Ten to one, when you associate a grape variety with cava -the sparkling Spanish wine made in the Traditional Method – you will not think of the grape Subirat Parent. This almost forgotten indigenous (white) grape with its intense orange-yellow thick-skin, has many aliases in Spain.
In Catalonia, it is called Subirat Parent, in Extremadura Alarije, in Rioja Malvasía de Rioja or Malvasía Riojana. Once you smell Subirat Parent, it is easy to distinguish the wine just by smelling it. Its quite intense, aromatic qualities make it an excellent blending grape for Dulce and Semi Dulce Cavas. Subirat Parent’s unique aromatic profile expresses predominately of flowers, ripe stone fruits and grapes. There is some orange blossom too and pineapple-like tropical fruit.
After tasting lots of cavas for a food and wine online Christmas edition, I noticed in the Freixenet 2015 Cava Cuvée de Prestige the unusual assemblage of the white Subirat Parent varietal and the Red Grenache. The red grape variety Garnatxa, generally used in rosé cavas or in “blanc de noirs” cava, is rarely blended with the autochthonous white variety Subirat Parent.
Freixenet calls the blend a balancing act. It is a special “blanc de noirs” cuvée. The cava is relatively young, aged in the bottle for 9 months or more. Slightly pink in colour, it is still a white cava, but then with the aromas of red fruit coming from the around 50% Garnatxa.
The Subirat Parent adds crisp freshness and aromatic richness to smooth out the potent influence of red Grenache, a tannic variety, with moderate acidity and high sugar content. Subirat Parent, on the other hand, shows aromatic intensity, ripe stone and tropical fruit, floral aromas of white flowers and rose, and herbal notes. All these nuances become more complex with ageing. The elegant, well-integrated fine bubbles are smooth and persistent. Freixenet produced 19.650 bottles of this Cava Garnatxa Subirat Parent 2015 Cuvées de Prestige.
Style – medium-bodied sparkling wine
Grape varieties – Garnacha Negra, Subirat Parent (also called Alarije)
Vintage – 2015
Country – Spain
Appellation – DO Cava
Region – Catalunya / Catalonia
Producent – Freixenet Cava
Winemaker – Josep Bujan
Production method – Traditional method with second fermentation in the bottle
Alcohol – 11,5%
Aged – for 9 months or more
Serving temperature – 6º to 8º
Score – 86 points