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Lively, sparkly, exuperant, well developed, creamy, savory, dedicated, cultivated, delicious and classic is cava at its best. Same expressions can be used with Marta Guilera, who represents fourth generation within Cava Guilera in Penedes in Spain. When Marta came to work with her father Pere Guilera in the winery she took the responsibility for winetourism and has developed and broadened it with great passion and open-minded touch.
In wine cellar Marta Guilera shows the essence of the cava, yeast sediments in a wine. Wine is cold stabilized in washbacks. Then, yeasts and the liqueur de tirage (sugar) are added to the wine to start second fermentation. Wine is bottled and bottles are sealed with a bottle shutter and a crown cork, and sent undergroudcellar. Bottles are placed neck down in special racks, where second (alcoholic) fermentation takes place. Then sugar transforms into carbonic gas and alcohol. Cava ages slowly – with the lees, and the carbon dioxide and wine molecules get progressively integrated. In parallel, yeast autolysis releases the precursors of aromas that will contribute to form the special bouquet.
Bottles are placed on the shaking racks. Each day the bottle is turned a little. With this remuage, riddling the bottles on pupitree bench, the lees of cava wine concentrates in the bottleneck. This process may last from a few weeks to a month.
When remuage is complete, all of the yeast is on the cork. Long maturation in dark, cool and humid conditions generates through autolyse a great cava, rich in nuances. In Cava Guilera they put focus on time; time to grow, to mature and to naturally develop its intrinsic properties.
After remuage follows the corking with familiar mushroomshape cork and muselet (wire with cage).
Pere Guilera is the owner, oenologist and grower of Cava Guilera. He tells that Cava Guilera is a small familiar business, specialized in making handmade ageing cavas. They have limited homemade production: 30,000 bottles per year, each and every one of which goes through Pere Guilera’s hands: it may be during the tirage, or during the daily eighth of a turn to the shaking racks; it may be during disgorging, washing or labelling.
Pere Guilera outlines their philosophy accordingly ”Our passion for what we do and a real will to offer a quality product and service to our friends and clients, who have led us to reach such willingness. Our work is our life to a large extent and what we do is an expression of who we are. The thing is that the main motivation for a self-employed person is to make things the way he/she believes things must be done, learning to manage freedom in a responsible way and trying to bring something positive to society.”
Via enotourism Cava Guilera has opened their vineyards and winery to people, who wants to know more about wines and cavas. The owners hope that their economic project that can also be a philosophy, a new way to understand life. More respectful and sustainable, more imaginative, and in consequence, more responsive. In short, more sensible.
Cava Guilera has a collection of more than 25 grape varieties in their vineyard. Some of them are indigenous grapes of Penedes and Spain, like Verdiell. That grape was rapidly disappearing – in the mid-90s less than 10 hectares remained. The Verdil grape is much like the Verdejo and produces full-bodied, strong acidity, medium alcohol content wine featuring tropical fruits, ripe peaches and notable minerality. Verdil is grown in south-eastern Spain and mostly used in Yecla and Valencia.
Cava Guileras enotourism involves at least one must! When having the great harvest party they go with the visitors to the vineyard, will pick some grapes and make the harvest like in former times, treading on the grapes. Naturally tasting of premium cavas and having traditional breakfast among the vineyards.
Glass of wine:
Cava Guilera Brut Nature Reserva, containing 50% Xarel·lo, 40% Macabeo, 10% Parellada. Sugar 0 g/l.
Rusty yellow colour with shades of green; very delicate aroma and acidity deeply pleasant to the palate;
the final result is fresh and balanced, with fine and persistent froth, and well integrated carbon dioxide.
Cava Guilera Brut Gran Reserva, vintage 2008, blending: xarel·lo, macabeu and parellada. Aging 6 years.
Pale colour with shades of gold; long and mild aftertaste, mature fruit flavour, apple flavour, toasted and cinnamon flavours. Strong character but mild to the palate, fine and persistent fizz, very well integrated.
Cava Guilera Brut Rosé Reserva, vintage 2011, blending: Garnatxa and Pinot Noir. Aging 24 months.
Strawberry-pink color, a fresh and smart cava, vivid and deep, with red fruit taste and aromas.
Text and photos: Heikki Remes