Segura Viudas S.A. of Torrelavit, Spain was declared as the winner of the ‘Gran Vinitaly' Award at the 14 th International Wine Competition held prior to Vinitaly, earlier this month. The wine ry had won a Gran Medaglia d'Oro (Grand Gold Medal) for two of its wines.
The competition awarded 22 Great Gold Medals, 22 Gold Medals, 23 Silver Medals and 24 Bronze Medals in addition to the 1047 Gran Menzione (Special Mention Diplomas) to 1047 wines, being the top 30% wines of the wines sampled. The Top Award won by this company from Penede`s region was based on the complex scoring system in which the company scoring the highest scores for the two best wines in different categories; there are 22 in all.
Penede`s VQPRD Vino Blanco'Creu de Lavit' 2004 won the Great Gold Medal for ‘white wine matured in barrique or fined in oak' category. Cava VQPRD Brut Nature ‘Lavit' 2002 won the top honours in the E.U. Origin Controlled sparkling wines made by bottling fermentation (conventional process-equivalent of Mehode Champenoise in Champagne ).
Segura Viudas is named after the local watch tower in the 11 th century in Torrelavit near Sant Sadurni d'Anoia. Sprawling over 445 acres of the original Can Esbert property, the Segura Viudas Estate is in the heart of the renowned cava-producing region of Spain , the Penedés. Segura Viudas was established in 1945 when Mr. Segura purchased the medieval farmhouse known as Can Ebert and built a state-of-the-art facility with five levels of subterranean wine cellars.
The marvelous profile of the mountain of Montserrat provides the backdrop for the winery, and the Sant Poere De Riudevitlles River meanders its way through the estate.
The Ferrer family of Barcelona , the owners of 150 year old sparkling wine producing giant Freixenet, purchased the Segura Viudas estate in the early eighties.
And how do the wines taste? I am not sure. There is a good possibility that I might have been offered one or both of these wines for tasting as a juror at the competition. But all the wines presented were tasted on a ‘double blind' basis (the random numbering is done at two independent levels ruling out any chance of any pre-information about any wine ). Even after the awards were announced, we were not given the code numbers of these wines to enable us to confirm if the overall impressions of the total jury coincided with mine or not. There is also no way of knowing how many wines the company had submitted for evaluation.
Not many people in India would know that Segura Viudas was bought over in the eighties by the Ferrer family of Barcelona and is one of the 17 other companies owned by the 150-year old Spanish giant Freixenet which also makes the basic, industrial but quaffable and affordable cava that is being sold in India by Global Tax Free. This is the most popular and visible brand in the US though Codorni`u is supposedly the biggest cava producing company, slightly ahead of Freixenet.
Vino Blanco'Creu de Lavit' 2004 has been produced from the indigenous Xarel-lo (pronounced sha-rel-low) grapes from 25-30 years old vines. It is a brilliant golden yellow wine with green tinge with a nose of ripe fruits like pineapple. One of the few white wines that needs to be served at 16-18 degs, it is a great aperitif wine as well suitable for white meats with thicker sauces.
Cava VQPRD Brut Nature ‘Lavit' 2002 is also a straw yellow coloured sparkling wine with greenish tinge, with fine mousse and aromas of nuts. Made with Macabeo (60%) and Parellada (40%) grapes, it is smooth and fresh on the palate.
Brut Nature, of course, is the bone dry version of Cava and is as popular as Brut is in India . Moreover, it is traditional in DO Cava to mention the vintage as every bottle contains grapes of the same harvest unlike Champagne where only exceptional vintages use the Vintage. The vintners are allowed to blend wines from different years to keep the flavour uniform but they have to term it as NV Champagne.
Although both the wines continue to show the original price tag of under US $10 on www.wine-searcher.com , they will surely become more expensive. Indeed some of the sites are already listing them at over US $15 -20. So grab them while you can.