The Wine of the Week by Annette Tomei
NV Jaume Serra Cristalino, Brut Traditional Method Cava, Spain
Cava – Spain’s traditional method (fka méthode champenoise) sparkling wine from the Catalonia region; it is made from a blend of grapes, primarily Macabeo and Xarel-lo with the recent addition of Chardonnay to the list of permitted white grape varietals. Cava must be aged on its lees for at least 9 months and attain a final alcohol level between 10-13%. The Brut designation has up to 12 grams of residual sugar – an almost-undetectable amount that contributes to a smooth mouthfeel.
Long known simply as “Cristalino”, it seems the producer experienced some criticism from the Champagne house Louis Roederer, producer of Cristal, for similarities in their name – they now use the full name “Jaume Serra Cristalino”, along with a prominently displayed disclaimer denying any affiliation between the two brands.
This wine has long been a value favorite for consumers and the media alike. At a consistent price of under $10 per bottle, and frequently well under $100 per case, that trend shows no sign of stopping, as long as the quality continues as well.
Cristalino is a great go-to for an aperitif, with a variety of foods, and as a base for sparkling cocktails of all sorts. The aromas and flavors are clean and appealing – green apple, fragrant lime, and almond with a persistent, fine mousse. The flavors are bright, crisp, and autumn-like – a bit of quince and subtle toastiness, with a clean bone dry finish, and only 11.5% ABV. This is a great wine to serve with hors d’oeuveres because it will go with everything from shrimp cocktail or sushi to more substantial fried bites, charcuterie, and salumi. Salut!
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