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Premium Cava Perfect for Celebrations

amy reileyWoman on Wine

with Amy Reiley

You’re probably already familiar with Spanish sparkling wine, or Cava. But the wines you most likely know are the ones from two or three producers that are priced around the ten-dollar mark. Don’t get me wrong, I drink my share of them, too! These are perfect, dry and reasonably sophisticated sparkling wines for the price. But Spanish winemakers are also capable of producing sparkling wines that compete with the best of the best in the world. One house making premium Cava is Castell d’Age. And if you like sparkling wine, this is a winery I think you should get to know.

Castell d’Age is known as a Spanish pioneer in organic winemaking. Three generations of women are credited with nurturing this unique winery into a fully biodymanic sparkling wine house. A family-run operation, it is truly an anomaly in Spain’s Cava industry–and one that produces wines guaranteed to imprint themselves into your memory. Castell d’Age produces several memorable wines but at present only two are available in the United States.

The wines

Castell d'Age Cuvee "Anne Marie" a premium Cava from Spain2013 Castell d’Age Cava Aurèlia Brut Nature Gran Reserva
This wine feels weighty on the tongue yet it crosses the palate with a whisper of elegance. A truly lady-like wine–but a strong lady–it offers fresh, grape and crisp apple flavors and a delicious, lime zest bite of acidity.

N.V. Castell d’Age Cava Cuvee Anne Marie Brut Nature
My favorite of this wine’s many lovely attributes is its length. It lingers long with flavors of fresh roasted nuts. Its restrained yeasty, bread doughy notes on the palate makes it a perfect food wine and that nutty finish makes it a match for dinner or dessert.

Why Make Buying Thanksgiving Wines Complicated?

amy reileyI tend to focus my monthly column on wines that are unusual, small production or somehow obscure. I somehow feel as though it’s my duty to share my knowledge of those things that are exciting and possibly little known about the wine industry.

But we don’t always need an education. Sometimes we just need a good drink. That’s why I took a step back and reevaluated what I had planned for my Thanksgiving column. Just as I was kicking around new ideas, a letter arrived in the mail accompanying a couple of samples of California wine. For some reason I was touched by the sentiment of the letter. It was written by winemaker Jamie Benziger of Imagery Estate Winery. The sentiment compelled me to open the two bottles of enclosed wine right away. The wines happened to be perfect for a Thanksgiving article.

The wines, a Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, fit the bill for what I think wines for a Thanksgiving table should be: affordable, approachable, available nationwide and made in the USA. After all, this is America’s holiday. We should drink American wine! But more importantly, Imagery is a Sonoma winery, from one of the areas hardest hit by the recent wildfire disaster. And what that area needs more than anything is for Americans to support the region by buying the wines.

Tasting notes

Have trouble picking Thanksgiving Wines? Imagery Chardonnay is a good choice.2016 Imagery Estate Winery Chardonnay

This wine is made from a blend of 95% Chardonnay and 5% Chenin Blanc. The addition of Chenin Blanc gives the wine beautiful floral and melon notes which harmonize nicely with the Chardonnay’s apple and pear. The result is something pretty, fresh and fruity. It is the super easy drinking sort of wine that tastes great before dinner and won’t overshadow the delicious flavors at the table.

2016 Imagery Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

Imagery made this wine with the addition of 15% Petite Sirah to the Cabernet. The wine is a super smooth, boldly fruity style of Cab. The Petite Sirah gives it a sexy hint of baking spice and pepper that I, of course, love. If your table is full of serious oenophiles, this is not going to be the wine for you. But if you are like most of us and want to enjoy an easy-to-drink wine that will compliment rather than overpower the meal, this is not only going to fit the bill at an affordable price, it will likely absolutely delight many of your guests.

Discover Drouhin Both Old World and New

amy reiley

Woman on Wine with Amy Reiley

Every once in a while I’m inspired to dedicate my monthly column to a single vintner or winery or, in this case, legendary wine family. Joseph Drouhin founded an estate in Burgundy in 1880. Read more

Awesome Asti–Moscato d’Asti is a wine everyone can enjoy

amy reiley

Woman on Wine

with Amy Reiley

Moscato d’Asti is a sparkling white wine produced in Northern Italy. It is low in alcohol and slightly sweet, making it a perfect wine for summer. Unlike Champagne, Moscato d’Asti is produced in a frizzante style. That means that rather than having the rush of efferevescence of Cava or Champagne, it has a gentle effervescence produced fron tiny bubbles dancing across the tongue. This is because the wines don’t undergo secondary fermentation in the bottle. Read more

Dedicated to the Champagne Lovers–5 wines you’ll want to try

amy reileyWoman on Wine with Amy Reiley

Like just about ever other wine writer, I tend to save my stories on Champagne for the holiday season. Unfortunately, that only helps to perpetuate the idea that Champagne is a celebration-only wine. Sure, it’s effervescence seems to put everyone in a party mood, but that shouldn’t mean that you limit your Champagne intake only to birthdays, weddings and New Year’s Eve! Read more