Deep gold-yellow color, very tiny bubbles; light citrus-green apple nose; light body, zingy acidity (the best feature), lemon, pear on the palate, creamy ripe pear finish with touch of tartness at the very end—a tart exit is common with cavas. Almost bone dry. Appealing, well-priced step-up from average Spanish cavas: 55% macabeu, 40% paralleda, 5% xarel-lo grapes.
Sparkling wine is one of the—maybe the—most versatile wine to pair with food, and this dry wine’s superb acidity and lack of any overpowering fruit makes it an excellent choice even for difficult wine-food pairings. It will work as an aperitif, but this will do even better at a meal featuring a parade of flavors and dishes, able to hang with each in turn.
Vilarnau is located in the heart of Spanish cava country near Barcelona. The Vilarnau family settled in the area in the 12th century, and remnants of that early beginning can be seen from the vineyards. The current winery began producing cava in 1949. In 1982, it became part of the Gonzalez Byass wine family, a main player in Spanish wine. The modern winery was completed in 2005. Designed by architect Luis González, the winery is a beauty with water (exclusively supplied by rain) surrounding the entire building, stained glass windows, and oak on all the outer walls. The interior was designed by the famous artist Antonio Miró—so the winery itself is a substantial work of art. Miró continued his relationship with the winery after the interior work by designing labels.
Finally, the winery wisely focuses on sustainability by working to reduce CO2 emissions, capturing rainwater and recycling water, avoiding chemical fertilizers and pesticides. They also are big on cork: “Cork is a forest product whose removal is performed every 10 years in a manner that is respectful without damaging the tree. Cork is a 100% recyclable material and its manufacture does not generate waste. The final balance of CO2 is negative,” the website asserts. We will drink cava to that. $15
Second photo: Vilarnau winery
Third photo: Vilarnau tasting and aging room