Name: Cristalino Cava Brut
Grape: 50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada, 15% Xarello
Price: $6.99 to $9.99
If you like Prosecco, odds are you're a Cava fan too, although you may not know it yet.
Cava is Spain's version of Prosecco, a light and easy sparkling wine. Although unlike Prosecco, Cava undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle, the Methode Champenoise style. Like all sparkling wines, Cava comes in a range of sweetness, which can be very confusing. From dry to sweet, the labeling goes in this order: Extra-Brut, Brut, Extra-Seco, Seco, Semi-Seco and Dulce. It's a bit mind bending, one would think that Extra-Seco would be sweeter than Semi-Seco but in fact the opposite is true. Fortunately most of the readily available Cava is Extra-Brut or Brut; just keep your eye out for anything with "seco" on the label.
For this week's pick I have chosen the easily found Cristalino Brut Cava. The Brut style will give it a very slight touch of sweetness, which I think makes it fun and frivolous. It is also medium bodied with crisp, bright, nutty and slightly toasty flavors. A delicious antidote to the summer's sticky heat; serve as an aperitif or the meal wine with light foods.
Stores: Best Cellars $4.50 for 187ml (1291 Lexington between 85th & 86th St), Astor Wines $6.99 (399 Lafayette at 4th Street), Acker & Merrall $6.99 (160 W. 72nd St between Lexington and 3rd Ave.), Zachy's $7.37 (16 E. Parkway, Scarsdale), Sherry-Lehmann $7.95 (679 Madison between 61st and 62nd, Shawn $7.99 (141 7th Ave. @ Garfield, Brooklyn), Chelsea Wine Vault $8.99 (75 9th Avenue @ Hudson), Harlem Vintage $9.99 (2235 Frederick Douglass Blvd. between 120th & 121st St.)