Virtuoso Life - November/December 2016 - 72
Cava gets the
BY LANEE LEE
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHRIS PLAVIDAL
STYLING BY HEIDI ADAMS
T'S A RITUAL EVERY BIT AS
Spanish as staying out dancing
until sunrise: saying "salud"
with a celebratory flute of cava
in hand. Once viewed as Champagne's cheap cousin, cava, which
means "cave" or "cellar" in Spanish and Catalan, is transforming its
reputation thanks to premium producers. Unlike Italy's prosecco, cava
is made in the traditional méthode
champenoise - albeit with different
grape varietals - and tastes much
like non-vintage Champagne.
The three native cava varietals are
macabeo (the most common), parellada, and xarel-lo. Although the bubbly can legally be made throughout
Spain, most comes from Penedès in
Catalonia, roughly 25 miles south of
Barcelona, due to the region's limestone- and clay-rich soil.
Rachel Macalisang, lead sommelier at chef José Andrés' Bazaar
in Beverly Hills, recommends a few
producers for their quality and value: Agustí Torelló Mata, Raventós i
Blanc, Gramona, and Recaredo.
These labels' premium cavas, she
says, "are dry and vivid, offering
a delicate burst of energy, bright
aromatics, and a long, lingering finish. It's like the perfect breath of
V I RT U O S O L I F E
1½ ounces saffron-infused gin*
1 ounce blood orange juice
½ ounce simple syrup
2 to 3 ounces chilled cava
Saffron strands, for garnish
Combine gin, juice, and simple syrup with ice in a cocktail
shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into a Champagne flute.
Top with chilled cava; garnish with saffron strands.
*Add a pinch of saffron to a bottle of gin and allow to infuse
for at least 24 hours; strain before use.