Spain Explained

Cava – The Spanish Champagne

Last updated on September 13th, 2019 at 09:11 am.

There is something very special about Champagne. Perhaps it’s the bubbles, or popping the cork or even the fact that it’s kept for a celebration. However, it can come rather expensive – at least if it’s champagne you’re talking about.

Cava, on the other hand comes in at all kinds of different prices. Cava is the Spanish champagne. It is made by the champagne method in Catalonia and provides just as much of the feel-good-factor but without emptying your pocket.

‘Fizzy wine’ has been made in Catalonia since at least the 14th century.  It was in the 1850s that a serious attempt was made to produce a champagne-like wine with full production starting in the 1870s. Now, over 200,000,000 bottles of it are made both for drinking in Spain and for export. It’s not without its copy cats. When buying cava you should make sure that it’s not just a bottle of fizzy wine you’re getting. Check that the cork is marked with a four-pointed star for the genuine item.

There are different levels of sweetness from brut nature with no added sugar up to sweet with more than 50g per litre:

  • Brut nature
  • Extra Brut
  • Brut
  • Extra seco
  • Seco
  • Semi-seco
  • Dulce

Most cava does not carry a year on the bottle as it is blended to be consistent from one year to the next. If a cava is always made from the same grape variety the year will be indicated on the bottle. These tend to be the more superior and expensive cavas.

Cava does not improve with being kept and, in fact, deteriorates with age. When you buy it you should store it upright in a cool, but not cold place for as little time as possible. And then uncork it as soon as you can find an excuse.

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