If you think sparkling wines are only for special occasions, think again! Ray Isle of Food and Wine Magazine recently conducted a virtual tasting featuring sparkling wines of Cava DOC. From that Cava in the Kitchen event, here are ten top tips on pairing Cava with food any day of the week. Ray swears it’s sure to improve your life immensely!
Now, before we dive in, keep in mind that Cava is a remarkable bargain in a lot of cases. The samples I received of six sparklers featured in the online event ranged from a mere $12.99 to $22.99.
Pro Tips from Ray Isle
1. You’ll never go wrong with dry sparkling wine and potato chips; your life will improve immediately.
2. Grilled cheese and dry cava is a great way to spend the evening in front of the television.
3. To describe pairings, try this scale: -2 -1 0 1 2
At -2, both the wine and food fall flat. Almost all pairings are 0; in other words, neutral. Nothing really happens to the wine or the food. On the other hand, +2 is what you’re hoping for when wine and food are both amplified. This is in the context of talking about flavors.
4. What’s key is to ask yourself, do you like it? What does it taste like to you? Would you buy it again?
5. Pairing for Ray is more about whether it’s fun to do. He declares you shouldn’t worry about it.
6. If you like food and like wine, why not experiment? Do it for a dinner party with five different wines for people to figure out what each of them likes. The bundle of five wines tasted during this event were available from Gary’s Marketplace for a mere $86.95. That’s a bargain for a dinner party!
7. Whatever you choose to pair with Cava, steer clear of cake. Sweetness in food makes these dry wines seem more astringent.
8. Find simple elements that work well together.
9. Earthiness of mushrooms (Ray paired a mushroom pizza with Segura Viudas NV Reserva Heredad) goes great with the savory notes of the older Reserva Cava .
10. Note that Ray didn’t choose Spanish foods for this pairing event. Although we tend to think, “What goes together grows together,” he believes that puts borders on things. So, while Spanish fare would seem natural, explore what’s local for you.
Now, go get yourself some Cava. It’s definitely on my shopping list! Plus, if you’re like me, you’ll start serving bubbles with Monday’s dinner to set a positive tone for the week.
Certified Specialist of Wine Nancy Croisier, founder of VinoSocial, is on a mission to get wineries on social media and a bottle of wine on every table. Her wine education has taken place at Northwest Wine Academy and in the 30+ wine regions she has visited. Nancy partners with some of the top wineries, wine regions, and wine shops on virtual tastings and other projects. She also writes for the Slow Wine Guide.