Pata Negra Cava Brut Rosé

Sparkling wine sales continue to climb, and according to a study conducted by IRi Worldwide in 2017, sparkling beverages comprise 10% of the total wine market, with yearly sales increasing at an average of $100 million. Newly arrived in the United States, Pata Negra cavas (cava is Spain’s sparkling wine offering) are produced in Barcelona at a winery dating back to 1647 located atop a hill that slopes gently toward the Mediterranean Sea. The super-premium cavas are produced using the traditional champagne method and fermented in the bottle, which yields a higher quality wine that sparkles with its own natural and finer bubbles. The Brut Rosé I sampled is a blend of 80% Trepat and 20% Pinot Noir and pours a beautiful strawberry color with aromas of red berries and pomegranate. Elegant bubbles tickle the palate, enhancing fruity flavors, while further developing a long and sophisticated finish. Suggested pairings are almonds, cheese, light salads, and Asian cuisines.

Pata Negra Cava is part of the J. Garcia Carrion portfolio, a fifth-generation enterprise that began in Spain more than 125 years ago.

Don Ciccio & Figli Donna Rosa Rabarbaro 

I’ve always loved the flavor of rhubarb but never imagined having it infused into a liqueur. Until now, that is. The Washington D.C.-based distillery Don Ciccio & Figli has relaunched its Donna Rosa Rabarbaro, a rhubarb liqueur in an aperitivo style. Made from a recipe dating to 1896, it’s a nod to the original Don Ciccio & Figli Distillery, which produced liqueurs on Italy’s Amalfi Coast for nearly a century. This version is barrel aged for 12 months in 250-liter French oak barrels provided by Marisa Cuomo Winery on the Amalfi Coast. The 20% ABV aperitivo is based on an infusion of three types of rhubarb roots from around the world, honeysuckle, rose petals from California and 17 selected botanicals including rose, rhubarb, chamomile, bitter orange and quassia. My take on this cordial is the mélange of flavors nicely balances sweetness with a gentle bitterness.  

Stone/Lost Abbey Sticks n’ Stones

Stone Brewing should be known as the collaborator-in-chief, for it has participated in more partnerships with other breweries than any other I can think of. In the case of this beer, three key Stone brewers gathered together with a longtime friend, the legendary Lost Abbey Brewmaster Tomme Arthur, at the new Stone brewery in Berlin and came up with a beer to be representative of Stone’s presence in Germany. No one who knows anything about Stone should be too surprised that they also decided to depart from tradition by brewing an imperial dark pilsner finished on wood chips (“sticks”) and aged in granite barrels, using a German lager yeast strain. Brewed on November 14, the 8.3% ABV brew comes out of the glass soft and mellow and fairly easy-drinking with dark caramel notes derived from the darker malts used. As they say in Germany, Prost!