Casteller Cava Rosé
Casteller Cava Rosé is a delicious sparkling wine made in the traditional method, with a second fermentation in the bottle. Aged for 12 months on the lees before release, it consistently delivers premium flavors at a non-premium price. The early-budding Trepat grape is unique to this part of the world, southwest of Barcelona. Trepat has the acidity of Pinot Noir with soft tannins, an ideal grape for the production of rosé. Casteller literally translates as "tower" in Spanish. The name refers to a local Catalonian summer game where different clans compete to create the tallest human tower.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? A superb value from an 800+ hectare (2,000+ acre) estate. Casteller is made by the largest vineyard owner in the Penedès region, which only makes wine with the best 40% of its grapes. The rest is sold in bulk to other neighboring producers. Casteller can use its own high-quality estate fruit in Penedès to make the best value wines without buying grapes from other growers.
RATING HISTORY: Awarded the best Cava Rosé by Wine Trials 2009 and 2010.
GRAPE: 100% Trepat. Vines planted since 1995. Tended in limestone and clay soil from 350 - 600 m (1,148 - 1,968 ft) elevation. This is a vegan wine.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: This vivacious, tangy Cava will pair well with most any tapas, in addition to fresh fruit, berry tarts and soft, creamy cheeses. It has more than enough style and substance to be an excellent aperitif all on its own.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: For vinification, the traditional method is used, with secondary fermentation taking place in the bottle. The effervescence for more complex wines is produced in this way including in the production of quality sparkling wines like Champagne and Cava. The wine is aged for 12 months on the lees; by law all wines labeled Cava must be aged a minimum of 9 months on the lees.
PRODUCTION: 4,000 cases
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The vineyards are located in Zone 5 in northeastern Spain, a few miles south of Barcelona in the Alt (High) Penedès subregion of the Penedès DO. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea at 176 meters (577 ft.) elevation, the vineyards and winery are located in the town of Vilafranca del Penedés. The ancient Greeks introduced vines to this area prior to the 4th Century BC. The topsoil is limestone and sand; the latter provides good drainage into the deeper water-retaining layers of clay subsoil and nourishes the vine when necessary. The root systems of the vines are able to penetrate up to 10 meters (about 30 feet) through the deep soil to search for water, particularly in times of drought. The soils are poor in organic matter, resulting in lower yields per vine and greater skin-to-juice ratio per berry, which produces more intense and concentrated grape flavors. The area's climate has an average temperature from April to October of 66.6F, which is higher than the standard in Zone 5 (63 F), and has a yearly rainfall of 24 inches. The higher temperatures bring higher levels of sugar while the elevation and rainfall give greater acid levels. The ripeness and acidity balance each other and improve the fresh aromas of the wines. The temperatures in Penedès are higher than those in Priorat and Montsant but lower than those in the Empordà and Terra Alta regions.
TASTING NOTES: "With a dark pink color, the wine offers strawberry and floral aromas, ripe flavors and excellent length. If there is a better value in rosé bubbly, I'd like to know about it", writes Jay Miller of The Wine Advocate.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold