldwide. It owns several brands, including the three reviewed here that produce and sell Cava. The lead winemakers at these wineries are: Berbarana (José Merino, Master Winemaker), Marqués de Monistrol (Antonio Olive I Marti, Master Winemaker), and Marqués de la Concordia (Carmelo Angulo, Master Winemaker), which sells Cava under the Mas de Monistrol label.
The Cavas reviewed below are all made from traditional Spanish varietals grown in the Sant Sadurni d”Anoia (its coat of arms is pictured here) area of Catalonia. They’re all very reasonably priced and offer excellent value. All prices listed here are recommended retail prices. They are imported by United Wineries of Manhasset NY.
Berberana NV Gran Tradición Cava Brut Sant Sadurni D’Anoia ($10) 87
This sparkler has a very dry, almost austere nose. It’s also very dry on the attack with a lightly flavored, delicate palate and a chalky mineral finish. A blend of 40% Macabeo, 30% Parellada, and 30% Xarel-lo.
Berberana NV Gran Tradición Cava Brut Rosé ($10) 88
Medium rose pink color with aromas of fresh strawberry and red cherry, the Gran Tradición shows fine bubbles and is crisp on the attack with light red fruit and a crisp, very dry finish. Nicely balanced and perfect for a summer picnic. Made of 70% Monastrell and 30% Pinot Noir.
Marqués de la Concordia
Mas de Monistrol NV MM Cava Masia L’Hereu 1882 Brut Selección Especial Sant Sadurni D’Anoia ($10) 88
Pale straw showing aromas of dry hay, celery and pear. This easy drinking, lightly carbonated cava shows light orchard fruit flavors on the palate, finishing clean with a touch of residual sugar. It’s made of a blend of the traditional cava varietals—40% Macabeo, 30% Parellada, and 30% Xarel-lo. Alc. 11.5%, RS 7 g/l.
Mas de Monistrol NV MM Cava Masia L’Hereu 1882 Brut Rosé ($10) 88+
The Brut Rosé is light pink in color with aromas of fresh red berries and a hint of rose petals. It has a creamy, lightly flavored red berry palate and finishes dry despite 9 percent residual sugar. It’s a blend of 70% Monastrell and 30% Pinot Noir.
Marqués de Monistrol
Marqués de Monistrol NV Selección Especial Sant Sadurni D’Anoia ($10) 88
Clean nose showing wax and bread notes. Fine bubbles, good volume and flavor on the palate, with a long, flavorful finish. Not hugely complex but very good for the money. The alcohol level on this wine is just 11.5%, and residual sugar is 7 g/l.
Marqués de Monistrol NV Selección Especial Rosé Brut Sant Sadurni D’Anoia ($10) 89
A beautiful deep salmon rose color, this Rosado shows red berries with cinnamon and red cherry notes. Very dry on a clean, crisp palate with a nice long finish showing some red berry fruit but almost no sweetness. This wine has enough stuffing and bracing acidity to go with salmon, roast fowl, and white meats.
Marqués de Monistrol 2007 Winemaker’s Select Brut Sant Sadurni D’Anoia ($15) 90
Notes of yeast and blanched almonds on the nose. This vintage Cava is crisp on the palate with good depth of flavor and a refined palate showing very good balance. A very pleasant bubbly with enough depth to stand up to food and enough refinement to serve as an apeitif. The Vintage Brut is a blend of 40% Macabeo, 30% Parellada, and 30% Xarel-lo aged on the lees for 26-30 months. Excellent value!