Cava is the most prestigious Spanish sparkling wine. It is produced mainly in the Catalunya region, where the word means “cellar”.
Though 85% of all Cava wines are from Sant Sadurní d'Anoia in southern Barcelona province, Cava DO is not restricted to a single delimited area. The sparkling wine is widely produced in 160 muncipalities in seven Spanish regions.
To make Cava, Spanish wine makers adopt the traditional method (or “método tradicional” in Spanish), which is very similar to that of Champagne. Wines need to be kept on their lees for at least nine month before disgorgement. But instead of Chardonnay, the key grape varieties to make Cava are the native Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo. Macabeo takes up half of the blend, whereas the earthy aroma of Xarel-lo is one of the most distinguishing features of Cava.
With alcohol levels between 10.8% and 12.8%, Cava normally have softer acidity than Champagne, with green apple, honey and dried herbs flavour. It is considered a cheaper alternative to Champagne with its unique character, and nowadays is second in the world’s sparkling wine sales.
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