Posted on Apr, 18. 2011 by

Categories: Wine

As I was listening to Terry Gross’ interview with Tina Fey recently, I laughingly tried to figure out a way to work the hilarious (to me at least) name of Fey’s new memoir, “Bossypants” into my daily repertoire. Hm, maybe it would work as an offhanded crack directed at my wife? Too predictable. Sign my emails with it, perhaps? Not quite professional. But then I tasted this Cava today, and a few hours later, it hit me: we’re just not bossy enough sometimes. In private, amongst ourselves and our wine geek friends, we’ll often half-jokingly remark that everyone MUST drink this or that, and if they don’t like it, they’re wrong…but the closest we ever truly get to being “bossy” is to hit a wine with the Defcon label, or just lavish it with our praise and elation.

Well, I’m about to get all Bossypants on ya:

Buy a pallet of the Mont Marçal Cava Brut Reserva. As Bossypants, I don’t really need to explain myself, but I will anyway (feel free to stop reading right here and just order your palatte now, though):

To me, Cava is almost always a forgettable bubbly. Not necessarily forgettable in terms of whether you like it or not, but forgettable in that it doesn’t really stand out from any kind of crowd (and the market is nothing if not crowded with mediocre Cava). There are good Cavas, there are bad Cavas, and there are absurdly expensive Cavas that are nominally better but don’t represent any kind of real value. And, of course, there’s much in between. Spain does Cava, it’s their thing, and they, by and large, do it pretty well…but not good enough for me to buy it for anything other than a specific purpose. It’s almost never the case that I’d buy it just to drink on a tepid weeknight because I love it…no, it’s mostly just for cheap toasting bubbly, or for a refreshing aperitif on a hot summer day, or for party-stocking.

I don’t think a Cava ever has struck me like the Marçal struck me, though. So, as I’m tasting this wine and marveling at its genius, I turn to the rep and throw out a price guess (the reps like to play that game with this kind of wine) in the mid-to-upper-teens. She just grins wide and finally tells me that it’s under $10 ($9.53-GC, $9.97-PC). I think my response was something like “shut UP!” (no, I’m not a teenage girl, it’s just that good.) In shock, I vowed today to boss you guys around, because sometimes, it’s just the way things need to be done. This wine, it has no business at all being this cheap, and you have no business not buying some.

As for the wine itself: rather than trying to rush the stuff out the door to turn a quick profit on pedestrian bubbles, the Marçals age it on the lees (yeast) for a whopping 18 months (hence the “Reserva” label…they even declare vintages!). In that time, it picks up a ripeness, a softness around the edges, a level of pristine composure that I’ve never seen at this price. You also get a touch of that bready, yeasty character, but it’s just enjoyable background noise, with much more forward-leaning melon and overripe peach and a touch of that sweet musty smell you sometimes get from cantaloupe rind. No acid bomb, no lemon-drop one-noter here, this is complex, and enjoyable, and refreshing without being empty in the middle of the palate or mouth-puckeringly tight at the end. It is the embodiment of what I love about “Old Spain”, that rough, rugged, hot-weather classicity in lieu of modern sleekness or polish. It is perhaps the most perfect balance of price and classical quality that the world of carbonated wine has to offer. Now go buy some.

Mont Marçal Cava Brut Reserva 2007
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $9.53 • Premier Cru: $9.97 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $13.00
Buy Now!

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