NV German Gilabert Cava Rosat Brut Nature

Hello friends. We have the return today of our most delicious debacle from 2013:

Let’s start with the debacle.

We offered the wine on August 13, saying in that offer that “the wine should arrive from California in two or three weeks.”

Did the wine arrive in two or three weeks? No it did not. Had I only said “months” instead of “weeks,” I would have been considerably more accurate. The final parcel of the wine arrived on (gulp) November 6. I still feel a profound sense of chagrin just writing that.

The long delay was the result of a miscommunication, such that the bulk of the parcel had to come direct from Spain, which, as it turns out, is a titch further away than the Golden State.

But there’s another side to the story: the wine was worth the wait. After all, the subject of today’s offer isn’t “Desultory Debacle” or “Detestable Debacle;” it’s “Delicious Debacle,” and this is indeed a painfully delicious bottle of wine. Few wines that we’ve offered have inspired as many unsolicited positive comments from list members.

So we’re reoffering this wine today, and can you believe what I’m about to say? The parcel is going to be special-ordered from California. Not “California” (read: Spain). California. And yes, it’s shame on me if this goes awry again, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Now, a reminder of what this beauty is all about, excerpted from our original offer:

One of the most appealing aspects of jumping into imported wines was the opportunity to write about the wines of Jose Pastor Selections. JPS plays for Spain the role that Louis/Dressner plays for France: discoverer and importer of exceptional, natural, vineyard- and farmer-driven wines. Especially for Spain, which seems to see many of its gloopiest, most cynical wines imported to the United States, having JPS as a counterweight is very important.

I was introduced to this lineup through the well-loved and well-missed importer/wholesaler Triage Wines, but by the time we moved into imports, Triage was sadly out of business, and JPS was no longer being brought into Seattle. Last June, however, JPS announced that they had partnered with a new Seattle wholesaler to pick up their portfolio.

At that point, Chris Barnes from JPS came down to the warehouse and poured a terrific group of wines, but it didn’t include this Cava Rosat. I always had a vision for what our first JPS offering would be – German Gilabert Cava Rosat Brut Nature – and when I inquired about it, the response was: “we’re not bringing that one into Seattle.”

Fortunately, several weeks and more than several e-mails later, we settled on a solution: JPS would allow Full Pull to special-order the wine from their Northern Cali warehouse and bring it into Seattle as an exclusive (note: I don’t know whether it remained exclusive; I promised not to raise a fuss if other retail/restaurant accounts wanted to special-order their own parcels).

Why, you might be asking, did I have this stubbornly burrowed into my brain as a necessity for our first JPS offering? Well, there’s the simple reason and the more complicated reason.

The simple reason: because it’s a terrific wine. A total standout in a sea of forgettable Cava, it’s a bubbly, pink, bone-dry, minerally, beautifully-proportioned, focused, perfect-acid palate-washer. Isn’t that enough? No? You want the more complicated reason?

Okay, the complicated reason: well, you may remember that sparkling wine holds a special place in the Zitarelli household, and in Full Pull lore (see here for the full story). And you may remember the agreement my wife and I developed at Full Pull’s launch: her responsibility to supply several years of steady income and health insurance, and my responsibility to keep at least one case of sparkling wine on hand at all times. But what you may not know: a Triage sparkling wine tasting was one of the first trade tastings I attended for Full Pull, and the German Gilabert Cava Rosat was the first case I brought home. It was a bellwether of my commitment to our arrangement, and so it has always held special resonance.

So, Cava. Okay. The problem with Cava is that the Catalans send us all their worst dreck while the tapas bars of Barcelona overflow with cheap, delicious bubbles. Any of us who have visited Barcelona know the drill: we drink amazing Cava in every tavern and restaurant we visit, then we get home and try to recreate the experience, only to be sorely disappointed. It’s a frustrating category, a minefield, one where I think Full Pull can play a role, in that we can taste through all the disappointments (and they are legion) and discard those in favor of the gems.

German Gilabert is a gem. A pink blend of 80% Trepat (a red grape indigenous to northeast Spain) and 20% Garnacha (considerably more familiar), it comes from 40+ year old vines grown on limestone and sand and is made using the methode champenoise (called metodo tradicional in Spain to avoid the wrath of French wine bureaucrats). Most importantly, it is Brut Nature, which means it is bottled with no dosage (with zero additional sugar) after 18-20 months on the lees. That puts it in the driest category of methode champenoise wines. For those of you looking for lush richness, look elsewhere. This is all ethereal litheness.

It starts with a complex nose combining fruit (strawberry pastille), floral (lilac), and savory (chicken stock) notes. As expected, it is bone dry, a nervy mouthful of crushed rock and electric acid framing notes of baked bread and bright red fruit. It’s amazing as a cocktail, and it’s amazing as a food wine, where it has a character that just wipes your palate clean after every sip. The only characteristic this shares with the sea of crappy Cava is its compelling, accessible price point.

Please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine should arrive in two to three weeks (should!), just in time for summer glugging, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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