In A Vineyard Far Far Away…..
by Michael Douglas Bosc
Once upon a time in a monastery vineyard far far away,monks were looking rather dour. They had been producing wine for many many years-good wine, but always they felt something was missing, but what they did not know. Then one day Brother Rene returned from a pilgrimage and told them of how he had been overcome and a monastery in Catalunia just the other side of the Pyrenees had taken him in and made him well. Brother Rene went on to tell about this fabulous wine they made. It tasted wonderful, sparkled and was alive with bubbles that tickled your nose, but it made you feel rejuvenated.
The wine makers poo-pooed him but Brother Rene was insistent that he was right. So two of the monks went to see for themselves. They were away for a very long time and everyone thought they must have been set upon by robbers and been killed. But one day they were seen approaching the gate riding a cart with what looked like grapevines. The fellow monks were so happy that they were alive that at first they did not ask about the cart, but eventually did. The brothers took from their cart a carefully wrapped book and some flacons. The book contained instructions on how to make CAVA and which grapes were best to use. The flacons contained some very nice wine, which disappointed the other monks as they wanted to try this CAVA. The two monks explained that no matter how they tried they could not get the bottles to travel as every bump in the road shook them and they burst.
Well the monks then tried out the recipes following the instructions. The others wanted to know why it was called CAVA. Because this wine was made in that region,the monastery decreed that should be its name. Well they could not have other monks saying they had stolen their wine so they decided that as their monastery was in Champagne they would call their wine
I was told this story by someone, whether it is true or not I cannot say. What I can say is that my visit to the Cava Celler of Josep M Ferret Gausch taught me a lot. Again, here was a small producer, but such a love of his product was there to see, that I again had the same feeling that has followed me through all my visits to the Cellers of Catalunia. Hardworking vintners, with a good knowledge of wine, happy but thoroughly immersed in their belief of what they are doing, plus a true and soul-felt delight in Catalunia wines.
You can go to the supermarkets and buy Cava such as Frexeinet for a reasonable price, but if you want quality Cava then you need to pay, just as you do for Champagne. So why don’t people drink more Cava outside of Spain? The British do. They love Cava, but I do not think they know why. The reason is simple; Champagne has sugar added to it just before its final corking, in an attempt to reduce the acidity, but basically all that happens is the acidity just levels it out. Cava on the other hand does not need to additional sugar. The grapes of the Cava region get so much sun there is no need to add sugar it’s already in the grapes, thus making the wine more natural, more gentle, more pleasing to the taste than Champagne.
I am so grateful to Josep M Ferret Gausch for allowing me the privilege of writing about his Celler. All my articles have been about the wine and Cellers of Catalunia, their pride, history, tradition and the love of what they do. The result has been something spectacular, until now, but this last visit was just superb.
Watch for a forthcoming article and make note of the contact information so that you, too can enjoy some quality Cava.
(c) Michael Bosc
Read more about the Cellers of Catalunia on Michael's blog: