This month Sid has chosen to present an Ibiza Caponata that can be paired either with fish or with meat, or can be enjoyed just by itself with a piece of bread.

This is an exciting dish full of different flavors. However, two of the ingredients in the dish are not the best wine friends: bitter Ibiza olives and tomatoes.

So I will hold on tight and fasten my seatbelt, because this is going to be a rollercoaster ride! This dish is asking for a versatile wine pairing, a wine that during this trip right can stay upright.

My partner of choice is thus a Cava. Not one of those commercial bubbles created in a factory that taste like wet cardboard boxes and stale bread (these Cavas are only good to be thrown in to the Sangria and are available at the supermarket), but a champ, one that the Penedés can be proud of. Pares Balta is the name of the winery and their history goes back to 1790 when the first vines were planted.

In 1978 the winery was taken over by Joan Cusiné Hill. His grandsons Josep and Joan are now taking care of the running of the business and their wives Maria and Marta are the wine-maker and oenologist: a real family business.

Parés Balta Blanca Cusine 2009
Xarel.lo, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

This winery is biodynamic, which is the practice of balancing resonance between vine, man, earth and stars. They don’t use fertilizer or chemicals, and only rely on rainwater. They even take it a step further; they keep their own colonies of bees for pollination during the flowering period and a flock of sheep that after the harvest clean up the vineyards.

From their large collection, I have chosen for the Cava Blanca Cusiné (xarel.lo, chardonnay, pinot noir). The first two grape varieties have had their fermentation in stainless steel and the pinot noir has touched French oak for 16 days during its own fermentation process. After blending, there’s a second fermentation in the bottle and then it develops for another 30 months before it appears on our shelves at the shop or on your table.

Enough with the talk, let’s open this bottle. We take off the cork with a little sigh, no vulgar popping.A beautiful little bubble, golden yellow color, and we smell almonds and hazelnuts, honey and a little lychee. Also on our palate we recognize the nuts which we can encounter again in the dish, a little sweet hint of fruit but beautifully dry.

This is a Cava with capital C, which will go up and down and round and round with you on this rollercoaster of flavors. I have thoroughly enjoyed it, now it’s your turn. Hold on tight and enjoy the ride!

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