Cava - ferments in the bottle, tastes good in the glass
Not far from Barcelona, in the Penedés wine region, you will find numerous bodegas and even more cavas, the underground version of a Spanish winery. Nearly 96% of all cava sparkling wines are produced underground here. Although the Denominació d'Origen Cava quality label guarantees a consistently high quality of the products, it is not really a local indication. Other production sites are located in Valencia, Rioja and Navarre. The home of the Cava, however, is and remains the Penedés region around the town of Sant Sadurní d'Anoia. Following the original French model, the winegrowers bottle-ferment the cava. The result does not have to shy away from comparison with champagne, because cava is light, tangy and full of fine aromas, which makes Spanish sparkling wine a noble companion for all kinds of occasions.
Cava and bodega
The name Cava comes from the place where the wine becomes sparkling wine - in the cellar. In the past, Spanish cava was still called champagne because there was no difference in production and quality. However, Spain's accession to the EU also meant that the European wine law took effect. And since champagne is a local indication, the Spaniards had to find a new name for this high-quality product. Since a sparkling wine can mature better when chilled, and this is most easily reached through an underground storage place, the winegrowers decided on the name Cava. Cava is the Spanish term for an underground winery with ideal conditions for sparkling wine. By the way; a Spanish winery located above ground is called bodega.
Cavas are expressive and harmonious sparkling wines with ripe fruit and vital acidity. Depending on the taste, a cava can be dry or sweet. To avoid surprises in the glass, you will find here a small overview of the flavours of the Cava sparkling wines.
- brut: dry with maximum residual sugar of 15 grams per litre
- extra brut: extra dry with maximum 6 g/l residual sugar
- brut nature: very dry with maximum 3 g/l
- extra seco: less dry than brut with a residual sugar content between 12 and 20 g/l
- seco: dry with a residual sugar of 17-35 g/l
- semi seco: semi-dry cavas with 33-55 g/l residual sugar
Making the Cava
Since Josep Raventós brought his knowledge of champagne enriched in France to Spain in 1872, the Méthode traditionelle, the typical champagne method, has been the way a wine has to go in order to bring sparkling joy to people as cava.
- It starts with the base wine. Approved grape varieties are Xarel-lo, Macabeo, Parellada, Chardonnay, Garnatxa, Monastrell, Trepat and Pinot Noir. Traditionally the base wine consists of Xarel-lo for the body, Parellada for elegance and Macabeo for freshness. The Cuveé is filled with selected yeast and granulated sugar.
- Now the mixture is bottled and sealed. Fermentation begins while the bottle is lying in the cellar. The yeast converts the sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The longer this second fermentation lasts, the higher the quality of the finished Cava becomes.
- To get the yeast extract out of the bottle later, the riddling is started. The bottles are placed at an angle upside down on remuage racks. Gradually the bottles are shaken a little, turned a little and inserted more and more vertically into the remuage racks. Thus, the extract migrates piece by piece into the bottle neck.
- After months of storage, the bottles are dipped upside down in -20°C cold brine, so that the neck of the bottle and thus the yeast is deep-frozen. If you now open the bottle, the carbon dioxide shoots out the iced yeast.
- Before the cava is ready, the bottle is filled with the so called licor de expedición. This is a mixture of the same cuveé and cane sugar. Depending on the dose, the flavour of the cavas is determined.
- Finally, the bottle is corked and securely closed with a wire. The cava is ready.
Cava Denominació d'Origen
Cava sparkling wines are subject to strict guidelines in order to be allowed to carry this proud name. Thus, a Cava D.O. must fulfil the following characteristics:
Fermentation must take place in the bottle for at least nine months. Reserves ferment 15 months and Gran Reservas even 30 months in the bottle.
The finished cava must have an alcohol content between 10.8 and 12.8 % by volume.
The acidity must be at least 5,5 g/l
Only Xarel-lo, Macabeo, Parellada, Chardonnay, Garnatxa, Monastrell, Trepat and Pinot Noir are allowed for Cavas.
Our VINELLO recommendation
Reserva Brut DO - Segura Viudas
A cava made according to traditional methods and from the typical grape varieties. Wonderfully fruity and refreshing, the Reserva Brut D.O. is straw yellow in a glass. The elegant perlage refines the floral nuances and opens up a rounded finish. Carefully hand-picked and fermented for months, the Segura Viudas Cava promises a unique and stimulating experience for holidays, everyday life and Mediterranean feasts.
What is Cava sparkling wine?
Cava is a Spanish variant of champagne. Cava is also produced by bottle fermentation and is considered to be a very high-quality sparkling wine.
What is the ideal drinking temperature for Cavas?
Cava sparkling wine is optimally served at a drinking temperature of 8°C.
How to store Cava sparkling wine?
Cavas are offered for sale ready to drink and can be drunk immediately. For short-term storage, a cool, dark and temperature-resistant place is recommended. Cava sparkling wines prefer a standing storage.
What is Cava suitable for?
Cava is ideal as an aperitif, but also for light dishes. Seafood, salads, pasta, fish, white meat and desserts are considered harmonious accompaniments to cava sparkling wine.
How long does an open bottle of Cava sparkling wine last?
An opened bottle of Cava sparkling wine usually lasts for 2-3 days, provided the bottle has been closed tightly with a sparkling wine stopper or the oxygen in the bottle has been reduced with a wine pump. Otherwise, keep an open bottle in the refrigerator and drink it the next day.
Buy Cava sparkling wine cheap online
Enjoy this sparkling speciality from Catalonia and a few scattered corners of Spain and treat yourself to pearly, fruity cavas at an affordable price. Try moments of solemnity with Spanish lightness. At VINELLO you will find an exquisite selection of first-class cavas. Buy your favorites and benefit from our fast and insured delivery. Order Cavas easily online, cool it down and experience the Cava sparkling wine with friends, as a couple or sunken in thought. Cava on VINELLO - taste the zest for life.