Spotlight on Cava: Outstanding Bubbles, Astonishing Value
Cava is Spain’s iconic sparkling wine. The wine was first produced in the mid-1800s and is attributed to Josep Raventó who promoted the wine throughout Europe in the 1870s.
At that time Cava was only produced in the town of San Sadurní de Noya in Catalonia. Today, however, Cava is produced throughout Spain including the regions of Aragon, Navarra, Rioja, Pais Vasco, Valencia, and Extremadura, but Catalonia remains the primary producer of the wine. Catalonia, along with the other regions, has a Mediterranean climate with roughly 40 inches of rain per year. The winters in the area tend to be mild and the summers hot. During the summer month’s it is not uncommon for the day-to-nighttime temperature swing to differ by 15°F.
How Cava is Made
Cava is made as both a bianco and rosado. For the bianco, Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo are traditionally used with Macabeo making up roughly 50% of the grape blend. The rosado is often a blend of Pinot Noir and Monastrell, along with a few other varieties. The wine must be made via Saignée method; blending is not allowed.
Cava is made using the “Méthode Champenoise” or Traditional Method. After harvesting, the grapes are sorted and soft pressed. Primary fermentation can take place in stainless steel or oak barrels depending on the winemaker’s desires. The wine then undergoes assemblage and secondary fermentation in the bottle. Cava must age on the lees for at least nine months and have a final alcohol level of 10-13%.
Cava Brut Wine Profile
Cava is noted for its unique earthy flavors that come from the Xarel-lo grape. In addition, Cava has the same richness and complexity that is associated with wines made using the Traditional Method. On the palate, this wine has bracing acidity and distinctive minerality. The wine’s perlage tends towards a smooth and creamy mouthfeel.
In 2020 Cava had 38,151 hectares of registered vineyard surface
In 2020 there were 209 registered Cava producers in Spain with nearly 18 million 9-liter cases produced
In 2020 and 2019 Germany, the United Kingdom, Belguim, the United States, and Japan were the top five export markets for Cava
With the 2020 vintage, new production regulations have been implemented including the maximum yield was lowered from 12 to 10 metric tonnes per hectare and all bottlings will be vintage or multi vintage dated
By Empson USA Staff | Jun 2021
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