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Spain’s premium sparkling wine, cava, seems to be the drink of choice for many these days. It makes the perfect partner for just about any food or celebration. Already the second biggest-selling sparkling wine category in the world, after Champagne, it combines abundance with a hard-won reputation for quality.

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Cava is based on the trio of indigenous grape varieties, Parellada, Macabeo and Xarel-lo, which all have a refreshing lemony tang to them. The great news is that it sells for a fraction of the price of Champagne, and yet is still made by the very same process.

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Rosé cava has a persuasive raspberry bouquet derived largely from the Monastrell grape. These delicious rosés are a world away from the sickly sweet specimens which went by the same name in the 1980s.

That was the decade when the world of cava began to change. As a result of a prolonged campaign, the Holy Grail was won when Chardonnay became a permitted grape in the blends. In the last few years Pinot Noir has been authorized for use in the rosés, and since the 2007 harvest, it is permissible to use it in the white wines too.

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The use of Pinot Noir has been the pioneering concern of cava’s pre-eminent producer, the family-owned label Codorníu  (www.codorniu.com)  With vineyards in Cataluña, in Spain’s north east, the company produces around 60 million bottles each year. Much of this is exported.

Freshness is all with this delightful cava, as is evidenced by the vintages across the label. The bracing lemony tang of the cava is offset by a faint suggestion of toasted wheat meal bread. Its rosé cousin is predominantly Monastrell, backed up with Pinot Noir, and displays a highly appealing, rounded, ripe cherry style bouquet. Drunk with finely sliced Iberian ham its engaging fruity aromas are highly appealing.

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Codorníu is now available in many outlets worldwide. For those who fall under its charms on-line purchases are easy.