Know your bubbles...
Let me start with discussing a few statistics as possibly a quick scan of those recently released may have led to the wrong conclusion.
I read last week that car sales were down 99 per cent, clothes and apparel minus 97.1 per cent, but wines and spirits up 39.1 per cent.
Certainly, the key words in this government release are “retail sales”. So they represent store sales only and, as a matter of fact, supermarket and food store sales are ahead 17.5 per cent. This, of course, is because customers are now buying virtually all their meals to have at home, rather than the occasional restaurant treat.
In the case of beer, wine and spirits importers, they have seen a precipitous fall in sales to clubs, bars, restaurants, hotels, charter boats and so on. Their own retail outlets, independent stores and supermarkets have seen some of the slack taken up by their increased sales, but please do not think that we are disregarding new cars and clothes while going on an eating and drinking binge!
Overall, the food and drinks business is not anywhere near the levels of this time last year.
For this Labour Day weekend I would like to share some information with you about new sparkling wines for Burrows Lightbourn. Of course Italian prosecco has led the way in worldwide demand for this style of wine, but Spanish cava has benefited from this and, at least pre-Covid, has been growing nicely.
Over the years Segura Viudas has earned a reputation as one of the top producers of cava. The winery has been noted for its high production standards, its labour intensive approach to winemaking, and its penchant for releasing some of Europe's finest artisan sparkling wines. The estate that houses Segura Viudas dates back to the 11th century. Segura Viudas became a winery that began producing and selling wines in 1959 mostly using grapes from the indigenous white varieties, xarello, macabeo and parellada. A point well worth pointing out is that cava is produced in the same way as champagne, with each bottle being individually fermented on its own.
Segura Viudas Brut leads the category at $19.35 (stock #9106) and its vibrant clementine, green apple and limestone have earned it 91/100 from a tasting panel. This convinced Wine Spectator to list it with their choices of the top 100 sparkling wine values.
Segura Viudas Gran Cuvée Reserva is a new challenge for their winemakers as the main objective is to reflect their support for ancient local grapes like macabeo and parellada, the most delicate of white grapes. After blending nine different base wines, they add a minor quantity of chardonnay and pinot noir to contribute with their personalities and good acidity. The final result is a fresh, elegant and complex creation, that will only be made when all the climate, soil and harvest conditions are aligned. $23.55 (stock #9104).
Particularly, for a picnic, the little quarter bottles are ideal and we now have Segura Viudas Rosé for $4.75 (stock #9107). Strawberry and pink grapefruit perfume the glass of this cava rosado, a blend of 90 per cent trepat and 10 per cent garnacha that aged for 12 months. Defined by decisive flavours of cherry pith, grapefruit zest and grenadine, it possesses a subtle richness thanks to its refined mousse and textural complexity.
Although not a new one for us, I would be remiss if I did not mention one of my favourites, which is Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Brut; in fact I will let Canadian critic Natalie MacLean describe it: “Here's your sparkling wine for the summer (and year round)! Terrific value in this well-made, toasty and refreshing bubbly from Spain that's a third of the price of champagne. Segura is one of the most respected producers of cava, the Spanish name for sparkling wine. Terrific earthy aromas mingle with toasted almond and some green apple. Great aperitif, or try it with roast turkey, fried chicken, or yes, even potato chips. Elegant, layered, refreshing. Cava food pairings: seafood tapas, salty light meats, caviar, oysters, Chinese dishes 92/100.” $31.15 (stock #9105).
We also have three new wines from the Freixenet winery in Spain and two of them are alcohol-free, a rosé and a standard bubbly. They are our stock numbers 9110 and 9109 respectively and their price of $11.90 is a stark reminder of what our government extracts from us in alcohol taxes. The refreshing peach and pear are quite fine when one does not want any alcohol but still wants to enjoy something that reminds them of wine.
I believe that one of the largest producers of cava has taken a somewhat “if you can't beat them, then join them” attitude and so we have introduced Freixenet Prosecco. They have extended their expertise and globally renowned name to prosecco, blending superior quality with stunning beauty. Made from the finest glera grapes in Italy's prosecco region of Veneto, Freixenet Prosecco is as distinctive as it is delicious. Whole bunches of grapes are gently pressed and the juice undergoes a process of slow-cooled fermentation to preserve the grape's delicate aromas and freshness. The second fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature in pressurised stainless steel tanks. After a few weeks the remaining natural sugars result in a fresh, fruity and seductive sparkling wine. The very distinctive dimpled bottle is a standout on the shelf. $24.90 (stock #9111).
• This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail email@example.com or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George (York Street, 297-0409). Visit www.wineonline.bm