Naveran Perles Blanques
Perles Blanques Naveran is one of the most serious sparkling wines made from Spain, France or anywhere else. 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) Penedes subregion. With Perles Blanques Naveran, proprietor Michel Guilleron Parellada's goal is to show fruit with richness and verve and complement these characters with a firm mousse, tiny long-lasting bubbles that are an indication of a sparking wine's quality. Michel's pride in the ability to produce these microscopic bubbles is reflected in his name for this Cava: Perles Blanques, or "White Pearls." Primary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks except for 10% in French oak barrels, which adds a firm structure. The wine is then bottled before secondary fermentation. The wine is aged for 24 months on its lees, a mixture of inactive yeast and beneficial sediment, to achieve rich flavors and smaller bubbles. Perles Blanques Naveran is a vintage sparkling wine that will remind you of a fine grower Champagne, but with a Mediterranean flair.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? The wine is aged for 24 months on the lees. A bubbly that results from over a century of perfecting the craft of méthode champenoise winemaking. Only 300 cases made. 10% of the blend is oak aged. This bubbly communicates the life and energy of the Mediterranean climate near the mountains of Barcelona.
RATING HISTORY: 2013 91VM; 2013 91WA; 2012 93WA; 2011 92WA; 2007 91RP; 2006 90IWC
GRAPE: 80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay. Organically grown vines planted from 1993 - 1999. Tended in clay and limestone soil at 400 m (1,312ft) elevation. This is a vegan wine.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: Cavas are very versatile, not only as an apéritif before the meal or to accompany dessert afterwards, but to compliment the flavors with the meal, like any fine wine. The Perles Blanques Naveran will pair with “stinky” soft cheeses and especially richly flavored fish, white and red meats. This is also great for opulent, fatty and decadent desserts.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: The Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes are harvested, crushed and fermented separately: 90% in stainless steel tanks and 10% in French oak barrels, at low temperature. There is coupage in November, tirage and second fermentation in the bottle (typical of the méthode Champenoise) for a minimum period of 24 months. Then, disgorgement (deguelle) is followed by dosage.
PRODUCTION: 300 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: Pale gold. Aromas of yellow apple, orange zest, nectarine and buttered toast are lifted by chalky mineral and floral nuances. Sappy and broad on the palate, offering pear nectar and citrus fruit flavors that deepen slowly on the back half. Hints of honeysuckle and nougat emerge on a very long, smoky finish that shows good clarity and nervy bite. -- Josh Raynolds.
All photos: Friederike Paetzold