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Cava Spain

Learn about Cava wine, common tasting notes, where the region is and more ...

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What is Cava?

Spain adopted the word, cava, which technically means ‘cellar’ in Catalan, to describe their sparkling wines made using the traditional method. While this style was first created outside of Spain in the 1600s, its birthplace inside of Spain came in 1872 when Jose Raventós of Codorníu first produced traditional method sparkling wine in the town of San Sadurní d’Anoia. Uniquely, the Cava denomination isn’t restricted to one geographical area but rather, it spans eight total wine regions. However, about 90% of Spain’s total production of Cava sparkling wine happens within Catalonia, and about 75% is produced within the borders of San Sadurní d’Anoia, inside the smaller Catalan region of Penedès. In 2019, Spain registered nearly 38,000 hectares of vineyards for Cava production, compared to just under 34,000 in Champagne.

How is Cava sparkling wine made?

Cava, like many other sparkling wines of the world is made using the traditional method, or "Champagne method," or método tradicional in Spanish, in which the second fermentation (the one that makes the bubbles) takes place inside the bottle. With this method, spent yeast cells remain in contact with the wine during bottle aging, giving it a creamy mouthful, a toasted bread or brioche quality and in many cases, the capacity to age.

What are the Cava wine grapes?

The mainstay Cava grape varieties include Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo. Macabeo, also known as Viura, lends pleasant aromatics to the blend, while Parellada adds acidity and finesse. Xarel-lo is the grape that gives body, earth and greengage characteristics to Cava. Occasionally Chardonnay is used as a blending grape or sole variety in making Cava. Governmental inclusion approval was awarded in 1986 but still, Chardonnay makes up only a fraction of total vineyard area. For rosé, in Spanish called rosado, the local Trepat and Garnacha can be used, along with Pinot Noir (first permitted in 1998 for rosado and in 2007 for white Cavas).

Cava Tasting Profile

Since Cava is a sparkling wine produced on the Mediterranean where temperatures are warmer and there is more sunshine compared with Champagne, you can expect that Cava will generally have a gentler acid profile compared with its French counterpart. Furthermore, especially when the indigenous varieties are used, common Cava flavors will include citrus peel, fennel, wildflower, lemon blossom and flint or saline. Most Cava is produced in the Brut style, so dry, with a slightly rounder finish that balances brightness with brioche notes and supple fruit. Brut Nature or Zero Dosage examples are bone dry, whereas Extra-Dry Cava will be slightly sweet and a Demi-Sec Cava will have the highest sweetness level.

Cava Pairings

One of the best things about pairing Cava is you can drink it on its own or with just about any food! But if you want to focus on bringing out Cava's uniquely brilliant bouquet and citrus notes, rich or seafood-centric dishes are perfect food pairings for Cava. Try Cava with butter poached lobster, seafood risotto, puff pastry and caramelized onions or fried chicken.

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  • Caves Roger Goulart Gran Reserva Cava 2012  Front Label
    Caves Roger Goulart Gran Reserva Cava 2012
    Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
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  • Vins el Cep Claror Brut Nature Gran Reserva Cava 2014  Front Label
    Vins el Cep Claror Brut Nature Gran Reserva Cava 2014
    Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
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  • Avinyo Cava Reserva Brut Nature 2015  Front Label
    Avinyo Cava Reserva Brut Nature 2015
    Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
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    • Vins el Cep Gelida Brut Reserva Pinot Noir Rose 2016  Front Label
      Vins el Cep Gelida Brut Reserva Pinot Noir Rose 2016
      Sparkling Rosé from Cava, Spain
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      • Vins el Cep Gelida Brut Gran Reserva 2016  Front Label
        Vins el Cep Gelida Brut Gran Reserva 2016
        Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
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      • Mont-Marcal Cava Brut Reserva 2017  Front Label
        Mont-Marcal Cava Brut Reserva 2017
        Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
        • WS89
        3.6 23 Ratings
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      • Vins el Cep Kila Cava Brut 2018  Front Label
        Vins el Cep Kila Cava Brut 2018
        Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
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      • Caves Roger Goulart Organic Reserva Brut Cava 2018  Front Label
        Caves Roger Goulart Organic Reserva Brut Cava 2018
        Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
        • JS92
        4.9 6 Ratings
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      • Avinyo Cava Brut Reserva Rose 2018  Front Label
        Avinyo Cava Brut Reserva Rose 2018
        Sparkling Rosé from Cava, Spain
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        • Avinyo Cava Brut Reserva 2018  Front Label
          Avinyo Cava Brut Reserva 2018
          Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
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          • Codorniu Anna de Codorniu Cava Blanc de Blancs  Front Label
            Codorniu Anna de Codorniu Cava Blanc de Blancs
            Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
            • JS91
            • TP90
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          • Caves Roger Goulart Coral Brut Rose Cava  Front Label
            Caves Roger Goulart Coral Brut Rose Cava
            Sparkling Rosé from Cava, Spain
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            • Codorniu Clasico Cava Brut  Front Label
              Codorniu Clasico Cava Brut
              Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
                3.7 36 Ratings
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              • Campo Viejo Cava Brut Rose Front Label
                Campo Viejo Cava Brut Rose
                Sparkling Rosé from Cava, Spain
                • WW89
                4.0 67 Ratings
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              • Poema Cava Brut Front Label
                Poema Cava Brut
                Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
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                • Codorniu Anna de Codorniu Cava Brut Rose Front Label
                  Codorniu Anna de Codorniu Cava Brut Rose
                  Sparkling Rosé from Cava, Spain
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                • CVNE Cava  Front Label
                  CVNE Cava
                  Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
                  • WW89
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                • Casteller Cava Brut Front Label
                  Casteller Cava Brut
                  Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
                  • WW89
                  4.2 33 Ratings
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                • Mercat Cava Brut Nature Front Label
                  Mercat Cava Brut Nature
                  Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
                  • W&S92
                  • RP91
                  3.9 72 Ratings
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                • Camps d'Estels Cava Nature Front Label
                  Camps d'Estels Cava Nature
                  Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
                    3.4 12 Ratings
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                  • Clos Amador Cava Brut Delicat Reserva Front Label
                    Clos Amador Cava Brut Delicat Reserva
                    Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
                      4.3 31 Ratings
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                    • Clos Amador Cava Tendre Rose Front Label
                      Clos Amador Cava Tendre Rose
                      Sparkling Rosé from Cava, Spain
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                      • Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava Brut  Front Label
                        Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava Brut
                        Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
                        • WW88
                        4.1 533 Ratings
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                      • Sangre de Toro Cava  Front Label
                        Sangre de Toro Cava
                        Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine from Cava, Spain
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                        • Segura Viudas Cava Brut Rose  Front Label
                          Segura Viudas Cava Brut Rose
                          Sparkling Rosé from Cava, Spain
                          • TP93
                          3.9 212 Ratings
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