Sunday, April 10, 2011

Freixenet Cava Cordon Negro NV $10.99 *(***)

Saturday night.  Hangar Steak from Fairway soaking in Olive Oil Marinade from Thomas Keller's recipe.   Leftover Lasagna: homemade bolognese with béchamel, from Marcella Hazan's Classic and a head of butter lettuce just waiting to be made into a salad. Along with the rolls that I was picking up from Leonetti's, this meal was going to be the highlight of my weekend.  And then I said the fateful words... "Do you want anything else from Leonetti's?"  JPH answered "Get some Lemon or Raspberry gelato. We can have it with something bubbly."

Deep down in the bottom at the beer drawer was this iconic black bottle of Spanish sparkling wine of unknown age with an equally unknown provenance. Our guess is that someone brought it as a hostess gift and it was relegated to the cellar until the day JPH dusted it off and put it in the beer drawer. We had no idea how old it was,  5-10 years maybe?  As we were getting dinner ready, JPH played bartender.

First pour: Kind of sour. Dry, it tasted a bit old. Since we had no idea about how old this bottle was, I attributed the sourness to age, an gave it one star - although a "fresher" bottle may fare better in a future review. S. is in Indonesia on a business trip, we might as well drink the old stuff and save the good for when she gets home; wine just isn't the same when she isn't here to share and reviewing is not as much fun. Freixenet Cava Cordon Negro is a sparkling wine made with Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada grapes. I quaffed the first sip and JPH set about his magical mixology.

Armed with an ice cream scoop, a spoon and a tub of Leonetti's Strawberry gelato, he made our first proper drinks.  Muddling a scoop of gelato in 1/3rd a glass of Freixenet, then topping if off with a final pour produced some amazing bubbles.  It was good. A great way to revive a possibly not so optimum bottle of sparkling wine. The first glass went down easy and it was a great way to end a beautiful Spring day.

But then... his adventure in mixology was not done. Out came the tub of Lemon gelato.  JPH followed the same recipe.  Then he handed me a glass of the Lemon Gelato Cava.

First sip: WOW.

Second sip: Wow, the repeat first sip until you are licking the bubble residue from the rim of the empty glass. (I have no shame - and at 11.5% ETOH - no headache the next morning)

When the bottle was empty, I asked: "Don't we have some Chandon in the fridge?"

Cooler heads prevailed and the Chandon stayed in the fridge. I nursed my last glass gingerly so that I would be able to take a picture of it for the blog. (after all, I planned the whole meal around writing a blog post...) ummm, oops, I forgot to take a picture.  And as far as the amazing dinner that was on my plate...  I ate what I could.

That was when JPH asked "You filled upon gelato and cava, didn't you?"

I solemnly nodded my head yes.

And this dear reader is how you elevate an average mass marketed bottle of sparkling wine to great heights... just add gelato or sorbet.  From one to four stars in a scoop and a half.

All the supplies needed to make ambrosia in a glass...

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