Sparkling wine and champagne are looked at as drinks reserved for celebrations or events, and while there aren’t many better drinks for an occasion than a bottle of sparkling wine, they shouldn’t be reserved just for days like those!
Cava sparkling wine is an example of a delicious, cheap, sparkling wine that can be enjoyed on any day you please.
What is Cava Wine?
Cava wine is a sparkling wine with a reputation. With its origins in Spain, it is considered one of the country’s most popular and famous wines. The name cava is loosely translated from Spanish to the word ‘cave’ which refers to the cellars wherein the wine is created.
The name cava was chosen in order to avoid confrontation with the French who has already developed champagne in the early 1970s. Spaniards thought that cava was so similar that it would be best to name it something else, in order to avoid allegations of copying and theft. Today, however, the differences between cava wine and champagne are quite well known.
Where is Cava Wine From?
Cava wine is most popularly known in the Penedes wine region in Catalonia, the home of the world-famous football team Barcelona. It is estimated that around 95% of cava wine comes from the Penedes region with the other 5% coming from a host of different areas in Spain such as Aragon, Euskadi, and La Rioja. The first cava wine ever produced was in Jose Raventos, all the way back in 1872, showcasing the historical value of the sparkling drink.
How is Cava Wine Made?
Cava wine is the product of a blend of multiple different types of grapes which grow predominantly in the Penedes wine region. The grapes include Macabeu, Xarel-Io, and Parelleda. These grapes are used in a traditional Spanish winemaking process known as metodo tradicional. In this process, the yeast and the sugar are combined with the still base of a wine bottle, and after that, a second fermentation process occurs in the bottle, which is what gives cava sparkling wine its bubbly qualities.
The aforementioned yeast acts as the catalyst for the second fermentation process. Cava wines were given the name cava because of the long time that they need to sit in their bottles in the cellar before being consumed. The average bottle of cava wine must sit for at least a period of 9 months in order to age properly in the bottle.
What Does Cava Wine Taste Like?
Cava wine has been described as a light-bodied sparkling wine, which is easy to drink, even for people who do not enjoy bubbly. The use of three different grapes in the process of making cava gives the wine a unique taste that many have wrongly compared to champagne in the past. Cava wines are often accompanied by citrusy and zesty flavours with hints of baked apple and nuttiness.
Is Cava Wine Sweet or Dry?
Cava wine, like many other sparkling wines on the market, is a dry wine. It tends to be light and zippy on the palate and contributes to the notion that this sparkling wine can be differentiated from typical champagne. Cava wine trades out the sweetness for the more zesty and flowery flavours of Spain.
Is Cava Wine High in Sugar and Sodium?
Cava wine, like any other sparkling wine, is created through a mixture of sugar and yeast. There is typically 500-700g of sugar per bottle of cava wine. There is far less sodium in a bottle of sparkling wine, with the average estimate of around 40g of sodium per bottle.
How to Drink Cava WineCava wine should be chilled before drinking. It being a sparkling wine means that the best qualities and flavours within the bottle will come out when the wine is at a lower temperature.
Cava is normally served in a bucket of ice which can then be added to your glass for drinking. Cava wine should not only be enjoyed during celebratory days and can be enjoyed poolside on a hot summer’s day, or seaside on the beautiful beaches of Catalonia.
Which Foods to Eat with Cava Wine?
Cava wine is a fantastic choice for savoury pairings and Spanish dishes. Most commonly paired with light meals and tapas in Spain, the following foods should be on hand the next time you pop the cork on a bottle of cava sparkling wine.
Fried Fish or Smoked Salmon
Pairing oily fishes such as salmon or simply deep frying a blur fish helps bring the best flavours out of a zesty bottle of cava. The aromas that emanate from a bottle of cava help bring the flavours of the fish out as well. They pair perfectly on a hot summer’s day.
Prosciutto and Serrano Ham Tapas
Prosciutto di Parma ham is one of those foods that has become synonymous with wine drinking due to the perfect pairing potential that has been realised by many winemaking European countries. Whether eating these meats as tapas or adding them to something like a thin-base pizza will take your cava drinking experience to the next level.
Artichokes and Asparagus
It is famously difficult to find good vegetable and wine pairings, but with cava wine, these problems seem to dissipate in the face of the zippy flavours coming out of the bottle. This pairing is traditional as in Barcelona, asparagus and artichokes typically grow in the wintery months and the pairing has become an eating tradition to ring in the coming warm seasons.
Why is Cava Wine So Cheap?
The pricing of cava wine is attributed to the grapes that grow in the Catalonia and Penedes regions. They are, on average, far cheaper to cultivate and grow, in comparison to the grapes used in the process of making champagne in France.
What Wine is Cava Similar To?
Cava, throughout this article, has been compared to champagne, and that is because the process of making these two sparkling wines is nearly identical. They differ quite subtly in flavour, hence the obvious comparisons. Cava is far closer in taste to champagne than it is to something like Prosecco.
Love a bit of bubbles? Give cava a try!