We all need a little sparkle sometimes. Glitter, sequins, or when it’s a grey dank Monday and the weekend feels like it was a small ice age ago, the kind of fizz that comes in a glass.
So I’m looking back a little bit to when we were knee deep in snow and ice and freezing temperatures, and when we were just as in need of a bit of sparkle, if only because it was so bloody cold and unrelenting, and public transport was horrific and why wasn’t it spring yet?
Coming to our rescue on one of these bitterly cold evenings was the Fizz Club, hosting it’s first city centre meeting at El Gato Negro. Yes, I admit, I was here for the nibbles as much as the drink.
Brought to you by the people behind the Fizz Festival in Altrincham, this first venture into the city centre featured Cava – created in exactly the same way as Champagne, it too has a protected designation of origin (meaning it can only be produced in a specific area), and takes it’s name from the Catalan for cave or cellar.
Much like Champagne it’s flavour profile tends to be richer than many styles of Prosecco, and as it involves a further fermentation in the bottle, you get an extra layer of flavour. Meaning that it’s definitely more my cup of tea, or should I say, glass of fizz. Styles vary, but it’s traditionally made using Macabeu, Parellada, and Xarello grapes. But it can also also contain Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Subirat. Yes, you may have noticed that many of these are red grapes, and in this case, only the juice is used.
In this tasting we were treated to both the house Cava of our hosts, and a selection from Cordoniu – sadly our intended host speaker had been caught in the bad weather, but Janet was on hand to talk us through the range on offer.
Our starter was the Bodegas Sumarroca Cava Brut Reserva, Penedès, and it was the perfect place to begin (and one some preferred throughout the tasting). Crisp, light with a whisper of richness, lots of fruit, and gentle acidity. A great opener for the evening.
Onto Cordorniu – the second largest producer in Spain, we began with their entry level the Brut Non Vintage. This is a blend of the traditional grapes and as a result is rather traditional in flavour style. Fresh, crisp, with a lighter acidity than the Sumarroca, it has hints of crips apple, and with fine bubbles.
For our third, we moved away from the alcohol with something a little special. The Zer0 is a completely alcohol free wine from Cordoniu. Sweet, with lots of fruit, and crisp apples, it’s unlike many alcohol free wines as it’s not overly sugary or sweet. It would be perfect chilled on it’s own, or in a cocktail.
Our penultimate Cava was perhaps my favourite. The Codorniu Ecologica is completely organic, and has a much more complex profile than the predecessors. There’s a distinctive funkiness to it, an earthiness and richness that woke my palate up and had me reaching out my glass for a refill.
But before I got too giddy, we had one more to go.
Our final wine from Cordorniu was the Reina Maria Cristina, created to pay homage to Maria Christina of Austria, who was also Queen of Spain and Regent before her sons birth. This is a vintage Cava from 2013 and also contains Pinot Noir grapes. The result is a pretty floral Cava, with a soft buttery finish, that gentle lingers on the palate. More refined than the Ecologica, it still ran a close second is preference for me – perhaps saying something as to my own personal style.
A little funky?
I’d have loved to have paid homage too to the nibbles provided by El Gato Negro, but it’s perhaps telling that I didn’t take any pictures. I just ate them. Happily, hungrily and with much pleasure.
If you need a little sparkle in your life, the next city centre Fizz Club is in April at Randall & Aubin for Fizz and Chips, but if you can’t wait that long, next week Fizz Club will be in Didsbury with Reserve Wines. Might see you there.