Cava wine facts and information
Cava wines are sparkling wines made in the same tradition as those of Champagne. After the wine undergoes fermentation it is poured into heavy-duty wine bottles. The winemaker adds a mixture of sugar and yeast to the wine so that the wine will undergo a second fermentation. The bottle is then capped. Because the bottle is capped, carbon dioxide gas (product of fermentation) is trapped in the bottle. These are the bubbles in sparkling wine.
Cava literally means underground cellar.
Most of Spain’s Cava wine is made in the Penedes wine region just south of Barcelona.
The three most commonly used grapes in Cava are ones seldom used elsewhere to make sparkling wine. They are Macabeo (Viura), Xarello, and Parellada. Chardonnay is beginning to be used more as some vineyards have been replanted with the Chardonnay grape.
There are different styles of Cava sparkling wine based on the level of sugar present in the wine. These are most common:
- Brut Nature – up to 3 grams of sugar, not added sugar
- Brut – up to 12 grams of sugar per lit
- Seco (dry) – between 17 and 32 grams of sugar per litre
- Semiseco (semi-dry) – between 32 and 50 grams of sugar per litre
- Dulce (sweet) – more than 50 grams of sugar per litre
Once the Cava wine is bottled it will age for various months depending on its quality level. The entry leve wines are aged for 9 to 15 months. The very best wines are aged for 30 months or more and are labeled Gran Reserva.
While sitting in in Barcelona Tapas bar, if you want to sip Cava, simply say to the server, Cava por favor. Usually you will be served a small bottle of Cava or by the glass.