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All about Cava wines

You may be thinking - what is cava? It's Spain's most popular sparkling wine. Made in the vineyards of Catalonia in northeastern Spain, cava is sort of like the prosecco of Italy, or a more affordable version of French Champagne. Cava production undergoes more or less the same winemaking production process as its French counterpart (called traditional method). The traditional method of making sparkling wine and champagne requires a second fermentation (where yeast makes grape sugars into alcohol) process creates CO2, which are the nice bubbles we see in our glass. After that, cava ages for a pretty long time, during which the process of autolysis creates the wine's distinctive savory aromas.

There are four cava styles, based on the length of the aging period. Standard cava (and cava production) ages for a minimum of nine months while reserva cava ages for 15 months or more. To get the designation of gran reserva cava, a wine has to age for at least 30 months. Lastly, vintage wines that aged for 36 months or over get the designation of cava de paraje calificado.

Cava sparkling wines are available in both white and rosé. The producers mainly blend Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo grape varieties using the traditional method, but sometimes they spice recipes with a bit of chardonnay, pinot noir, garnacha and monastrell.

Flavor profile

Like Champagne and many other sparkling wines, cava features hints of bread and nuts. This is different from other popular wines like prosecco, which has more of a fruit dominant flavor with apples, honeysuckle and peach being primary flavors. This Spanish white wine is available in many sweetness levels from extra brut (very dry) to dulce (pretty sweet). Different grape varieties create different flavor notes, from fruits to citrus.

You may find bottles of cava that say, "Brut Nature." This means the bottle has no added sugar - it's cava wine made in its purest state.


Other than being festive, cava is surprisingly food-friendly. Try Champagne's Spanish alter ego with tortillas, tapas with olives and cheese, paella, risotto or french fries. Virtually any fried food tastes delicious with this sparkling wine. Aged versions pair well with foie gras and aged cheeses like Parmesan, Asiago or manchego.

Luckily you don't have to go all the way to Catalonia to try cava sparkling wine. Browse Drizly or click these handy links to find Drizly in your city or liquor stores near you.

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