All about Cava: Castellblanch Cava Brut Zero Reserva tasting

Castellblanch Cava Brut Zero Reserva: Tasting and Cava notes

Cava is an underappreciated luxury. We can always find Champagne and in Australia, we can always find sparkling at a reasonable price. The bottle shop shelves are packed full of reasonably-priced wines and often it can be a challenge to decide between them all.

Castellblanch have been making wines in the Penedes region of Catalonia, Spain, for over a century. I was initially drawn to try this bottle by a recommendation from a sparkling-lover, and recognised the Penedes region as the same as that of another significant maker, Miguel Torres. If you have not tried his Waltraud Riesling, do yourself a favour. Anyway, Castellblanch can be found outside the village of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, and do take cellar door visits.

Their Cava Brut Zero Reserva is made in the classical method (which I assume for them means the traditional method), and Castellblanch was an early adopter of their own selection of yeasts and apply microfiltration prior to tirage to produce purer juice. The wine is made up of 30% Macabeo, 60% Parellada, and 10% Xarel-lo. Macabeo – sometimes referred to as Viura in the Rioja region – is a versatile grape and can produce a variety of aromatics and flavours, and is also in limited use on the other side of the border, in the Languedoc region of France. Xarel-lo is known to provide the acid balance in this classic Cava mixture, and like Macabeo, can be and is drunk in a table wine. It can be slightly vegetal in that form, but in a Cava mixture, provides lime and fruit flavours along with acid and sugar. Unlike the versatility of its counterparts, Parellada is more strictly reserved for sparkling wines, and only a miniscule amount makes table wine, usually blended with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. It is blossomy and flowery and provides an aromatic lift to the Cava mix.

Tasting note:
Castellblanch Cava Brut Zero Reserva
Classical Method – 30% Macabeo, 60% Parellada, 10% Xarello
24 to 36 months maturation, 11.5% alcohol, tasted 25 November 2014.

This wine has a pale gold colour, with a steady mousse and thickish, fast rising bubbles. In plain daylight, it is actually quite a yellow wine, but when observed on a white background, is quite pale. It has slight yeast aromatics, crumbly biscuits, cream, sour-cream, fuji apples, apple skins and white flesh of apples. Possibly a wee bit of shortbread, and some definite gooseberry. Tasting the wine, you’ll find lime zest, grapefruit, a searing zing of acid and fruit purity, round fruits, and a straight, careening line of fruit through the mid-palate. The wine has a medium finish, but one of my fellow tasters found the finish reasonably long. I found this a very satisfying wine, considering my fellow taster bought it for €5 in Italy. If you can seek this out, it might provide you with a good food accompaniment that is, of course, without sugar for the healthy-minded folk.

Colour: 7.5/10
Nose: 18.5/20
Taste: 27.5/30
Finish: 17/20
Overall: 17.5/20
Total: 88 points


Grape variety information referenced from

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I think I was captured by how essentially natural or organic the whole process of winemaking is. It's farming, it's viticulture, it's weather and soil, and many more things. It's the winemaker. But after all these things, after the cap is unscrewed or the cork popped, I (and you) get to enjoy it. Then we talk about it and learn some more. Which is, I guess, the reason why you're here! Here you'll find stories, links, wine education samples and wine reviews. I am entirely independent and my wine reviews and ratings are based on my own thoughts and opinions. I accept no endorsements for products or good reviews. Enjoy! I can be reached for comments, feedback and questions at Good drinking to you! David

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