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In Search of Cavas Found in Stone

Our search for Cavas continues. Last evening we visited Cuscó I Berga winery in the village Les Gunyoles d’Avinyonet. We met twin brothers Joan and Lluis Cuscó. We toured the vineyard, about a 20 minute drive from the winery. Once we arrived at the vineyard, we had a bumpy ride to our first stop, a vineyard that had grapes still on the vines. This vineyard was slated to be pulled out and replanted for next year. The leaves had already fallen from the vines even though fruit was in abundance. After tasting a few grapes, our host took several grapes from different parts of the vineyard and gently crushed them in a cup. He then put a few drops on a refractrometer.

A tour of the vineyard including a pruning demonstration.

A tour of the vineyard including a pruning demonstration.

A refractrometer is a small hand held tool that gives a reading of the amount of sugar in the grapes and thus the potential alcohol. This refractrometer differed from the one I have at home in its scale. Mine uses degree Brix for a scale while the one used in the vineyard used Baume. The reading was 7.0. This converts to a Brix reading of 21.6. Although these grapes were not going to made into wine, if they were, the alcohol would be near 12.0%

After the refractrometer reading, our group went to another vineyard where we had a demonstration of how the vines would be pruned for the next year. Pruning generally takes place in February and March.

After pruning we drove to a vineyard where there was a stone hut for a surprise. I had seen a stone hut in another vineyard that we drove past the previous day. In Catalonia, field stones were piled on top of each other creating a half-hemisphere. The stones were held in place by the weight of the stones on top of it. The stone huts were used by vineyard workers for shelter from weather. If a vineyard worker was working until late and could not make it home, they could spend the night in one of these stone huts.

Hut made entirely of stones.

Hut made entirely of stones.

Enjoying Cava in a stone hut located in a vineyard

Enjoying Cava in a stone hut located in a vineyard

After a moment of preparation, we entered the stone shelter and sat on the ground around the circumference. A single lantern in the center provided some light. Two bottles of Cava were opened and shard by our group of ten people. It was quite an experience. Having wine in a vineyard is a gentle reminder that wine is started in the vineyard. Drinking Cava in a stone hut is a gentle reminder that wine has its ultimate beginning in earth. The stones were from the earth and there was an earthy ground odor in the hut.

The Cava in the stone hut was a Brut Nature Reserva Eco. It was a blend of Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada with 11.5% alcohol. The sparkling wine was fresh contrasting nicely with the earthy atmosphere of the stone hut. Later that evening we returned to the winery for a dinner prepared by the wife of the third brother Jordi Cuscó. The dinner’s main course was fideua, a seafood vermicelli paella. This paired with three other Cavas.

Of all the places to have Cava, a stone hut was never on my radar. However it was a memorable place to share this sparkling wine with friends.






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