WELL,it is Friday but this is little “c” rather than big “C” champagne. Which is to say that it is not real Champagne but rather Cava from Spain. Even though they can no longer use the term, Cava producers utilize the methode champenoise (the classic Champagne process) in producing their wines. As Cava producers go, Montsarra is on the small side and as smaller Cava producers go, on the traditional side in that they use only the three classic native varieties (Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo) rather than adding in Chardonnay and even Pinot Noir.
MONTSARRA Brut, Cava (Spain), NV ($17)
A blend of 65% Macabeo, 17.5% Parellada, and 17.5% Xarel-lo grown on a 99 acre estate near Torrelles de Foix in the classic Penedes part of the larger (and non-contiguous) Cava zone, fermented using methode champenoise, and aged 18 months on the lees in the bottle before disgorging. Finished at 12% AbV. Sensory: Medium straw in color and fully sparkling; dry, medium-bodied with fresh acidity. Clean but classic Cava offering toasty-yeasty notes with some mineral earth supporting citrus and an essence of earthy red fruit. Has a welcome richness and enough weight to accompany food. Think of Montsarra as the entry level to “top tier” Cava; it is way past the high-volume mass market offerings that come in black bottles or sport fake French names. 90+. We have often enjoyed this with a range of tapas and recently had a bottle with grilled lamb served over a hearty spinach-and-spring-mix salad with red grapes, blue cheese, and black walnuts.