Why Cava is cool for a barbecue
Advertising feature: Cava might not be the first bottle you’d think of taking to or serving at a barbecue but if you think of it simply as a meal cooked over fire rather than under the grill or in the oven why not? And being an exceptionally food-friendly wine it will sail through.
Coming mainly from the south of Spain the D.O. Cava is much warmer than that of champagne which means there’s a ripeness and richness in the wines that can cope with the big flavours of grilled food. Added to that the depth and complexity that comes with bottle ageing (all wines are a cava de guarda and have a minimum of nine months ageing) and you can even pair it with spicy meats and marinades.
Which bottle you choose depends on what you're eating. Younger, more inexpensive cavas will be better with lighter foods like simply cooked fish and vegetables , reservas which have to be aged for 18 months can handle more robust flavours while a gran reserva which is aged for at least 30 months would be a treat with a whole fish or a lobster. If you see a vintage date on the label that's an indication of a more complex style.
And don't just think of the main ingredient - think how you can complement it. Summer vegetables such as peppers, courgettes (zucchini) and corn will all be lovely with cava - as will cornbread if you bake some as a side.
Then there’s seafood. Who doesn’t want to chuck a prawn on the barbie? Especially at the beach! There’a a fantastic hit of umami you get from the smoky shell. Not to mention the lovely sweetness of seared scallops. Put a piece of tuna on a hot grill and it’s suddenly a great match for a glass of cava - a reserva in this case I'd suggest.
Then there are of course all the little nibbly bits you lay on to take the edge off your appetite while you’re waiting for the fish or meat to cook. Cava is brilliant with anything deep fried so if you’ve got a mate who’s a dab hand at croquetas get them on the job. Otherwise simple bought in tapas like olives, cheese and, especially, ham will all work brilliantly. Cava will go well with a creamy dip too. Or a few oysters. The fact that cava contains minimal added sugar makes it a great match for raw and lightly cooked shellfish.
You can also accent your Cava by the ingredients you put in your salads and sides. Fresh berries, barberries or pomegranate seeds for example will bring out the pretty berry fruit in a rosé Cava, known in Spain as rosado. It’s also great with the crispy croutons (and parmesan) in a caesar salad too. Grill some peaches or nectarines alongside your chicken and it will bring out the peachy notes in a Cava.
Then just sit late into the evening and enjoy your last glass with a nibble of cheese.
4 cavas to enjoy with your BBQ
Anna de Cordoniu Blanc de Blancs
A blend of chardonnay, parellada and other indigenous grape varieties this has the typically creamy consistency of a blanc de blancs
Drink with: A perfect aperitif to drink with creamy dips, croquetas and tapas before a barbecue but it would perfect with grilled seafood like scallops too
Gran Baron Cava Metodo Tradicional Bio-organic
This attractively rounded organic Cava would be a good wine to serve at a veggie barbecue - or with grilled chicken if you eat meat.
Vins El Cep Mim Natura Brut Nature Reserva 2016
This rich toasty but dry ‘brut nature’ style is would be a good pairing with grilled prawns - or even lobster. Or a whole grilled fish. Take it on a beach BBQ!
Treasure Gold Black Label Cava Brut
Pick up on the imagery of this dramatic-looking bottle by serving it with a Mexican-style barbecue feast. It’s soft, rich appley fruit would be great with carnitas and with tortillas and tacos.
For other ideas of what to serve with Cava see the 'Discover' section of the Cava website.
Want to learn more about Cava?
The Cava Academy has just launched an online cava training school for wine industry professionals to help them dive deeper into the history and personalities behind a glass of Cava, The curriculum offers audio-visual content, videos and interactive tests that make the learning process enjoyable, intuitive and adaptable to the pace of each student.
Tastings will be conducted by leading wine professionals and Cava ambassadors, including Pedro Ballesteros MW and Ferran Centelles and members of the innovative Basque Culinary Center in the form of educational video tutorials.
Upon completion of an exam at the end of the course, successful candidates will receive a Certified Cava Trainer diploma and gain access to the Cava Academy Alumni community. I
In addition, once travel restrictions from the pandemic are lifted, course graduates will be able to participate in a 2- or 3-day visit to the Cava region to experience winery visits as well as masterclasses focused on Cava’s gastronomic versatility.
Pictures by Nick Austin.
This is an advertising feature in association with D.O.Cava
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