Today I want to talk about Cava! What better subject on a … Monday? (Or any day!)
I have a feeling there is a conception from people outside of Spain that Cava is not really as good as Champagne, that the quality is bad and that Cava is just “cheap champagne”. Am I right?
But did you know that Cava is the Spanish version of Champagne and that it is made with exactly the same procedures as Champagne? When they started making Cava, they used the same method and even the same grapes. They actually called it Spanish Champagne, but it was later prohibited as Champagne has Protected Geographical Status in the EU. In other words, Champagne can only be labeled as such if it comes from the designated region Champagne in France.
The name cava comes from cave or cellar, which is where the Spanish Champagne was produced, preserved or aged. Cava became the new name of Spanish Champagne.
About 95% of all Cava produced in Spain is produced in Catalunya, and the Cava is very popular there. It is used for all sorts of festive occasions, and you are basically the one to decide what’s festive enough for popping a bottle. I love this! In Norway sparkling wine (what we call it mostly) is saved for special occasions and not used a lot. I love the Catalan spirit of it!
The production of Cava goes all the way back to the 1860’s. After having visited the Champagne region, Josep Raventos was inspired to see if a similar product could be made in Spain. And the rest is history.
There is one main "cavatown" in Catalunya, Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, a quaint little town with about 80 different cava producers. 80! I can’t quite wrap my head around such a number, in such a small town. The town centre is small, but as soon as you step outside, all you see is acres upon acres of vineyards. Beautiful!
Walking around the town, most big buildings have some connection with Cava, names of
families and producers.
|Colloquially, many Spaniards simply call cava "Champan"(Spanish), or "Xampany" (Catalan)|
The main grapes used for Cava production today is Macabeo, Parellada and Xarello, where each one bring characteristics to the table that complement the others.
- -Macabeo gives sweetness and perfume
- -Parellada gives freshness and aroma
- -Xarello gives body and structure.
Cava is produced by the traditional method of a secondary fermentation in the same bottle the wine is sold, and that is how the bubbles are formed naturally.
Cava is cheaper than Champagne, but not necessarily less good. There are several factors making French Champagne more expensive and it's not all about quality. Give Cava a try and tell me what you think! Go for a "Brut Nature" or a "Reserva" and you shouldn't be dissapointed.
I have visited both Codorníu and Freixenet, and it was the most wonderful experiences. Wine production is oh so exotic to me, coming from cold Norway. I enjoyed these visits like a kid in a candy store. Posts from both cava producers are coming up!
|The "car-stoppers" (I think I just invented a word? Don't know it in English!) in Sant Sadurni d'Anoia are cava corks!|
The little Cava-town, Sant Sadurní d'Anoia can
be reached by train from Barcelona,
it’s only about 45 minutes away.
Absolutely worth a visit!