Wine: Vilarnau Barcelona NV Cava Brut Reserva Rosé
Origin: Cava (Sant Sadurní d’Anoia), Spain

Taste: This bubbly really surprised! It has chops and can serve as well at the table as it can as a hearty apéritif. Lightly fruity on the dry attack, the palate then fills in with a super pleasant, toasty yeastiness then with a crispness akin to dried bread crumbs on the back palate. Round and mouthfilling, there’s a rich depth of flavor that extends into a solidly long finish. In sum, it is brilliantly complex and totally satisfying, and all this happiness comes for less than a Jackson!

Expectation: Though produced from light-ish bodied Trepat (85%) and svelte Pinot Noir (15%), I expected this to pair with more mid-weight dishes and possibly to hit the spot with heavier apps, thanks in particular to this wine’s toasty heartiness.

Hit: Mini Quiche Lorraines
This sparkler was a perfect pairing for individual Quiche Lorraines. Smoky bacon infused in crusty pastry pairs brilliantly with this wine. Moreover, the bubbly’s bright red fruits zip right through the richness of the bite.

Near-Hit: Grilled Pork Chops with Rhubarb Mostarda
A mild meat like pork seemed right to pair with this wine given its medium body and broad range of flavors. The wine’s crunchy red fruits called for something tarter, and rhubarb seemed like a perfect accent. The only detractor was the mustard, which added a lightly unpleasant sharpness. But frankly, were I in a pinch, I’d serve the same pairing again.