In the States, whatever mysterious mafias that regulate grocery store shelves have put the cap on sparkling water to a few main labels: San Pellegrino, Perrier, etc. But here, the availability of different waters is staggering. In the Super Amara below the FNAC, there is an especially large selection, and I decided that the only way to make an informed buying decision would be to try them all.
Cata time! I invited a few dear friends over for a sparkling water tasting...and did the legwork so you lovers of sparkling water don't have to.
Bottled here in Gipuzkoa. 80 cents a bottle.
- bubbles: bubbly, calm, range from small to large
- first impression: France, tart, refreshing
- mouthfeel: tingly, stale poprocks, short, fast, wide, aggressive
- taste: bland, lacks taste, slight salt, clean
- average score: 5.2/10
Bottled in Hampshire, England. 3.17 a bottle.
- bubbles: absent, lacking, slow
- first impression: bad hotel bar cerca 1997, uncarbonated, boring
- mouthfeel: disappointing, not sparkling, only slight difference from natural, soft, very light fizz
- taste: super bland, slight metal, mineral, slightly sweet
- average score: 3.2/10
Bottled in the Haute Loire, France. about 2 euros per bottle.
- bubbles: none, very small, lacking
- first impression: fresh, Evianesque, soft, sweet
- mouthfeel: not too fizzy, not too flat, smooth, broad, short, lazy
- taste: like slightly tart tap water, metallic, sweet, boring
- average score: 4.7/10
Bottled in Girona. 70 cents a bottle.
- bubbles: most sparkling, very bubbly, largish, steady, impressive
- first impression: tingly, holiday in Provence, sour
- mouthfeel: tight, very tingly, painfully spicy, long, rambunctious
- taste: tangy, citrus-y, slightly rotten citrus, sweet, metal, pleasant
- average score: 6.3/10
Bottled in Girona. 1.07 euros a bottle. WINNER!
- bubbles: fairly bubbly, small but lively, crazy bubbles, strong
- first impression: sweet, YES!, mmmm...., good
- mouthfeel: not dry, balanced, short and constant, invasive
- taste: acidity, sweet but muted, refreshing, neutral
- average score: 7/10
So, there you have it folks...Vichy Catalan, winner, hands down. Only downside? It was my favorite before the tasting even began. Oh well, I guess it's nice to be validated.