Monday, July 26, 2021

Loving the natural balance of these sparkling wines. Cava and Pét-Nat, from where the birds sing. #equilibrinatural

Loving the natural balance of these sparkling wines. Cava and Pét-Nat, from where the birds sing. #equilibrinatural


Entre Vinyes Funàmbul Brut Nature Reserva 2017,  11.5%, 

€23.50 approx. Manning’s, Ballylickey; Mary Pawle

Fresh and dry, this elegant Cava is one for your shortlist; elegant yes, but full of energy and flavour (apricot and apple) and with amazing balance, all with a mineral note lingering on to the end. The mousse is creamy and smooth. New to the Mary Pawle portfolio, this is pleasure to drink and Very Highly Recommended.

Three varieties,  Xarel·lo, Macabeu and Parellada varieties, are in the blend. The wine has been aged for 24 months. It has been produced by Maria Barrena ( she also makes the Pet-Nat below). She is one of the trio at Azul y Garanza in Navarra (whose wines we feature regularly). They each have a personal project as well and Maria found here in Catalunya, the lure of recuperating Pep’s old vineyards drawing her to the Baix Penedès.

With an average age of 60 years, these vineyards are in the natural environment of Foix, surrounded by oak and pine forest, under a dry climate and on a porous soil (which swallows the water) and limestone, very poor and shallow, with hardly any organic matter. The great biodiversity present creates a unique ecosystem that naturally regulates the balance of the vineyard. Here, working in an artisanal way, Maria has produced some terrific wines including this Cava. #equilibrinatural

Cava info (via

If Cava differs from most sparkling wines in something, it is in the production method. The years and technological advances have made it possible to improve processes, but what has remained unchanged is the essence of caring for the vineyard and quality viticulture in addition to the so-called traditional method, which provides Cava with its main characteristics and one of its secrets of his excellence.

Also called champenoise - due to its French origin - the traditional method is distinguished by carrying out the second fermentation in the bottle, unlike most sparkling wines in the world that use other methods


Entre Vinyes Oníric Pét-Nat 2020, 11.5%, 

RRP €16.60. Regular stockists include Ardkeen Foodstore, Waterford/ Little Green Grocer, Kilkenny/ The Vintry, Dublin/ Toon’s Bridge, Dublin & Cork/ The Connemara Hamper, Clifden/ Mortons of Galway/ URRU, Bandon/  Lettercollum Kitchen, Clonakilty/ Organico, Bantry/ Mannings, Ballylickey/ Bridge St, Kenmare/ Taste, Castletownbere; Cheese Press Ennistymon / Mary Pawle.

The Parc Natural Del Foix, mentioned in the Cava story above, is also the source of this pétillant and is also made by Maria Barrena. Not everyone is familiar with the term Pét-Nat. So what is this Pét-Nat wine they are all talking about? It is an abbreviation for pétillant naturel, the French term that roughly means naturally sparkling.

Is it then a copy of champagne? Not so. It is the other way around if anything, as Pét-Nat has been around longer. Pét-Nat is bottled while still undergoing its first round of fermentation. The French call this process “methode ancestral” and you may see that on some labels.

You may see “bottle fermented,” or the Italian “col fondo,” (more or less a  pét-nat Prosecco). The crown cap and a little bit of sediment are other clues!

The method is pretty widespread across the wine world. Most are fun and good with food, especially lighter dishes. Uncomplicated, authentic and quite diverse, Pét-Nat puts the sparkle on your dinner table or even picnic spread. It is bubbles without the hefty price tag.

Oníric in Catalan translates as dreamer and Entre Vinyes is a personal project of Maria Barrena (Azul y Garanza in Navarra), the aim being to rescue old forgotten vineyards and restore a balanced ecosystem. This 60-year vineyard, surrounded by a rich biodiversity, is in the Baix Penedes region (in Catalonia) close to the Med. The grapes for the pét-nat are Xarel-lo (mostly) and Muscat.

Colour is a cloudy yellow/lemon. On pouring, you create a large white “head” but it won’t hang about. This is easy drinking, approachable and refreshing, with good depth and length. And of course, it has that pleasant sparkly tingle. White fruit flavours and just enough acidity to balance, make it harmonious all the way to the lip-smacking finish. A wine for sun and fun. Highly Recommended.

No comments: