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The Cellar: Reserve Cava, Riesling + the Perfect Port

Friday, January 03, 2014


Happy New Years!

This week we will be focusing on some fantastic bubbles, a great Austrian white and a Cellar's first - a category that I am a huge fan of: Port!

NV Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad

This year I toasted the New Year in with Segura Viudas’s Cava Reserva Heredad. At under $20 this Reserve Cava, in its unique bottle, is not only appropriately festive but brings a lot of serious bubbles to the table. At Segura Viudas, which was named Wine & Spirits 2013 value brand of the year, they handcraft their sparkling wines the ‘Champenoise’ method - according to Cava traditions dating back over 100 years. The Reserva Heredad is the estate's top offering – a hand harvested blend of 67% Macabeo and 33% Parellada. After the second fermentation, which gives the wine its bubbles, the wine is aged on the dead yeast cells for 30 months, hand-riddled, etc. This is the real deal. I love this wine because it is has some serious weight behind it displaying a rich, coating mouthfeel. Its yeasty aromas and flavors are complimented by lovely toasted apples and hints of smoke. The wine finishes dry with lingering acidity.

2011 Domäne Wachau Riesling Terrassen, Federspiel, Austria

At the most recent ‘Evening with Wine’ event at the Providence Wine Academy participants tasted some wonderful wines from South African and Austria. One of the wines that was in the running but didn’t make the final tasting list was the 2011 Riesling from Domäne Wachau, the region’s largest cooperative and the producers of some of Austria’s best value wines. Producers in Wachau have developed their own categories of classification dictating ripeness at harvest and finished alcohol levels.‘Steinfeder’ is the lightest style with a maximum alcohol of 11.5%. ’Federspiel’, which this wine is, must have a final alcohol range of 11.5%-12.5%. Finally, ‘Smaragd’ must have a minimum alcohol of 12.5%. Slightly off-dry this wine displays delicious apricot alongside ripe pears and lemon. The mouthwatering acidity on the finish keeps the wine fresh in your mouth.

Quinta do Noval, Noval Black, Port, Portugal

This week’s last wine is a Cellar first – a fortified wine from Portugal. More specifically, this is the Noval Black Port from iconic producer Quinta do Noval. Established in 1715 Quinta do Noval has long been a pioneer in the Port industry. Among other things, they were the first to label their Tawny Port with the age indication that we are so familiar with today (10 Year, 20 Year, 40 Year, etc.). They were also the inventors of the Late Bottle Vintage category of Ports; a category which sees the best juice from a non-declared vintage aged for 4-6 years. With the Noval Black Quinta do Noval is once again creating somewhat of a new category – this time in the friendly ‘under $20’ category. The grapes for this wine are sourced from the famous Quinta do Noval vineyard, as well as from other vineyards in the Douro Valley and matured for 2 years, a portion in oak casks with the other portion is kept in stainless steel, keeping the wine fresh, full of dark fruit and vibrant. This is very easy sipper – ripe and meaty with dark spicy fruit and chocolate - a great entry-level bottling for any aspiring Port enthusiast.



Steffen Rasch is a Certified Sommelier and Specialist of Wine. Feel free to email him at [email protected] with any wine-related question or learn about wine in person by signing up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.


Related Slideshow: 13 Biggest Food Stories in RI in 2013

Here are the Top 13 Biggest Food Stories of 2013:

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13 Rhody's Best Burger

The culinary experts at Zagat named each state's best burger in its 50 States, 50 Burgers awards, and Providence's Harry's Bar & Burger took the prize in the Ocean State for its sliders. Haven't tried them? Stop in for one… well actually, they come in twos or threes.

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12 James Beard Awards

Two high-profile chefs in Rhode Island, Farmstead's Matt Jennings and Champe Speidel of Persimion in Bristol, were named semi-finalists for the prestigious James Beard Foundation 2013 awards in the category of "Best Chef: Northeast". The James Beard awards are considered by many to be the "Oscars" of the culinary world.

Another Ocean State restaurant, Cook & Brown Public House in Providence, was also named as a semi-finalist for its bar program.

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11 Best Pizza in America

Providence's Al Forno made The Daily Meal's list of the "Best 101 Pizzas in America," coming in at #10 overall (#3 in New England). 

Despite this national accolade, Al Forno was left off the list of Rhode Island's Best Pizza Joints, compiled by GoLocalProv food experts, Ann and Michael Martini.

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10 Cooking for the Pope

Master Chef Walter Potenza cooked at the Vatican for Holy Father Pope Francis in November. The event was part of a fund-raising collaboration between the Association of Professional Italian Chefs of the Region of Lazio, and the Hunger-Relief Mission of the Vatican toward the “Barrios” of South America. Potenza was the only chef from the United States to participate.

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9 Most Romantic Dining

Three Rhode Island restaurants, Newport's The Spiced Pear and Restaurant Bouchard as well as Basil's of Narragansett, were named by OpenTable in their list of Top 100 “Most Romantic” Restaurants in the US.

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8 Ben Sukle's Birch

Johnson and Wales graduate chef Ben Sukle once worked in what many consider to be the world's best restaurant, Copenhagen's Noma. After returning to Providence and the kitchens of La Lattiere and the Dorrance, the culinary master opened his own downtown eatery, Birch, across from Trinity Rep in 2013. 

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7 #2 Ice Cream City

Providence was named by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the 2nd Best Ice Cream City in America in their July issue.  Whether you prefer the great gelato available on Federal Hill, or the hipster favorite PVD Pops ice cream cart, Providence certainly has its finger on the pulse of frozen treats.

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6 Food Trucks

Some argue that the food truck craze started in Providence, with the 1888 establishement of Haven Bros.  In 2013, Providence saw the opening of a food truck park on the city's West End. 

See Ann + Michael Martini's list of the best food trucks in New England here.

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5 Foolproof Brewing

Rhode Island's newest craft brewery hit the scene in 2013, and they hit the ground running.  Nick Garrison caught the brewing bug after getting a home-brew kit for Christmas, and went on to craft the beer for his own wedding.  He then teamed up with professional brewer Damase Olsson to start the Foolproof Brewery, which quickly became a favorite among Rhode Islanders.

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4 America's Best Taco

Providence showed off its diverse mixture of high-quality dining options when Olneyville's La Lupita Tacos Mexicanos was named by the Huffington Post as one of The Best Tacos in America in March.

See Ann + Micheal Martini's picks for the best Mexican food in RI here.

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Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyard

Alex + Ani's Carolyn Rafaelian purchased Sakonnet Vineyards in late 2012. And in 2013, the new ownership released its first wine, Blessed Blend, to positive reviews. A great year kept getting better for the Little Compton vineyard when the Boston Celtics named Carolyn's Sakonnet Vineyards as its official Team Wine

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2 America's Best Bakeries

With great coffee, and even better breads and pastries, it is not uncommon to see lines stretching out the door at Providence's Seven Stars Bakery.  Which is why few were surprised when The Daily Meal named them as one of the America's 50 Best Bakeries in 2013.  

GoLocalProv Food experts Ann + Michael Martini certainly agreed, as they included the bakery's Rumford location in their list of Rhode Island's Best Bakeries back in January. 

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1 Health Code Violations

Not all of Rhode Island's food stories in 2013 were good news.  In 2013 GoLocalProv went through the health inspection records for Providence-area dining establishments and unveiled a list of the worst offenders

Two of the restaurants had more than 30 violations each, with many others racking up numerous trangressions each. The violations range from minor observations to the more serious; including cross-contamination, lack of proper food storage, employees not wearing gloves when handling ready-to-eat food, hand washing, or sick employees at work.  

See the full list of violators here.


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