Spanish Cava – Is it The Biggest Competitor to Champagne?

“Some people think that Cava is a cheap version of Champagne, however, the wine experts affirm that this is not true…”

Cava is a Protected Designation of Origin for Spanish sparkling wines made by the traditional method. The region covered by the appellation of origin, called Region del Cava, includes mainly the Catalan region of Penedés.

Cava began to be produced from the research of Luis Justo Villanueva the Spanish engineer and PhD in physicochemical sciences, with the Catalan Agricultural Institute of San Isidro, who defended the traditional method. The first producers were Francesc Gil and Domènec Soberano, from Reus, who presented it at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1868. Initially, it was produced with the same French varieties used in France.

Watch The Barcelona Wine Show’s video explaining what is Cava and how it is made.

Were the French intimidated when Cava was created?

Yes, history says that the French were actually intimidated and were afraid of getting a competitor to their “Champagne” as they could see and taste that Cava was going to be a big hit in the sparkling wine industry. In 1972, before the conflict with France over the protected designation Champagne, the Regulatory Council of Sparkling Wines was formed, which approved the name of “Cava” to name the Spanish sparkling wine, settling the dispute and supporting and enhancing the common name used in the area for this wine, called «Cava wine».

Types of Cava.

The “Young” Cava is smooth, slightly fruity and fresh. Very pleasant on the palate and light thanks to the balance between acidity and aromas. With a lively, light and refreshing spirit, it evokes fruit in all its splendour.

The Cava with the mention Reserva rest a minimum of 15 months in the dark and humid underground galleries. This ageing gives it a touch of ripe fruit.

Those older than 30 months, the so-called Gran Reserva are pale golden in colour, with a perfectly integrated small bubble, aromas and intense flavour.

When selecting, you will not only take into account the months of ageing but also its sugar content. The diversity is wide, depending on the added sugars:

  • Brut Nature: 0-3 grams per litre.
  • Extra Brut: up to 6 grams of sugar per litre.
  • Brut: up to 12 grams.
  • Extra Dry: between 12 and 17 grams of sugar.
  • Dry: between 17 and 32 grams.
  • Semi-Dry: between 32 and 50 grams.
  • Sweet: more than 50 grams of sugar per litre.

What about the brands?

There are plenty of brands and types of Cava available in the market, some of the best are listed below.

  • Freixenet Organic Brut.
  • Vilarnau Brut Reserva 2016.
  • Codorníu Non Plus Ultra Brut, Reserva.
  • Hoya de Cadenas Brut Nature.
  • Mont-Ferrant Brut.

If you haven’t tasted Cava before, then you should definitely give it a try, as you won’t be disappointed. You can buy Cava in many places and online shops, however, it is worth it to travel to Spain and especially to the Cava region to discover and learn more about this sparkling wine.

Emma Born
Emma Born

The woman behind TheGastroMagazine, chief editor, food lover, polyglot, aviator and a globetrotter. Emma enjoys Moroccan, Spanish, Italian, Greek and Caribbean food a lot. Cheese & chocolate are her biggest addictions. However, she is really considering becoming Vegan one day.

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