Match of the week
Duck casserole with Vilarnau Els Capricis Cava
There’s a certain repertoire of ingredients and dishes that are regularly paired with vintage champagnes and other sparkling wines - luxury foods like lobster, turbot, sweetbreads and even roast chicken but until last week’s trip to the Cava region I would never have thought of pairing them with a casserole
The region has a new classification for its top wines which is Cava de Paraje Calificado. Wines that qualify must meet strict requirements including that they must come from a single vineyard, from vines that are a minimum of 10 years old and must be aged on their lees for at least 36 months
The Vilarnau Else Capricis 2014 that was paired with this dish doesn’t currently have CPC status but could well get it if it is approved by the panel which is made up of independent judges as well as industry professionals.
It’s made from the local Xarel-lo grape variety and is fermented in 250 litre chestnut wood barrels giving it a really lush, rich character that is surprising in so young a wine.
Like other top cavas we tasted it’s also a Brut Nature - i.e. a sparkling wine without any added dosage (the sweet liquor with which most sparkling wines are topped up)
But duck casserole? Well, it's a local speciality and much loved in the region - Bruno Colomer Marti, the winemaker of Cordoniu also told us he liked to drink Paraje cava with a casserole. The key I think was that the dish was rich, slightly fatty and a touch sweet thanks to the prunes that were also an ingredient. (I reckon you could have added chestnuts too)
Champagne, even with dosage, would have been too dry I think. Vintage cava could and did cope.
I travelled to Penedes as a guest of DO Cava.
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