The Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé Cava is a blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay sourced from estate vineyards near the town of Lleida in the Cava D.O. of northeast Spain (near Barcelona). A typical Cava uses the three indigenous grapes, Macabeo, Xarello, and Parelada, but since this is a Rose’ and Red grapes skins are needed to get the pink coloration so traditional Champagne grapes are substituted.
The Cordorniu company has a great tradition. They are the oldest company in Spain and the 17th oldest company in the world. They have been in business for over 500 years and they are the first winery to produce Cava in 1872. Cava is produced with the same techniques used in Champagne, France. The second fermentation (where the bubbles are formed) occurs inside each bottle. In Champagne second fermentation has to last a minimum of 18 months, with Cava the second fermentation lasts a minimum of 12 months.
The Cordorniu family started the winery as early as 1551 and in 1659 Anna de Codorniu married Miquel Raventós. And in 1872 it was Josep Raventós who pioneered Cava, so there is a lot of history and knowledge behind this $11 (on sale) Spanish Bubbly.
While the Cava D.O. borders on the Mediterranean Ocean the Codorniu vineyards for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are more inland section. The grapes are always harvested at night when the weather is cooler and the grapes are relaxing. If you want to know where the pink color comes from the skins of the Pinot Noir grapes are left with the crushed grapes juice for 3 to 4 hours. Then the skins are removed and the first fermentation begins.
What is the difference between Champagne and Cava? The climate is an obvious difference, Champagne is much farther north in France, the climate there is cool or cold enough that grapes growing to produce still wines (no Bubbles) frequently didn’t get ripe enough to be useable. Sparkling wine grapes are picked earlier than still wine grapes, so they suit Champagne’s climate. In the Cava region, it is warmer so the growing season is shorter. So the climate makes a difference.
Champagne ages their Sparkling wine (second fermentation) much longer, on average than Cava wines typically are aged. The Bubbly with extended aging is the Bubbly that is of the most interest and demands the highest prices. There are Cava’s that have very long aging, 3,4 years or more, but they are usually small production wines and not that common. Bubbly aged a shorter period of time tend to be crisp and with a long time can get creamy.
The internal pressure from the carbonation (atmospheres) is greater with Champagne wines, it is one of Champagne’s unique features. There is typically less pressure inside a Cava bottle, though you may not notice unless you pop the top on a Champagne and a Cava side by side.
The 3 traditional Cava White grapes will taste different than Champagne Chardonnay grapes. There is a noticeable flavor difference between the two Sparkling wines. But with the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay used in the Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé Cava, a comparison of flavors is possible. This Cava is 25% less expensive than entry-level Champagne, is Champagne four times better, let’s find out.
Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé Cava Tasting Notes
The color is a salmon pink and there are plenty of bubbles. The nose is tart cherry, pink lemonade, stone fruit, soft spice, and a touch of crusty bakery bread. This is a dry, crisp Sparkling wine with flavor. It starts with ripe strawberry, lemon/lime (not sweet), tart cherry, and a salty sensation. The mid-palate offers a slap of minerality, dried strawberry bits, and lime. The acidity is really good, it is the type of acidity in the wine that lets the flavors unfold and also gets you reaching for another sip. The finish is fairly full and lengthy.
- I said, is Champagne four times better than the Anna de Codorníu Brut Rosé Cava and that was kind of a trick question. This is Cava and Champagne is Champagne, they are both different and in some ways the same.
- Good Cava is delicious and this is good Cava. Of course, Champagne is not 4 times better, how do you put a number on pleasure and drinking good Bubbly, no matter where it comes from, is one of life’s pleasures.
- Value-priced delicious Bubbly is a very good thing.