What is Cava?
On dreary February days, we dream of warm summer parties full of delicious food and bubbly wine. What kind of bubbly, you ask? Well, when we’re feeling fancy, that would be cava!
Each Old World wine country has its own sparkling wine. France has Champagne, Italy has Prosecco and Spain has Cava.
Unlike non-sparkly varietals which all come from the same grape, these bubblers are all made the same way but they come from different grapes.
Carbonation can only be brought about in wine through a couple different technical methods so in order to achieve a unique flavor, that has to come from the source: grapes.
The three main grapes in Cava are Macabeu, Xarello, and Parallada which bring a diverse blend of flavors that combine to make Cava. Macabeu is simple and slightly floral, Xarello is aromatic with notes of pear and melon, and Parallada is quite acidic and zesty. Without any one of these, a Cava will not have the same quality.
Cava is rarely sweet, instead it has more of an earthy flavor, and like it’s sparkly peers, can come in different styles like Brut, Rosé, and Vintage.
Like Champagne, Cava is of DO (Denomination of Origin) status from Catalonia, which means in order for it to actually be called Cava, it must come from this region of Spain. Cava in Spanish means “cave” or “cellar,” which is how it got its name as it was originally preserved and aged in caves.
The best part about Cava is its price! For about $20, you can get a great, high-quality bottle compared to Champagne which would require closer to $50 or $60. Because of its earthier flavor, Cava is a great addition to cocktails and punches as it doesn’t have too much sweetness.