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In October 2021 we went to a Vilarnau cava tasting evening with tapas at Ibérica Canary Wharf, London.

A brief history of Vilarnau cava.

Members of Spanish nobility, the Vilarnau family settled in Penedés in Catalunya, in the 12th century. Vilarnau is a contraction of the Latin, Vila Arnau, in other words, the Arnau family’s “country house, or Domus.” Formerly it stood within the estate of the Castillo de Subirats where vines were already being grown in the 12th century. Albert de Vilarnau, whose name has been given to what is currently the brand’s most exclusive cava, was the singular character who was responsible for increasing the family’s power back in the 14th century. He was also a patron of the church of Santa Maria de Vilarnau.

The first cava labelled Vilarnau was created in1949 when the owners first sold a cava made from grapes that had been grown on the “Can Petit i Les Planes de Vilarnau” estate, for centuries.

In 1982 Vilarnau became part of the González Byass family of wineries. The new winery was sited right at the centre of the estate, with a new era of winemaking, which began in October 2005.

The label design is similar to trencadís, a kind of mosaic, used in the Catalan modernist art movement, created from tiny fragments of broken ceramic tiles, roof tiles or crockery. The Catalan architects Antoni GaudÍ and Josep MarÍa Pujol used trencadÍs in many of their designs, the most famous probably being, Parc Güell in Barcelona. As a result, some of Vilarnau cava’s are dressed in a comparable way.

As these are cava’s that are aged for a long time, the bubbles are much finer and rise slowly, creating a long-lasting mousse.

The “Cava Region” comprises some 159 townships, essentially in the provinces of Barcelona and Tarragona but also in Lleida, Girona, la Rioja, Álava, Valencia, Badajoz, Navarra, and Zaragoza.

Styles of cava

Brut Nature: No added sugar

Extra Brut: Maximum of 6g sugar per litre

Brut: Maximum of 12g per litre

Extra Seco (extra-dry): 12g-17g sugar per litre

Seco (dry): 17g - 32g sugar per litre

Semiseco (semi-dry): 32g - 50g sugar per litre

Dulce (sweet) More than 50g sugar per litre

The hot and cold tapas menus have been created by Michelin starred Chef Nacho Manzano. Chef of the two star restaurant Casa Macial in Arriondas and the one star restaurant La Salgar, in Gijón. Both in the northern Spanish region of Asturias.

The first cava we tasted, was,

Vilarnau Brut Reserva Rosé (85% Garnatxa, 15% Pinot Noir).

Flavours of strawberry and peach, a hit with the ladies.

Which was served with,

Toasted bread with tomato.

Artisan cheese selection, San Simón, Massimo Rey Silo, manchego, Peralzola and organic Sujaira.

Cecina de León (air-dried beef).

Green asparagus toast with cheese.

Vilarnau Brut Nature Reserva (50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada, 15% Xarel·lo).

My preferred choice, dry and toasty.

Charred aubergine with cep cream, herbs, and beluga lentil vinaigrette.

Croquetas de Jamón Serrano.

Padrón peppers.

Roast chicory.

Vilarnau Limitada Extra Seco (40% Macabeo, 35% Parellada, 25% Chardonnay)

Getting a bit sweeter now but still quite pleasant.

Roast harlequin pumpkin, labneh seeds, nasturtium leaves, and kumquat.

Catalan fish stew with hake, clams, and mussels suquet.

Catalan crispy chicken with trinxat, mashed potatoes, savoy cabbage, Ibérico pork lardons and pak choi.

Vilarnau Demi Sec Organic (50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada, 15% Xarel·lo)

This one quite sweet but goes well with the dessert.

Flourless chocolate cake with licor café pearls, crema deorujo, créme anglaise and flor di latte ice cream.

One of our party was vegetarian, so we had a few extra vegetarian dishes.

The information given by the friendly host on the evening, about the various cava’s, was informative and relayed in a way that everyone in the room could understand.

The food matching was excellent, and the cost of the evening was very reasonable for the amount of food and drink we were given. We would recommend anyone to try their further events here. The Iberica staff serving us were both efficient and friendly.

Ibérica Canary Wharf is an buzzing spot and a excellent restaurant for Spanish food in London.


12 Cabot Square, London E14 4QQ

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