Old World Traditions Offer Something New For Valley Wine Lovers at Cava Tapas and Wine Bar
By Brian Fry
What: Cava Tapas and Wine Bar
Where: 1201 Youngstown Warren Road, Niles
When: Monday through Thursday 4 to10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Our Valley is blessed with many excellent, locally owned places to enjoy wine and food. In fact, as I travel the country, I’m often struck by just how well we have it compared to other metropolitan areas our size.
Most of these establishments are based on the traditions established by the Italian immigrants who first settled our area. Though this bounty of Italian deliciousness is a blessing, it can be hard to find options outside of the “normal” local menus.
Cava Tapas and Wine Bar opened in early November with the goal of providing a fresh option rooted in centuries-old European traditions. The core of Cava’s wine list and menu is based in Spain, which offers great potential for wine and food pairings.
Co-owner Antonio LaMota has worked in the restaurant industry more than half his life, and he’s excited to offer our Valley a new wine and food adventure. LaMota’s mother’s family is from the Catalonia region of Spain (near Barcelona), while his father’s side is Sicilian and Italian, but both were born and raised in Ecuador.
“I grew up with this wine and food thanks to my mother. My wife said ‘I’ll support you 100 percent if you do something truly different.’ It was a great chance to share the traditions of Spanish wine and food with people in our area.”
LaMota was raised in Ecuador, so the wine and cuisine of South America are also part of Cava’s repertoire. “Tapas is a very shareable way to dine. We want to expose people to new things. Give them a chance to try new flavors in wine and food.
Cava’s wine list is still evolving in these early months, but it is clearly different than most anything else you will find in the Valley. All of the major Spanish regions are represented, along with a strong presence from Portugal.
Co-owner Vincent Cavalier has been pleased by the response to Cava’s unique approach, seeing lots of new faces that come back and bring friends.
“We worked with Chef Jeff Canzonetta to develop the menu first and then built the wine list and pairings around the cuisine. We have some big plans to help people appreciate Spanish wine and food pairings.”
Cava offers a red and white house-made Sangria that is made fresh each day and is available by the glass or pitcher, and there are four Spanish sparkling wines (cava) available by the glass.
They also offer a flaming Spanish coffee prepared table-side with brandy, Kahlua, Bailey’s and whipped cream. “The presentation turns heads on the restaurant floor, and the taste makes people want more”, said Cavalier.
Here’s a look at five of my favorites from the wine list at Cava Tapas and Wine Bar:
NV Segura Viudas Brut
Aromas of white fruit, citrus and green flowers with a tantalizingly dry, refreshing finish.
2016 Martin Codax Albarino
Pear and passion fruit on the nose with flavors of fresh cut apples and bosc pear leading to a crisp and elegant finish.
2014 Ergo Rojo Red Blend
A Tempranillo-based blend with vibrant red fruit aromas, juicy texture and a persistent finish.
2012 Marques De Caceres Crianza
Intense bouquet of red fruits with a hint of toast. Well structured and balanced with black cherry and currant on the palate.
2014 Toro Loco Superior
Fresh and juicy with aromas of strawberry and red cherry. Velvety tannins provide elegance on the palate with a refined finish.