We're in Spain drinking more than our share of Cava. But, Cava is ubiquitous for today’s wine lover…whether one is in Athens, Rio, Honolulu, Berlin, the Big Apple, or Sydney you’ll most likely run into a glass or two of it. Below are some key points about this affordable, fresh and fruity bubbly.
Only sparkling wine made in certain villages in Spain can be called Cava.
While 90% of Cava is made in the region near Barcelona, there are several other geographical areas in Spain that are allowed by law to make Cava (e.g. the Rioja).
Only sparkling wine made in the same method as French Champagne can be called Cava.
Champagne is made using the methode Champenoise (a second fermentation occurs in the bottle when additional yeast is added). Only wines from Champagne, however, can use these words to market their wine. While Cava is produced using this same process, by E.U. law the Spanish bubbly must use the phrase “Metodo Tradicional” (traditional method).
Like most Champagne, Cava is also a blend of grapes.
While Chardonnay & Pinot Noir are the main blending grapes of Champagne, Parellada and Viura are the main grapes of Cava. In both countries, each varietal adds a certain something to the blend. For Cava, Parellada adds body to the lighter bodied, high acid Viura.
Who are some of the best producers of Cava?
These smaller producers are worth seeking out: Gramona, Kripta, Castell Sant Antoni Torre de L’Homenatge, and Valdoserra MS. Their Cavas range in price from $20-$50 and some of them could compete mano a mano with many Champagnes.