Categories
Virgin Bubbles

Miguel Torres Natureo 0.0

Bubbly’s take…

The Natureo is another, increasingly mainstream, de-alcoholised red wine. This one hails from Spain and is a blend produced from Garnacha and Syrah grapes. One thing we noticed is that the Natureo has a somewhat spicy and festival – think mulled wine – flavour. This sort of makes sense given the label mentions its matured in French oak (!).

We think the Miguel Torres winery has done a good job with this one. As virgin wines go, it is flavoursome, bringing a full spectrum of berry flavours to the palate. In other words and in contrast to other alcohol-free wines, it definitely does not greet you like a glass of bland grape juice. It has depth, with some smoky characteristics, likely a benefit of the combination of two grapes and barrel-based production.

Would go well with…

Red meats, pasta… lasagne anyone? Seriously though, we think the Natureo is suitable for most meals, particularly for mid-week evenings or a lighter weekend. It also pairs well with Netflix, Prime and Disney+, making for a great night in.

Where to buy…

Waitrose

Categories
Incredible Cavas

Franck Massard Mas Sardana Cava Brut Nature

Bubbly’s take…

There’s a well-rehearsed belief that sparkling wine can ‘go to your head’ or bring on a ‘terrible headache’. We won’t disagree – there’s some cheap stuff out there afterall. However, there are also some great new entrants to the well-celebrated and increasingly popular Cava market.

Franck Massard is an inspiring wine producer, who pivoted to viticulture in 2004 after a career as a sommelier – the first incarnation of the Mas Sardana was bottled in 2011. As you’ll see, his work doesn’t stop with wine, also managing an in-house olive oil franchise.

We thought the Mas Sardana was a little different from first sip. Though a wholesome and dry Cava, we found it to be a softer and lighter than its peers. It’s a great choice to those less initiated to the world of Cava or a trifle worried about feeling fragile the next morning. That said, this is by no means an enfeebled wine. The Mas Sardana still brings a full blossom of fruit to the palate, accented by a delicate aftertaste, which speaks to its Catalonian heritage.

Would go well with…

We tried this Cava solo though that’s not to say it would not make a good mealtime companion. We think this would pair well with a seafood dish – perhaps lemon sole or scallops.

Where to buy…

Naked Wines

Categories
Incredible Cavas

Vilarnau Rosé Brut Cava

Bubbly’s take…

What a lovely sparkling rosé! Made by the esteemed Vilarnau house, this is a very floral Cava. If you are looking for a rosé Cava that has a fruity bouquet then this is the one for you. It comes out of the bottle with a pleasant shade of rose gold and brings a cocktail of flavours – reminiscent of summer berries – to the palate. We found the Vilarnau Rosé a pleasure to enjoy at a very reasonable price!

Would go well with…

Mild cheeses or dessert. That being said, we loved the flavour of this Cava so we think it works perfectly well by itself. We also think this is a great wine to share with friends, family or even just a beatiful (rosé) sunset.

Where to buy

Tesco

The Drink Shop (‘delicate’ version – not reviewed)

Categories
Incredible Cavas

Castillo Perelada Stars Brut Nature Reserva

Bubbly’s take…

We stumbled upon this one mainly because we were quite taken with its starry label and a timeless quote by Dom Pérignon. Yet there’s a lot more to the Perelada house than glitzy labels; this winery has been producing in Catalonia, Spain since medieval times – think of a turreted castle, complete with a moat and swans. Perelada make a variety of wines though, in this auspicious Cava, we found plenty of character and depth. The Stars Brut is a refreshing yet smoky sparkling. This Cava is assuredly crisp and charming but also possesses an evocative flavour that speaks to Perelada’s esteemed wine-making tradition.

Would go well with…

A heart paella. Great Cava like this can, of course, be enjoyed solo or as an apéritif. However, to make the most of this enchanting wine, we think the Stars Brut deserves a fitting Spanish feast complete with candlelight and the Gipsy Kings.

Where to buy…

The Drink Shop

Categories
Brassy Red Wines

Fauno (Spain)

Bubbly’s take…

The Fauno is made by the Valencia-based Murviedro winery, which produces a range of red and white low alcohol, vegan and low calorie wines (amongst the usual strength brew!). This particular varietal is made from a blend of Garnacha, Shiraz and Monastrell grapes hence it evokes potent and fruity flavours. While the Fauno is a full-bodied wine, it is promoted for its lower calorie and sugar content. Don’t worry though – this red wine is full of flavour and character.

Would go well with…

We enjoyed this with dinner – tuna steaks for yours truly (being a pescatarian) and fillet steaks with peppercorn sauce for the others. We think the Fauno makes for a sublime pairing with heartier or meat-based dishes, which demand a robust wine to moderate heavier ingredients.

Where to buy…

Skinny Booze

Categories
Sassy White Wines

Carlos Rodrigues Albarino (Spain)

Bubbly’s take…

This one is another fine find from Naked Wines and one we’re very happy to award the Ten of Diamonds to. This is quite a demure wine but it is certainly refreshing and well-rounded. The Albarino also has good depth of flavour, with a fruity undercurrent. We also found traces of apples so we think this one would be a great choice for lovers of drier white wines. In summary, we think this is a really pleasant Spanish wine and we hope to enjoy this again soon.

Would go well with…

We confess that we had this with a Tex-Mex dinner, which is testimony to the Albarino’s versatility. We’d like to think this would match southern European cuisine, particularly fish- or seafood-based dishes. Equally, we wouldn’t hesitate to enjoy this wine all by itself.

Where to buy…

Naked Wines

Categories
Virgin Bubbles

Torres Natureo De-alcoholised Muscat (Spain)

Bubbly’s take…

We heard that the Natureo was the very first de-alcoholised wine to hit the supermarket shelves in Spain. For a virgin wine, we certainly think this one has surprising depth of flavour. It possesses rounded, lush and fruity notes to keep the palate entertained. This wine also possesses a beautiful colour and a robust bouquet hence we think the Natureo Muscant is a great choice if you’re after something that looks, smells and tastes like the real deal.

Would go well with…

Definitely food. This wine is quite versatile and we think it would pair well with most Mediterranean dishes. It’s one of those reliable wines that you can use as both an ingredient and an accompaniment. We enjoyed the Natureo when we made some scrumptous goats cheese and courgette fusilli (thanks to Mildreds (London) for the recipe!):

Where to buy…

Waitrose Cellar

Categories
Virgin Bubbles

Freixenet Alcohol-free Sparkling

Bubbly’s take: Marketed as an “alcohol-free” wine, Freixenet sell this under a o.o.% volume label. Unlike many other wines in its peer group, which are frequently de-alcoholised to 0.5%, Freixenet’s alternative may be well-suited to anyone who wants a teetotal night. While very light and delicate to the palate, this quality wine blossoms with the scent and taste of fresh melon and grape.

Would go well with: Fresh fish or chicken cooked with a light seasoning or sauce, pairing well with lemon, lime or mild cheese. Freixenet have, however, created a refreshing versatile drink, which would also accompany a light desert (of sorbet or ice-cream), cheese or canapés provided these are not too overpowering. Alternatively, afternoon, evening or at night, this makes for a great wine to enjoy on its own.

Where to buy:

Categories
Incredible Cavas

Contevedo Edición Orgánica Cava Brut

Bubbly’s take

Extremely well-priced and marketed as an organic Cava, it is hard to fault this sparkling at first blush. Out of the bottle, this wine has an enticing shade of citrus and some solid effervescence. It brings a dry, refreshing and zesty taste to the palate. This is a versatile Cava and one we’ve enjoyed both casually and at meal times.

Would go well with…

Most things. Try it with food, and try it with friends or family. But also try it by yourself and on its own. We found this to be both a social and solitary Cava, suitable whatever the mood and the occasion.

Where to buy

Aldi

Categories
Incredible Cavas

Freixenet Cordon Negro Gran Selección Cava

Bubbly’s take

In our view, Freixenet represent one of the most successful Cava franchises. By successful, we mean Freixenet have combined their well-established wine-making tradition with a forward-looking and entrepreneurial approach to yield some of the most accessible and acclaimed Cavas. With over 100 years’ of experience in the viticulture business, the Freixenet dynasty is celebrated throughout the world and known to account for around 80% of Spain’s Cava exports.

We hope to add some more reviews of the Freixenet collection in the near future but we thought we would start with the iconic Gran Selección Cava. This quintessentially dry Cava entered the sparkling wine market back in the 1970s, with its characteristic frosted-black bottle. Both the wine and the bottle, in our opinion, represent a timeless and progressive contribution to the Cava industry.

Would go well with...

Lot’s of things and by itself! We’ve enjoyed the Gran Selección Cava on many occasions (… and whether for an occasion of not). It is a very fitting wine for most Mediterranean dishes but it is perfectly enjoyable without. This proud and punchy Cava brings back warm memories of holidays with friends and family in Spain. That said, more recently, we enjoyed a bottle of this with some homemade pesto polenta lasagna – an excellent fusion of good Spanish wine and wholesome Italian food:

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Where to buy

The Drink Shop