Naveran Dama is an estate-bottled Cava to which proprietor Michel Guilleron Parellada wants to impart longevity and great body. The Naveran family legacy began in 1901. Today the Estate has 110 hectares (272 acres) of vines in the town of Torrelavit located in the Alt (high) Penedés subregion. Despite the fact that Cava is Spain's largest volume of wine exported to the U.S., Cavas are made utilizing the same methods used in Champagne and have remained Spain's best-kept secret for quality and value in wine. Caves Naveran is a premium Cava producer that uses estate-grown grapes. Naverán Dama is a Cava masterpiece, a combination of Chardonnay, which gives the wine body and volume, and Parellada, which imparts a zesty, bright character that cuts through the buttery roundness of the Chardonnay. Champagne lovers will enjoy this Mediterranean “farmer's fizz” with oysters, raw tuna and sushi. Its fresh acidity also compliments fruit desserts, especially peaches and sliced oranges.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? One of only a few vintage Cavas made in Spain. Dama is full-bodied yet bright and crisp. The Naveran estate has been producing high-quality Cavas since 1901. All Cavas made here are from vineyards owned and controlled by the estate. Dama is fermented in the bottle (a la méthode champenoise) and aged in its lees for 24 months.
RATING HISTORY: 2013 90WA; 2012 90WA; 2011 91RP; 2009 91RP; 2007 90RP; 2006 90RP; 2005 90RP; 2003 90RP
GRAPE: 85% Chardonnay, 15% Parellada. Organically grown vines planted from 1975 - 1993. Tended in clay, limestone and sand soil at 252 m (827 ft) elevation. This is a vegan wine.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: Cavas are extremely versatile, not only as an apéritif before the meal or to accompany dessert afterwards, but also to enjoy during the meal. Oysters, raw tuna and sushi are a good match, and Naveran Dama’s fresh acidity will compliment fruit desserts well, especially peaches and sliced oranges.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Each grape variety is harvested, crushed and fermented separately in stainless steel tanks at low temperature, tirage and second fermentation in the bottle typical of the ‘Méthode Champenoise’ for a minimum of 18 months and often longer, depending on vintage. Then, deguelle (disgorgement) followed by dosage. The wine is aged for a minimum of 18 months and often longer, depending on vintage, on its lees.
PRODUCTION: 2,000 cases (6 pack)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: The vineyards are located within the DO Penedés (Zone 5) in northeastern Spain, a few miles south of Barcelona in the Alt Penedés subregion, at an elevation of 400 meters (1,312 ft.). The soils are composed of limestone and sandy topsoil with clay subsoil. The texture of the topsoil allows for good drainage while the subsoil has good water retention. The medium levels of pH in the soil and low percentage of organic matter result in moderate yields and balanced acidity in the grapes. Regarding the area's climate, the average temperature from April-October is 66.3F and the annual rainfall is 23.9 inches. The days are hot with moderate night temperatures for this high Mediterranean region. The Naveran Estate's higher elevation allows the grapes to retain more natural acidity, which results in wines that are zesty, fresh and have expressive aromas.
TASTING NOTES: This is one of the finest Champagne imitations, or Cavas, I have tasted from Spain. Crisp notes of apple skins, brioche, baking spices and pears emerge from this fragrant, medium-bodied sparkler. It possesses tiny, uniformed bubbles, impressive purity and a heady finish. Consume it over the next 1-2 years.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold