Ask A Winemaker: Miquel Salarich on How Segura Viudas Cava Balances Tradition and Innovation

Segura Viudas & Sharp

Looking at a glass of fresh and fizzy Segura Viudas Cava, you might not know that every single bottle contains an amazing backstory involving eight centuries of regional winemaking and native grapes that date back even further. Segura Viudas has got some seriously deep roots.

A winery with a heritage like that comes with a lot of responsibility for Miquel Salarich, head winemaker at one of Spain’s best-loved Cava houses. Salarich considers it his duty to uphold the winery’s traditions and innovate at the same time so the land he hands over to the next generation is in even better condition than when he got it. We recently sat down with Salarich to ask him how he strikes the perfect balance between tradition and innovation.

Why is honouring the legacy of your predecessors important to you at Segura Viudas?

One of the unique things about working for Segura Viudas, or any winery with a long history, is that there have been many winemakers over the years doing these products, so we have to respect that. That is why, with the most traditional products, like the Brut Reserva, we always want to keep in mind a sparkling profile that stays consistent throughout the years.

The word “respect” comes up a lot at Segura, where “Respect the Roots” is a sort of mantra. Can you explain what it means?

Absolutely. Segura Viudas represents over 800 years of history and is deeply connected to nature and the landscape. “Respect the Roots” has a double meaning since, on the one hand, the roots are a metaphor for Segura Viudas’s history and heritage and, on the other, it’s a literal reference to the actual plant roots stemming through the vineyards.

Although grounded in tradition, Segura Viudas is also known for its innovation. Do the newer releases, such as the Organic Cava, reflect that innovative spirit?

Definitely. The organic is a fresh, young, and vibrant wine that, from the grape to the bottle, sees all the processes in line with environmental sustainability. The prohibition of insecticides and her­bicides facilitates wildlife all around the vineyard that we would never see with conventional crops.

Is this representative of a greener vision for the future in general?

In order to protect the land in the Penedès region, which has nourished vineyards for 800 years, Segura Viudas has an outstanding winemaking expertise that follows strict standards and care for sustainability. We are committed to studying and sustaining the rich and diverse ecosystem that has developed around the estate over centuries and have also been awarded the environmental Wineries for Climate Protection certificate for our work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and waste with the clear goal of minimizing the carbon footprint.

Indigenous grapes like the Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo, which are used to make Cava at Segura Viudas, are often better for biodiversity than non-native species. What do they do for the flavour profile of a wine like the Brut Reserva, though?

Our native grapes are mainly only planted in our region, and the combination of the three is unique to this territory. This turns into an original and authentic wine flavour profile. For many years, there was a big discussion locally about whether to use French grapes or native ones, and we defended using indigenous grapes because we felt they gave our wines something unique.

Can you tell us what your favourite pairing with Segura Viudas is?

Cava is a very versatile product when pairing with food. I definitely would pair Brut Reserva with salad for a light summer lunch, and sushi is definitely an excellent pairing for Segura Viudas Brut Reserva at dinner.