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Posts Tagged ‘Cava’

50 YEARS AND STILL GOING STRONG!!

Forgive me if I seem a bit excited but Friday saw us celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary, yep we had made it.  Life is not all roses and chocolates, there are a few thorns and bitter almonds in there but if you truly love each other you survive.  So this is what happened:

“Two old codgers enjoying the event went to the seaside for lunch. Muscles then shell-fish in a savoury rice, washed down with Cava and sparkling water followed by postres (that’s pudding to you)  this was the life.  Sitting opposite the marina the boats in rows remembering when they sailed a long time ago.  Then replenished and happy they headed for home, and wishes on FB from friends, coffee and wine saw them put out the lights go to bed after saying Amen to that.”

Well what else can you do or say?  except that we are still going strong, mind you we didn’t get up till nearly midday it was Saturday and we did celebrate….

The Forest

 

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Well what a surprise we had the other week.  Whilst working round the finca – picking the olives – we heard this heavy machine on the track. Not being nosey (yes we were) we went to look and there coming up the track was a heavy tractor dragging a leveler with a blade behind it, our track was being made useable again.  The tractor took three passes to do its stuff and we were very impressed, all the loose stones had gone everything was smooth, the edges were very clearly defined wow!  However, knowing this place like we do it won’t be long before the quad and off road bikes get going then it will be back to normal.  We hope the bikes will stick to the top part of the mesa where it is rough and wild but we will see.

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The weather has been very misty so we have not had much sun, this is because we are in the Ebre valley so here we have our own little weather systems. But we are having a few ‘grey days’  lots of cloud, dampness but no sun and its cold. This means the fire is going full belt just to keep the house from feeling damp. Although its grey outside is quite pleasant so we can get the various jobs done, like restoring the original cisterna.

The Birds

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We have not seen much of the birds this autumn but the little Redstarts are here, and we know the blackbirds are around we have seen them as they are becoming rather partial to the leftover bird seed from the boys. We have therefore made an area especially for them with some protection and so far they are loving it.  The Song Thrush is back darting here and there, but no one has visited the tree perhaps we pruned it too sharply. So we have decided to let it grow again to give some cover to the water bar (which is being revamped) and the strawberries, these I covered with hay this morning as they still have fruit growing.

But its these Eagles that have our attention at the moment.  They are large things and look like tree stumps from down here but you can see the beaks are huge.  Thing is though they sound like ducks quacking and these two had two young ones, life seems to be thriving up here.

The Garden

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Well winters on its way and with the cooler weather comes a flurry of activity in the garden.  Our growing year starts in October when it begins to get cooler and runs till April/May when nature turns the heat up.  So there are always projects going  on – several at a time – which is probably why some are still being finished off in April.   This is the Lily garden before and after its makeover.  As you can see there is a water pipe running through it and the wall needed attention plus there were plenty of weeds at the far end. So I weeded then planted Sweetpeas around the oblix, next came a tidy up and covering over of the pipe with stones.  The wall was a little simpler. With a quick tidy along the bottom then cemented in to ensure that it stayed intact and volla job done.  I also moved around to the mint bed covering both the mint roots and pipe with stones making it tidy whilst providing the mint roots with protection from the sun and providing moisture retention at the same time. Although the wall along the path is not finished you can basically see the way it will look.  The other side of the rain gully has to be done that contains the Sage bed so I have a few other herbs to go there once I get to it.

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This was the start of Sams Garden which is still a work in progress.  Ideas change so often here that I usually find I am back to the original design and this is no different.   I had wanted to make the ‘water bar’ into a small two layered thing, but then Michael suggested that I build a larger bird bath under the olive tree by my sculptures and tyre garden.  But as often happens other things got in the way so that by the time it came to sort this out neither of us liked it so it was back to the original.  My biggest problem is how to make the tank (white bucket) work better without too much hassle.  After clearing everything away from the centre so I could see what was there,  I built a new bulb garden to one side here I have planted Freesias and other bulbs I am not exactly sure of then covered the earth with stones to – hopefully – stop animals digging.   Next the bucket was painted green in the hope that it will prevent algae from stuffing up the filter, I am currently looking for some tubing to replace the old stuff in the hope it will work better.  The plinth has been leveled and I am in the process of building it up to make it more secure. This garden has several aspects to it so I am not rushing anything.

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This was originally destined to be the new bird bath  but try as we might neither of us could decide what to do with it so we scrapped it and it is now being turned into another bulb garden.  When its finished I am hoping it will look different a bit of a seaside theme….

 

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

 

 

 

 

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This is a time for fairy stories, magical things and happiness.  For the children it’s all about Disney, Farther Christmas – here it’s also the Three Kings – distributing their gifts and generally enjoying themselves.  But this story is purely for the grown up’s who love wine. So with the children tucked up in bed, it’s time to turn off the television, stoke the fire  pour yourself a drink,  settle into a comfy chair and I’ll begin.

Once upon a time long long ago was a secret valley surrounded by mystical mountains.  This valley had gently rolling fields in which were dotted little farm houses, surrounded by grape vines.  Each house was charged with growing grapes for the local monastery who made ordinary wine for their services and the monks but a ‘magic’ sparkling wine for special visitors.  For many many years the farmers had grown the grapes taken them to the monastery so the monks could make their wine, but no matter what the quantity the farmers produced there was never enough grapes left over for their own wine. So they devised a plan. Each farmer would grow one row of grapes for himself and after they had taken the others to the monastery they would pick these to make their wine.  To keep this plan secret from the monks they would not mention the extra row as the monks would demand all the grapes, so they decided they would take turns to make their wine so that if a monk saw anything he would not know what was really happening.  But as usual the monks got to hear about all of this and demanded all the grapes, so it was that the glum farmers took all their harvest to the monastery.

Now everyone has a patron saint. There is one for travellers, children, fishermen and, of course, farmers and this little valley was no exception. The monks had been telling stories of Saint Galdric and how he was the patron Saint of farmers, and how they were the only people who could talk to him and that was why they needed all the grapes. But the poor men who worked the fields could not believe that a Saint would allow the monks to take everything from them in his name. Then one day when an old farmer was sitting alone on his finca he was approached by a strange-looking man. The man came quietly along the field and stopped in front of the farmer and asked if he could have a piece of bread and something to drink.  The old man said he was welcome to share his food but he could only offer him water as the greedy monks had taken all the grapes and he had none to make wine any more.  The stranger sat and talked with him for a while then rose to leave saying that soon the monks would not be needing grapes and the old man and his friends would have plenty of grapes.  True enough after a few years when their wine had gone bad and could not be drunk the monks closed the monastery and moved further down the country, unfortunately they took the secret of their ‘magic’ wine with them, well they thought they had.

About a year after all this happened, a young man came out of the mountains and walked around the valley.  He finally found someone who knew a little of wine making and began to instruct him in the art of making the ‘magic’ wine, only he could not get it to form the ‘Golden Crown’. This was the magic of the monks wine but try as he might he could not get it to appear.  So for many years the farmers just kept making their wine and hoping the ‘Golden Crown’ would appear in their wine. Through war and pestilence peace and faming they tried but although the wine was good and the sparkling wine sparkled the ‘Golden Crown’ remained elusive. This situation carried on over the years, and the sparkling wine was given the name Cava after the valley it came from, until one day….

On a quiet sunny afternoon in autumn after the grapes had been harvested, a strange old man was seen wandering around the valley. He was dressed in a rough tunic his legs bound with cloth and sandles on his feet.  He had a beard and fine head of hair streaked with grey, with a quite and peaceful countenance. He walked with a long staff and where he trod the tired earth was renewed.  All day he would walk amongst the vineyards talking to the farmers, at night he would knock on a door and ask for shelter, to those who made him welcome he gave a blessing and told them how to make their wine more drinkable.  To those who turned him away he would sadly shake his head saying he was sorry they had a bad harvest. These farmers laughed and said they had had a super harvest but the old man was not talking about the one just gone he was talking about the next harvest. True enough the following year those who had been kind to him had bumper crops with enough grapes to make plenty of wine.  However, those who had been unkind barely had enough for a few bottles and it was not that nice to drink.

This was the second time St. Galdric had visited the valley but he was not to be seen again until the early 1900’s when a disease killed the vines.  As the poor farmers struggled with this disaster, he wandered amongst them giving advice and solace.  If they used vines grafted on stock from the America’s they would be able to grow grapes again and make wine.  Some of the farmers listened to him and took his advice. They planted vines which began to grow producing some special grapes which were used to make the Cava.  One day a young boy was sitting in the autumn sun by the side of a vineyard where his father and grandfather were busy working, he was thinking of how it would feel when he was grown up and could make his own wine.  He wanted to make Cava, not any Cava but the stuff the monks of old had made, all his life he had heard the stories and he believed.

As he sat there dreaming and looking across the valley into the late evening sun his vision seemed to waver, was that a man approaching? He rubbed his eyes and looked again, no there was no mistake a man was walking towards him.  The young boy watched his approach, saw the soft even tread that made no noise nor left a footprint. When he was level with the boy the man stopped and looked at him.  He asked the boy why he looked so sad. “My father and grandfather work so hard to grow grapes but it is even harder to make wine like the monks made, I wish I was older and could do so.”  the boy looked sad.   “Walk with me” the man said and with the boy went in search of his father, they found him pruning the vines.  Looking up his father saw walking towards him an old man surrounded by a shimmering light.  The boy ran towards him “Father this old man wants to speak with you”.  His father stopped work and straightened up still watching the old man, there was something about him he recognised. But before he could speak the boy’s grandfather drew a deep breath “Saint Galdric… Saint Galdric” he whispered.  The old man smiled and a warm gentle glow spread over the other three.

Turning to the boy’s father he said “Your son tells me you want to make wine as good as the monks made a long time ago”  all the boy’s father could do was nod.  Taking up the knife that the man had dropped the Saint began to show how to prune the vines to encourage better growth.  Then as the sun was beginning to set and it was dinner time they invited him to join them and whilst they ate Saint Goldric told them the secret of how to make wine as good as the monks of old. When it was time for St. Galdric to leave he beckoned the boy to walk with him, as they walked he said “One day I will return and teach you how to make the ‘Golden Crown’.”

Time passed and when St Galdric returned, it was not the boy he instructed, but his son.  As the years had passed the boy had grown and founded his own celler and learnt how to make Cava like the monks, so had many other farmers, but try as they might they could not make the ‘Golden Crown’.  When St Galdric returned the ‘boy’ was pleased to see him telling him of his life and introducing his sons who worked with their father as he proudly showed the Saint his Celler.  “We have managed to produce the “magic” wine the monks made we still call it Cava.”  When he heard this St Galdric nodded slowly, “does anyone help you?” he asked “Only my sons”.  “ahhhh” murmured the Saint.

After he had left the ‘boy’ he headed back to where they had first met.  As he walked along the road St Galdric spied the person he was looking for.  There sitting in the same place as his father had all those years ago was a young man.  St Galdric stopped in front of the young man and asked what was wrong.  The young man sighed then looking at the Saint he said “I have been hearing about the ‘Golden Crown’ ever since I can remember but neither my father nor any of the other producers can achieve it, I would so like to do so.”  he sighed again and the Saint saw his father sitting there and heard the same words but looking at this young man he could see the passion in those eyes, feel his longing, his love for the wines he made.  So the Saint sat down next to the young man and told him the story of how he met his father, grandfather and great-grandfather, of the monks and their wine making but that only a truly passionate wine maker who really cared about his Cava could create the ‘Golden Crown’.

“May I give you some advice” the Saint asked. “Yes please” the young man eagerly replied.  “You must study hard, learn about wine making then when you are ready return here to your great-grandfathers old home and create a Celler with your own hands.  When you have achieved this I will return and show you how to make the ‘Golden Crown’.”  The young man looked at the Saint who seemed to be fading in the evening light. It took about 2 seconds for him to promised and as he watched Saint Galdric gently faded away.  As the young man sat watching the spot where the Saint had stood he drifted off into a different realm.  Here he found himself watching a friar making his ‘magic’ wine. He noted how yeast was added to the wine, when fermentation was stopped and how to bottle it, how long to leave  it before gently turning the bottles to stop the sediment from dropping to the bottom.  But most important how and when to turn the bottles on their heads and remove this sediment.

The young man came back to earth with a start as he heard his name being called, looking up he saw running towards him the love of his life, a young pretty girl who had stolen his heart one day he would marry her but first he had to make wine. She reached him a smile on her face excitement in her eyes and slightly out of breath she said “St Galdric was here he was at your father’s Celler everyone is talking about it.” She stopped for breath then looked slightly puzzled. “You are not interested?” she asked ‘Oh I am but I have just been talking with him, I will make the ‘Golden Crown’, at least that is what he told me.” he finished.  The girl stared at him “How? Who will help you? Your brothers?” “No” he said slowly, “You will!”  “Me!” she replied a little taken aback “Yes, if you will marry me” was his answer not the one she had expected but the one question she had hoped to hear…..

After they had married the young man worked even harder at learning his trade, but something was missing, then he remembered his promise to St Galdric.  Going to his father he asked for his grandfathers old Celler and house so he could make the ‘Golden Crown’.  At first his father was a little reluctant but eventually he agreed and the young couple moved their little family out of the large house and Celler of his father and into their very own home and Celler.   The work was hard, and backbreaking, long hours clearing and cleaning the caves, next building the Celler and whilst all this was going on there were the vines and fields to tend.  The young man worked very hard preserving his grandfathers machinery to show how it was done all those years ago. They worked hard together and one day when the young man had things as he wanted Saint Galdric appeared.  He wandered over the Celler looked in the caves and gave his seal of approval, then he asked to taste the first bottle of Cava the young man had produced.  This was fetched and placed on the table in front of the Saint who picked it up turned it towards the light and sighed, this was perfect.  Handing it back he asked the young man to open the bottle and pour two glasses.  As this was being done the young man’s son and wife arrived just in time to see forming at the top of the glasses the Golden Crown of Cava.  All his dreams hopes and longing had become reality he had made the Golden Crown.  Tears of joy and pride ran down his face he did not need to speak St Galdric could see the gratitude in his very being.  The old Saint smiled and prepared to leave all I ask is that you guard the secret well.

The young man never forgot and at Christmas at a table laid for Christmas dinner with family and friends the young man would raise his glass and drink his Cava to St Galdric and watch as the Golden Crown glowed at the top is their glasses.  What he did not see was the happy contented smiling face of the Saint peering in at the window before he turned to wander in search of others he could help.  However, one Christmas this changed slightly, the young man was older now his son was grown up as was his daughter. He was crossing the garden from the Celler when he saw standing by the gate Saint Galdric.  The saint watched him as he approached and asked the Saint  how he was before inviting him in to join his family for Christmas dinner.  “Thank you but no, my work here is done. But there is one thing I need from you.” “Anything St Galdric what can I do?”  “Tell me your name. I cannot keep calling you young man” the Saint smiled.  “It’s Josep”  Josep said.  The Saint nodded then said “Thank you Josep for keeping the faith and the ‘Golden Crown’. Your Cava will become well-known and your hard work rewarded. Do not worry about the future your son has your passion and will continue.”  As he said these words St Galdric slowly began to fade away the last thing Josep saw was the gentle smile.

He walked back into the house but at the door he turned Merry Christmas St Galdric you are welcome here anytime.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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I have been wanting to write about Cava for a long time now, but I was looking for something special, that magical touch, that feeling I cannot put into words but is most definitely there.  I was beginning to think that unlike the Cellers I have written about  it did not exist, until, that is, Josep M Ferret Guasch invited me to visit his Celler and see how he made his Cava.

So one wintry Wednesday afternoon found my wife and I driving to the Penedes region.  It is here in the foothills of the Pyrenees and bordered by the mystical Montserrat mountains to the northeast that Cava is produced.  We have passed by on our way to Barcelona but never ventured into the region until now.  At Villafranca we turned north and headed into the gently rolling plain, covered by vines now wearing their autumn colours basking in the last rays of autumn sun. Dotted here and there were pretty well-kept houses, each a producer of wine and Cava.   As we drove along the country road, we saw signs indicating various Cellers, some with old traditional presses on the road side letting you know they made wine.  In this relaxed way we drove on through two small towns savouring the sights untill we saw the sign we wanted and turned right.

We did not have far to drive, up a little hill, along a small road and there was the Celler facing us.  I parked the car and we looked around.  Here was a peaceful scene, houses set back in vineyards, the sun casting a wintry golden glow over everything, and joy of joys here was that feeling again.  We walked round to the entrance and rang the bell. Suddenly a big shaggy head appeared gave a deep woof then looked towards the office, from which a lady appeared and let us in once she had put ‘woof ‘ in his kennel, I do like dogs.

We were made welcome and shown into the courtyard first so my wife could take photographs. Whilst we were doing this and admiring the Celler and house our greeter left us to inform Josep we had arrived.  On her return we were taken into the reception where there is a large brazier with tables and chairs plus a small bar. On the walls are various pictures. One is of the Saint for Catalan farmers, another is a wall hanging from Japan. Josep is proud of this, Japan is one of the countries that buy’s his Cava.

Josep’s family began making wine in 1907, when his grandfather opened his small Celler.  In those days everything was done by hand and gravity, making for backbreaking work.

Then the grapes were brought to the hopper and fed into it by hand then two men turned the wheels crushing the grapes. Next they were placed into the large presses to get the maximum juice which then ran out of the press into channels and down to the vats below, more hard work.

In 1941 his father opened his own Celler and began to make wine and Cava. Here Josep worked and learnt his trade, but being the man he is he wanted to make his own label so in 1997 his took over his grandfather’s Celler and so began a labour of love.

When Josep first started out with his wife and two young children he was using the original equipment his grandfather used.  Everything was done by hand and gravity, it was backbreaking, but Josep held to his vision.  He worked hard transforming a vast vault of a Celler into two stories above the caves where the Cava matures.  On the ground floor you find the modern bottling plant.

Here just before it’s final corking the Cava is placed into an ‘ice ring’, here the neck is frozen then the bottles are placed on a belt that takes them to a uncapping machine. This first removes the metal cap then the sediment is drawn out, the bottle then moves to the next procedure where it is topped up with Cava from another bottle. After this comes the cork, wire cap then finally metal cover is added, once this is done the bottles are set to age.  You will note, that unlike Champagne, at no time is extra sugar added the grapes are sweet enough not to need it.

We also find the small caves which are named after his son and daughter each containing racks of Cava  several rows deep.  To make the Celler workable Josep placed begers across the celler  filled them with pots (concrete beams infilled with terracotta ‘pots’ typical way of building) creating a ceiling downstairs and useable floor space upstairs. Up here he has lovingly preserved the original presses and crusher of which he is very proud and you can also see the date that his grandfather began making wine. There is also a tasting room and storage area here.

Then it was back down stairs into the caves themselves.  Here Josep showed us the bottling machine where he bottles both his wines and Cava.  This machine is cleansed twice with hot water before it is used for bottling so that everything is sterile. Only when this is done will the wine be pumped down then he begins his work.

After the Cava has been bottled it is taken through to the caves to begin it’s maturing, depending on the type of Cava he is making the time will vary from between 9 to 33 weeks.  Here the bottles are checked and turned to prevent the sediment from settling and encourage it to gravitate towards the neck.  If you hold the wine to the light you can see the sediment as a musty line. These days Josep uses a machine that gently turns the bottles from horizontle to neck down thus ensuring the sediment is in the neck ready to be disposed of.

In the sample room are bottles in racks or lying on the table and Josep can tell you exactly which part of the cave holds the twin of a particular bottle. Beside this Josep has a small blending lab where he blends his Cava and wine to perfection.

We have just visited the final stages but now we are going to the beginning.  This is a small Celler producing high quality wines and Cava, so I was not surprised to see the same compact machinery that I have seen before.


Here you will find the vat where the yeast is added, this is left for around 24hrs then the process is stopped after this the wine is placed into vats to ferment.

In the room behind this one is the automated de-stalker and squeezed – this is most important – not pressed. This operation is run by a pump which when the pipes are connected takes the juice from there to the vats.

All this Josep has done on his own. The building, the blending everything, a true labour of love and a real feel for quality, no factory production here, just plain tradition with a dedication to quality. His son now works with him as well as his wife, and on Saturday’s his daughter holds classes in the reception, this really is a family business. Yes Josep has a small Celler but from it comes quality Cava, no large-scale manufacturing here, just wonderful, lovingly made good quality Cava.

As the wines and Cava’s here are of high quality, you will not find them in supermarkets, this is the Cava you place on the table at festive times or for parties when you want to ensure your guests are drinking something special. The Japanese like quality and know a good Cava when they taste it.  The first Cava Josep produced he called:

Grand RVA Brut Nature  VALLDEFERRET  it is a blending of both surnames of his wife’s family and his. Such romance.

The grapes used to make this excellent Cava are Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Parellada, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This results in a soft golden wine where the bubbles rise to a crown.  The Bouquet is of light summer fruit with a hint of sweet spices.  The Taste: It has a light creamy taste with lingering aftertaste, bring memories of warm fires and good friends. This Cava spends 90 months aging.

Next comes Grande Reserve Brut Nature Sara  this Cava is named after his daughter.

The grapes used for this are: Xarel-lo, Parellada, Chardonnay and Macabeo, giving this wine a pale straw colour with just a hint of a green tone the bubbles are small and again form a small crown. The Bouquet there are tones of apple and pear with a hidden hint of flowers.  The Taste: Although this is a long aging wine – 48 months – it is fresh and light the Chardonnay giving it that something special.

Next is Brut Nature Grand Reserve

The grapes used here are  Xarel-lo, Parellada and Macabeo, giving once again a gentle straw colour with a greenish tint with bubbles forming a small crown.  The Bouquet: A gentle fruity aroma.  The Taste: Light and fresh with a gentle floral taste.  This one we drank one evening it lifted us back to the summer a perfect sipping Cava.

Now comes Brut Nature Reserve

The grapes for this are Xarel-lo, Parellada and Macabeo this wine has a light greenish colour fresh and clear.  The Bouquet: It is persistent light and slightly fruity.  The Taste: Fresh and young very much a super Cava after 30 months aging.

Finally Brut Nature Rose Grand Reserve

This is a spectacular Pink Cava. A beautiful pinky reddish colour with bubbles in abundance, that when they form the crown look classic.  The grapes used to produce this gem are Pinot Noir, Garnatxa and Trepat. The Bouquet:  You can smell the grapes here whilst there is a hint of age. The Taste: it’s fresh with a red currant lean plus persistent bubbles. It is aged for 36 months.

Well there you are, some of the most special Cavas I have tried.  I have to say that given the choice between champagne and Josep M Ferret Guasch Cava there is no contest this Cava would win every time. Try them contact Josep M Ferret Guasch on: ferretguasch@ferretguasch.com or visit www.ferretguasch.com  and enjoy A Cava Of Passion.

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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“Once upon a time in a monastery vineyard far far away, the monks were looking rather dour.  They had been producing wine for many many years, good wine, but always they felt something was missing what they did not know.  Until one day Brother Rene returned from a pilgrimage and told them how he had been overcome and a monastery in Catalunya  just the other side of the Pyrenees had taken him in and made him well. Brother Rene then 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, well that’s how he felt.

The wine makers pho-hoed him but Brother Rene insisted 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  killed.  Then one day they were seen approaching the monastery gate riding a cart with what looked like grapevines in it.  Well the vintner monks were so happy to see they were alive that at first they didn’t ask about the cart, but eventually they did.

The Brothers took from their cart a carefully wrapped book and some flagons.  This book contained instructions on how to make CAVA and which grapes were best to use.  They then removed the flagons which contained some very nice wine – which disappointed the other monks as they wanted to try this CAVA – but there were no bottles of Brother Rene’s rejuvenating CAVA.  The two Brothers then explained that no matter how hard they tried they could not get the bottles to travel as every bump in the road shook them and they burst. However all was not lost,  the monastery had kindly given the Brothers some of the vines so the monks planted them and waited for them to grow.

Well the monks tried out the recipe following the instructions and sure enough they had CAVA.  One day whilst enjoying their wine a monk asked why it was called CAVA.  Brother Rene said that although it was made in Catalunya it was actually made in the Cava region so the monastery had decreed that should be its name. This news was a little disconcerting after all 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 Champagne…..”

I was told this story by someone, whether it is true or not I cannot say, but I like to think it is. 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 his love for his product was not only audible but tangible you could see and feel it. Here was a man who produced a wonderful wine, I again had the same feeling that has followed me through all my visits to the Cellers of Catalunia. Hardworking vintner’s, with a good knowledge of wine, happy but throughly 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 Frexinet cheaply, 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 it’s 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 anything added, 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, untill now, this last visit is just superb…

The article will be out soon so make a note of the contact number and try some quality Cava……

(c)  Michael Douglas Bosc

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The 23rd of June is San Juan and heralds the beginning of summer here in Catalunia, so celebrations are in order.  The petanca club were no exception, so a meal and dancing plus of course games of petanca were the order of the night.  This system of summer beginning on the 23rd of June and ending in September just before the children go back to school, is really accurate, honestly, but how they have worked this out I have no idea. So a night-time party fitted the bill, no, I did not take the camera, a mistake as you will hear, this was our night of relaxation with our friends.

We arrived around 9pm to find tables and chairs set out on some of the courts, being next to the river, it made it very mediterranean, with lights  strung up and music playing.  The food provided was typical Catalan with plenty of wine, water and Cava on the table.  Set out whilst we waited for the starter were plates of black olives, crisps with jugs of red wine and bottles of water.

The starter was sliced tomatoes with bacalao (salted fish) rice and sliced olives, covered with a salsa of vinegar and oliver oil,  plus a salad, very tasty.  Then came a wait for the main meal, which was cooked by our Chef at his patisserie and brought to the courts.  Chicken cooked with thin slices of potatoes, green beans, peppers and tomatoes, served with bread, delicious, and yes I ate too much.  With this came the Cava, bottles placed on the tables, so along with the red wine there was plenty to wash it all down.

However, they had not finished.  When we had cleared away the plates and bones (paper plates no washing up) water melon was brought round. Then came the Coca de San Juan, this was a cake of light spunge cake on a pastry base filled with custard, made by our Chef in his shop,  washed down with coffee and whisky.  In between the courses we danced and enjoyed ourselves, one of our friends let off fireworks then after the meal I played petanca whilst my wife joined the other wives and got some lessons in Spanish, wonderful people.

But it was on the way home around 2am that we had one of our special treats.  Driving along the river road, we came round a curve and there in front of us were 3 badgers, a mother and two young,  just leaving the river.  Now they are not bothered by much,  but car lights do make them bimble along looking for somewhere to leave it and escape the lights. These were no exception, the mother and one young left the road first but the other youngster kept going, so we followed slowly watching these lovely animals.  As I said the one time we did not have the camera….

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