I invite all of you to take a second look at Cava. What is typically considered to be a simple, one-dimensional sparkling wine, Cava at its best can be thrilling wine with seriously good range and terroir. One of the oldest houses in Cava, The Mestres family dates back to 1312 as a wine negotiant and they have owned vineyards in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia since at least 1607. Many years later in 1925 Josep Mestres Manobens made his first sparkling wine by blending indigenous varietals Macabeu, Xarel-lo, and Parellada. Joan Aura serves as cellar master winemaker. They source from their 74 acre estate, which is divided into two plots: Clos Damiana and Clos Nostre Senyor as well as some area vineyards. Their vineyard is set on calcareous clay soils.
A few weeks back I had the opportunity to visit this storied estate. The winery is set in a quaint town, Sadurni d’Antonia, roughly an hour from Barcelona. The region is quite mountainous and it has a very different climate to Barcelona having a considerably lower maritime influence. Mestres give their sparkling wines extended time (18 months to 7 years) on the lees in bottle, which contributes to the complexity of the wines. During our cellar tour we had a chance to see some of their wines that have date back fifty years. Like many of Spain’s most celebrated houses, Mestres prides themselves at aging their wines and releasing them when they find them ready. We were able to see the disgorgement process as well as some bottling while we were there and I was amazed at the attention to detail as the cellar master inspects each individual bottle, regardless of price. They are truly a storied house in sparkling wine.
Their new release wines were seriously good across the board. I was particularly impressed with what they have done with their entry level Cava, the NV Mestres ‘1312’ Sparkling Wine (WWB, 92) which shows serious range and wonderful texture. This is a sinfully good value out of Cava and would make an incredible glass pour for any restaurant specializing in shellfish. The best wine that I tried was the 2004 Mestres ‘Clos Damiana Gran Reserva’ Cava (WWB, 94) which is up there with the best Cava wines that I have ever tried. Musty, earthy and showing insanely good range, this beautiful Cava will cellar well for decades and currently shows insane range. Learn more about this storied winery at http://www.mestres.es/?lang=en Here are the great new wines by Mestres.
NV Mestres ‘1312’ Cava- The NV '1312 Reserva' Cava from Mestres is a fantastic effort. Disgorged in April 2018, the wine is a great blend of Parellada (40%), Macabeo and Xarel-Lo (both 30%). This shows an inviting bouquet with aromas of biscuit, grapefruit blossom and kumquat with a touch of green apple and smoke adding further complexity. The palate shows a beautiful salinity, backed by flavors of gravenstine apple, brioche, and kumquat which all mingle in the glass. Showing nice aging potential, this outstanding Cava will continue to develop over the next decade. Drink 2018-2028- 92
2013 Mestres ‘Couquet Gran Reserva’ Cava- The 2013 Mestres 'Coquet' Gran Reserva is an outstanding effort. This blend of 40% Xarel-Lo, with equal parts Macabeo and Parellada which was disgorged in early 2018. Once in the glass the wine shows a rich light orange tone followed by a bright bouquet of white peach, green apple, brioche and orange zest. I love the intensity of the wine and the silky mouthfeel. Kumquat flavor is quite prominent, with Japanese apple, marzipan and challah bread elements all providing appeal. A complete wine, this has some marvelous aging potential and shows really good salinity and brightness at this juncture. Drink 2018-2028- 92
2011 Mestres ‘Visol Gran Reserva Brut Nature’ Cava- This impressive Cava wine was aged for six months in barrels prior to bottling and was disgorged in February 2018. Green apple, green papaya and nutmeg mark the nose. The palate shows good freshness and verve with kumquat, green papaya and Granny Smith apple flavors. This shows a wonderful mouthfeel and texture with a great saliniity. Bright and intense, this great wine will cellar well over the next decade. Drink 2018-2028- 92
2008 Mestres ‘Clos Nostre Senyor Grand Reserva’ Cava- Sourced from vineyards older than 45 years of age, this was aged for ten months in barrel and then was disgorged in July 2018. The wine starts off with rich aromas of biscuit, Japanese pear and lemon zest. The palate shows a wonderful tension and mouthfeel. Cantaloupe, Challah bread, and bright pear flavors all develop in the glass. The earthy tones with the fruit are highly compelling. This is showing marvelously, finishing with a strong salinity. Drink 2018-2028- 93
2004 Mestres ‘Clos Damiana Gran Reserva’ Cava- Blended with a considerably higher percentage of Xarel-Lo (65%) this wine was sourced from more than 65 year old vines. This was aged for one year in barrels and then was disgorged in December 2017. There is a wonderful mustiness on the nose with strong wild mushroom, biscuit and lemon rind aromatics. The palate is exceedingly rich and viscous showing a beautiful texture and taking on an oily texture. Green apple, honeydew melon, kiwi and lemon zest flavors all beautifully combine. This has considerable verve considering the age of this vintage Cava. While remarkably good right now, this will cellar well over the next decade. Drink 2018-2028- 94
2002 Mestres ‘Mas Via Gran Reserva’ Cava- This ‘Gran Reserva’ Cava saw extended aging for 140 months prior to disgorgement in October 2017. The nose is highly musty and earthy showing peat moss, shiitake mushroom, and Pink Lady apple. The terroir to the wine is quite evident as earthy tones impress both on the nose and the palate. Once in the mouth this wine shows good viscosity and tension with baked apple, peat moss, wild mushroom and marzipan flavors.s The richness and range of this wine shows wonderful refinement. Already nicely evolved, this will cellar well over the next six to eight years. Drink 2018-2025- 94