Cava Wine: “Spanish Champagne”

Cava wine what is cava wine?

Source: Wikimedia Commons

What is Cava wine?

Cava wine was once called “Spanish Champagne,” a term now prohibited under European law (though that doesn’t stop the locals from calling it champán). Cava is produced the same way as its French counterpart, but with different grapes.

Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine produced mainly in Catalonia. It’s predominately enjoyed white (blanc), but a growing number of remarkable Rosés are now being produced. Cava has to be made in the traditional method and originate in Catalonia to boast Cava DO status.

Interestingly, Cava is more akin to Champagne than Prosecco, and cheaper than both. Cava is lower in sugar than even Prosseco, so it’s the perfect choice for the calorie and cost-conscious consumer. If you want to bag a low-cost, low-carb sparkling wine, Cava is the perfect choice!

Types of Cava wine


  • Brut Nature: very little residual sugar. 0-3 g/l
  • Extra Brut: 06 g/l residual sugar
  • Brut: 0-12 g/l residual sugar
  • Semi Seco/Extra Dry: 12-17 g/l residual sugar

Cava Rosé

Cava is made solely with native white grape varieties, so Rosé Cava needs red grapes thrown into the mix to add that pink hue and extra flavor we all know and love. Various grapes are added to imbue hue and floral, fruity notes.

Vintage and aged Cava wine (Reserva and Gran Reserva)

Cava is best known as a lively young aperitif. However, high-quality aged Cavas are becoming more common. Vintage/aged Cavas ooze a complex body with toasted notes of apple and nuts. Cava producers look to France for inspiration in making a proper aged sparkling wine. Following French viticulture, Spanish vintners often age Cava made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, both classic Champagne grapes.

Cava Wine Grape Varieties

  • Macabeau (white grape)
  • Parellada (white grape)
  • Xarel-lo (white grape

Rosé Cava is produced with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Garnacha, and Monastrell to give Cava a pink hue and robust, fruity flavor.

What does Cava wine taste like?

  • Dry, light-bodied
  • Fresh citrusy flavor
  • Crisp finish

Macabeu, or Viura as it’s known in the Spanish wine region of Rioja, is the king of Cava wine grapes. With all the hype, you’d think Macabeau would offer world-class complexity and taste on its own. But it’s actually a relatively simple grape with light floral aromas, zesty flavor, and a bitter finish reminiscent of almonds. The lesser of the common Cava wine grapes, Xarel-lo, is a much more dynamic fruit rich in floral aromas and flavors of lemon and pear. Parellada boasts a penetrating acidity and bold citrus flavors. Alone, these grapes leave too little or too much to be desired. But together, now that’s where the Cava magic happens. The Cava menage e trois materializes a balanced and fruity sparkling wine less dulcet than Prosecca but younger tasting than an aged Champagne.

Cava wine what is Cava wine?

A vineyard near Penedes, Catalonia, Spain. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Where is Cava made?

True Cava bears the Cava DO label. Cava is made throughout Spain, but the majority is produced in the region of Penedes (just down the road from Barcelona) and the Ebro River Valley in Rioja. About 95 percent of Cava is produced in Penedes, with the village of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia boasting a large number of the region’s Cava houses. As of this writing, nearly 200 vintners are registered with the Cava Consejo Regulador, Spain’s Cava regulatory body.

How should I enjoy Cava wine?

Which food goes well with Cava wine?

Like all sparkling wines, Cava goes well with a variety of food pairings. Its crisp, zesty flavor and bright finish cut through rich foods without diminishing your favorite dish’s flavor. ¡Buen Provecho!

Cava, brought to you by the robot …

Ever wonder why Cava is so affordable? The answer is in the machine. Spanish winemakers have nearly automated the entire Cava industry. Everything is automated, from growing and harvesting to bottling and storing.

Cava wine to try

Cava wine what is Cava wine?

Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava Brut – $10

Cava wine what is Cava wine?

Poema Cava Extra Dry – $9

Cava wine what is Cava wine?

Campo Viejo Cava Brut Rose – $14

Cava wine what is Cava wine?

Gramona La Cuvee Cava 2013 – $22