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Tag Archives: Cava

Winebits 333: Prosecco and cava, buying a winery, and family wineries

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Winebits 333: Prosecco and cava, buying a winery, and family wineriesThe Spanish understand these things: Imagine a California wine producer, facing intense competition for a foreign rival, and their reaction: “We must crush them!” But the Spanish, faced with the phenomenal growth of Prosecco over the past several years, have figured out that’s a good thing. “The Prosecco boom is helping to open minds and show that you don’t need to wait for a special occasion to open a bottle of sparkling wine – Prosecco and cava can be Monday night wines,” says Gloria Collell, the winemaker at Spanish cava giants Freixenet and Segura Viudas (and, in the interest of full disclosure, someone I know a little and like). Which, of course, is the Wine Curmudgeon’s approach to wine — drink it on Monday night (as well as Tuesday night, and so on and so forth). The interview, in the drinks business trade magazine, is worth reading for its sensible look at the sparkling business.

The best due diligence: I’ve met a lot of new winery owners over the years, and too many of them admit they really didn’t understand what they were getting into. Now they have this to read, from Jonathan Yates at The Street: “There are always good buys in established wineries on the market as many of the sellers purchased without focusing on how the business model operates.” His three points — understand wine is made everywhere, understand the importance of the tasting room, and understand wineries as destinations — are as good as anything I have seen.

Everyone owns a family business: The idea of local and the backlash against big and multi-national that started during the recession has even moved into wine. Casella Wines, the Australian producer that makes YellowTail, and has always been owned by the Casella family, has a new name — Casella Family Brands. Because, of course, nothing will better burnish the image of a brand that makes tens of millions of cases than the idea of family. It’s something E&J Gallo, still owned by the Gallo family, has always played up, and it’s even something that publicly-owned behemoth Constellation Brands, started by the Sands family and still run by it, tries to take advantage of. In wine, family and big are not mutually exclusive the way they are in so many other businesses.

Wine of the week: Segura Viudas Brut Reserva NV

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segura viudasThe Segura Viudas cava proves cheap wine’s greatness, a sparkling wine from Spain that offers much more value than it costs, and that does so year after year after year. Best yet, it does so without much Winestream Media attention, a minimum of high scores, and the kind of fawning that more expensive wine and Champagne gets from wine snobs.

I’ve been buying the Segura Viudas ($9, purchased, 12%) for years, almost from the time I started the blog. Yes, the company that makes it paid for a press trip to I took to Spain, but when has that ever stopped me from writing what I thought? This is terrific wine, ideal for sipping, toasting, and meals — bone dry, with tart green apple flavor balanced by a little tropical fruit, the yeastiness that you expect from more expensive champagne-style wines, and tight, delightful bubbles. I really love the bubbles.

This week, when it comes time to celebrate The Holiday that Must Not be Named, don’t worry about impressing your significant other with some high-end, overpriced sparkler that has the kind of description — “dough aromas” — that makes you shake your head and sigh. Pour this, don’t mention how much it costs, and accept the compliments gracefully.

New Year’s sparkling wine 2013

sparkling wine

Call it champagne with small c (but not in front of a European), Champagne with a capital C, bubbles, or any of its other synonyms — sparkling wine deserves to be served more than at dinner on Dec. 31, for a toast at midnight, or at brunch on Jan. 1.

The good news is that it is. Bubbly has never been better made or more affordable; call it the revolution in sparkling wine. What else do you need to know for the occasion? The Champagne and sparkling wine glossary is here, and you can check out the sparkling wine category for even more ideas. Suggestions for next week are after the jump:

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