Sparkling Wine Secrets: Seek DO Cava and Pair with Spanish Pork Chops and Potatoes

When people think bubbles, they generally think of a wine made from an international grape like chardonnay which is the primary grape used in Champagne, France and in other regions of the world like California to make sparkling wines. They’re not thinking of grapes like Macabeo or Xarello which are indigenous to Spain. While you may not know their names, if you’ve ever enjoyed a glass of Spanish Cava, you’ve likely tried them because the main grape found in Cava is actually Macabeo, which you can learn about in this quick video:

 

A second grape commonly used in Cava is Xarello, one of the native white varieties from Pened√®s which produces wines with body and good acidity.‚Ā† Learn more:

So where exactly in Spain is the Cava DO, your secret source for the best Spanish sparkling wines?

Unusually, DO Cava includes 150 municipalities spread over seven autonomous regions: Catalonia, La Rioja, Comunidad Valenciana, Aragon, Navarra, Extremadura and Pais Vasco. Learn more:


With this introduction, you should be ready to celebrate Cava week Oct 9-13 — if you have a bottle of DO Cava at hand! If you’re looking for suggestions, check these out:

Wines

  • NV Mascaro Pure Cava Reserva Brut Nature¬†
  • 2012 Roger Goulart Gran Reserva Brut Cava¬†
  • NV Faustino Cava¬†

Spanish Inspired Menu Paired with Cava 

Since we love to pair wines with regional cuisine, and we know what tends to go with what, when I found some beautiful pork chops on sale, I found a Spanish Pork Chops with potatoes recipe. ¬†And¬†oysters, of course! Plus I had sushi for lunch! I know that’s not Spanish but it’s a great pairing!¬†

  • Sushi (purchased from Sprouts Grocery Store)
  • Oysters (purchased at the Ventura Harbor)
  • Manchego
  • Iberico
  • Fried chorizo
  • Truffle Almonds (from Trader Joe’s)
  • Smoked Tuna with beans and parsley on crostini (spouse smoked from tuna caught by a friend)
  • Saut√©ed greens with bacon (so good!)
  • Smoked Spanish Pork Chops with Moroccan spiced potatoes (so easy; recipe below!)

NV Mascaro Pure Cava Reserva Brut Nature 
ABV 12%
SRP

Color: Pale clear lemon, very effervescent, small perlage 

Aroma: Pffernouse licorice cookies, yeast, green pippin apple

Palate: Tart pippin apple, chalky minerals, lemon and grass finish 

Pairing:¬†Perfect pairing with the oysters. Tart fruit and bright acidity balances out the rich oyster and brininess. ¬† ¬†It’s also a fun pairing with the bacon and spinach — it loves the salty bacon. Works really well with the kick and complexity in the potato, but not as exciting with the smoked pork chop which could have had more salt. ¬†Still, the smoky richness is a great compliment.

Protip: pork chitlins. Oh yeah…

I could also see this wine with a carnitas burrito. Oh and I wouldn’t turn it down with sushi but something a bit sweeter and fruitier is better.¬†

2012 Roger Goulart Gran Reserva Brut Cava
ABV 12%
SRP $20

What a great deal!

Color: Pale clear lemon, effervescent, gentle perlage 

Aroma: yeasty, potpourri perfume, herbals, fine French milled soap, 

Palate: foamy, lemon tart, lemon grass, lemon verbena, chalky texture   

Pairing: Very nice with the¬†oyster–¬†complexity meets¬†complexity. The cheeses and friend chorizo worked well, but it was the truffle almond on the plate that got my attention. However, the best pairing was the smoked Spanish spiced rubbed pork chop and potatoes which brought out light and dark stone fruit in the wine. The spinach with bacon was delightfully refreshing with this wine. I may never have spinach without bacon again! ¬†(And I may have it every night that I can forever!)

NV Faustino Rosado Cava
ABV 12%
SRP 

Color: Salmon pink, pretty, bubbly

Aroma: Red fruit, yeast,  

Palate: Plenty of fruit, cherry, raspberry, nice fleshy texture 

Pairing: For an appetizer, fabulous with sushi at lunch and fantastic with the creamed white beans with smoked tuna. Delicious with the sautéed spinach with bacon. Works well with the kick in the potatoes. And I always love rose with pork, and this smoked chop with the rub was no exception. 

 

Spanish Style Smoked Pork Chops with Potatoes



Ingredients

  • 1¬†T¬†minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon¬†paprika, preferably¬†smoked
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh or dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Moroccan spice¬†
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste¬†
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt , or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1¬†T¬†extra-virgin olive oil ,¬†
  • 1¬†T¬†red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
  • 4 bone-in pork chops (each 1-inch thick, about 2¬Ĺ pounds total)
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley¬†for garnish¬†

Directions

  • Combine garlic, paprika, cumin, coriander, oregano, thyme, cayenne, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Add tomato paste, olive oil and vinegar to make a paste.
  • Apply paste on all sides of pork chops. Cover with wax paper. Let sit minimum of 30 minutes.
  • USE LEFTOVER PASTE ON CUT UP YUKON POTATOES: add 1 T oil, 1 T wine vinegar, 1 T tomato paste, 1 T minced garlic, and combine with leftover paste then toss to cover potatoes. Roast potatoes for 30 minutes in smoker, on grill, or in oven, tossing occasionally, until fork tender. OR¬†Set aside leftover paste for other use.¬†
  • Cook in smoker 275 deg each side 20 min. Remove, and increase temperature to 500 for two minutes each side¬†or grill until meat thermometer registers¬†145¬įF.
  • NO SMOKER?¬†Heat large skillet until hot. Add olive oil; when the oil smokes, add the pork chops and sear for about four minutes, then flip and sear four more minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into the middle of a chop registers 145¬įF.
  • Transfer to a serving plate and let stand for 2 or 3 minutes before sprinkling with parsley or additional paprika and serving.