Some Basics about Cava

Cava is made in the Catalunya region of Spain, think Barcelona.  It is a beautiful place to visit and I highly recommend it if you have not.  Cava is Spanish champagne.  It has been made in Catalonia since 1851.  They called it Champagne until Spain entered the EU, then they have to change the name due to EU regulations.  It is made with the méthode champenoise but with different grapes.  If you are looking for a nice bottle of bubbly to try that is an affordable price, try Cava.  I am a big fan of Cava.

The grapes used in Cava are: Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada.  Chardonnay makes up about 5% of the plantings and Pinot Noir is used in making the rosé Cava.  The Macabeo grape is white and produces a mild wine that is slightly acidic.  The Xarel-lo grape is also white and is the most aromatic of the three grapes and can be strongly flavored.  The Parallada is also a white skinned grape with a good acidity.  According to Spanish Wines, the grapes each add the following:

  • Macabeo – brings sweetness and perfume to the cava
  • Parellada – brings subtlety, freshness and scent to the cava
  • Xarel·lo – brings body and structure to the cava

Like Champagne, there is a sweetness rating to look for when buying your bottle.

  • Brut Nature: 0-3 g/l residual sugar
  • Extra Brut: 0-6 g/l residual sugar
  • Brut: 0-12 g/l residual sugar
  • Semi Seco: 12-17 g/l R.S. (aka Extra-Dry )

The most famous brands of Cava are Freixenet and Codorníu.  Last summer, we took a trip to Spain with the family.  When we travel, we often grab a bottle of something inexpensive to drink when we are in the store.  I grabbed a bottle of semi-seco Freixnet.  It was good and my mother in law and sister in law, who prefer things a bit sweeter then I do, loved it.  It was a nice bottle and I alternate between it and drinking the brut.  Freixenet has 4 different ranges.  I have tried the Cordon range and a a few from the Vintage ranges.  I would definitely recommend them for a nice occasion.  They also come with a much nicer price tag then the Champagnes!!



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