Valentine’s Day has rolled around once more, and behold a barrage of pink hearts, cringey cards, cringier social media posts, and sweet nothings whispered with all the conviction of a cliche. Also called St Valentine’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Valentine, all around the world loved-up sweethearts will be exchanging boxes of chocolates, cards, teddy bears, bespoke photo albums, questionable poems, and maybe even putting a ring on it. A better suggestion? Whether you’re celebrating a relationship, toasting the future, or simply celebrating your ability to elude the constrains of monogamy and live the best solo life, do it with something fizzy, like Vilarnau Brut Reserva Rosé Cava from Tesco. Not only is it a vegan-friendly Cava, it’s also organic, and made in vineyards committed to sustainable viticulture.
It’s pink, to keep in line with the V-day rules, and has a pretty eye-catching bottle design that will look rather handsome as a flower vase later. It’s inspired by Trencadis, a style of mosaic art close to bricolage, where irregular bits of materials intended for other uses (like broken ceramic tiles, terracotta pots, china cups) are used to create a work of art.
It’s very apparent in Barcelona, particuarly Park Güell and the very famous Sagrada Família church. And, as Vilarnau website declares, their proximity (geographically and spiritually) to Barcelona is the reason why they have Trencardis edition bottle designs for their Brut, and Brut Rosé Cava. They’re beautiful, and with the history lesson, even more so.
So, what better way to serve it, then, than in mosaic champagne flutes?
Flavours and Food Pairings for this Vegan Cava
Good Rosé sparkling wines made using the traditional method have a touch of sweetness, but still retain the iconic acidity and biscuity notes we expect from the likes of Champagne, Cava, and Crémant. Although this particular Rosé Cava isn’t expensive – £12 from Tesco – it’s good, with flavours of crab apple, red currants, and blackberry. Sweet, but not too sweet. It has a friendly, aromatic nose of rose and violets, a creamy mouthfeel, and holds on to its fizz after opening. Delicate, but with some body to it – just like you’d expect from Champagne.
Cost-wise, £12 was ideal for a romantic toast over brunch. I’ve had my doubts about Cava previously, but this has opened my mind a little. There are lot of factors that explain why the overall price point of Cava is lower than that of Champagne- such as growing difficult, price of land, and prestige. It’s a good Cava, and loved-up couples looking for a vegan-friendly sparkling wine for Valentine’s Day brunch should pay it heed.
One of the best things about rosé wine is that is pretty much pairs with anything. The bubbles of a Cava meant that there was also a textural dimension to play with – and it contrasted well with the softness of fluffy vegan banana pancakes. Later, the sweetness of the red fruit and the creamy mousse softened the heat of Red Thai ‘Chicken’ Curry. From summer salads to vegan seafood, you’ll find there’s very little plant-based food rosé doesn’t get along with- making it a perfect choice for Valentine’s Day, the summer, the festive holidays, weddings, and pretty much any other occasion – special or everyday- that you can imagine.
Of course, it’s equally delicious on it’s own – and makes for good toasting material. For a good quality sparkling wine from a supermarket that doesn’t break the bank, I would recommend this one.
Important note: The Tesco website has this labelled as vegetarian – but the website for the winery itself declares vegan. The Vilarnau website has an information sheet that confirms this, as well as a some technical information on the wine. It also recommends creamy desserts as a pairing for this wine.
Creamy silken tofu pudding would be a brilliant pairing for a fresh, smooth and sweet pink sparking wine.
I would recommend:
- banana, coconut caramel and hazelnut (tried and tested this one!)
- vanilla and strawberry chia seed jam (very apt for Valentine’s Day)
Cava does have a bit of a poor reputation. Up against Prosecco and Champagne, it flounders in the British wine market. But, done well, good-quality Cavas can rival Champagnes in price and taste, and turf out the cheaper Proseccos in terms of flavour.
For starters, this Spanish sparkling wine is made in the Penedès wine region south-west of Barcelona; not only is it easier to grow organic here, it’s hot and dry, as opposed to the coolor climates of Champagne, Prosecco, and English sparkling wine. The result is that these wines typically don’t require dosage like Champagnes, and need less aging to produce dry versatile wines that pair well with food.
It’s made in the same way as Champagne – the traditional method – using Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo grape varieties. Champagne grapes – Chardonnay or, as is this case here, Pinot Noir – can be used, to mimic the world-renowned French sparkling wine. For pink Cava, red grapes (Garnacha, Monastrell and Trepat) would be used. The Vilarnau Brut Rosé is made from 15%, 85% Pinot Noir.
Pay £10-£20 for Cava, and chances are you’ll pick up a very good one. Whilst this price is above Prosecco, it’s well below what you would need to invest in Champagne. When consider the production making, and the deeper complexity traditional method sparkling wines offer, it’s an easy choice in some respects.
Hopefully, you had an enjoyable Valentine’s Day this year! What did you celebrate with?