Spanish Cava

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Perhaps the best value anywhere when it comes to reasonably priced, and even at times surprisingly low cost, sparkling wines are the Cavas of Spain. Produced using the same labor and time-intensive methods as the true Champagnes of France and blending primarily signature Spanish grape varietals, Cavas are most commonly dry or very dry, crisp and balanced - perfect as a refreshing cocktail wine, aperitif, for celebrations and with lighter foods.

The term Cava is actually representative of its proud D.O. (Denominacion de Origen) that is granted by the governing body Cava Consejo Regulador; and while European regulations require that D.O.s have specific geographical boundries, D.O. Cava is not one continuous region but rather 159 separate pieces of land encompassing villages spread across very different parts of Spain.  Cava had at one time been called Champan, the Spanish term for Champagne, but French legal actions resulted in that terms being allowed only for wines made in their own Champagne region.

Since 1994, the term Metodo Tradicional (Traditional Method) is used to indicate that the wines have had their secondary fermentation, which creates the bubbles, in the bottle, as opposed to the less costly bulk or "charmat" method.  There is a 9-month minimum aging period for the wine in its bottle stipulated by the Consejo Regulador.  The D.O. Cava also limits the allowable grape varietals to Macabeo (also called Viura), Parellada, and Xarel-lo, as well as Chardonnay and Subirat for whites; and Garnacha Tinta, Monestrell, Trepat, and Pinot Noir for red varieties (used in the rose versions of Cava).

Given the wide range of municipalities producing Cava, the soils and climates can vary quite a bit, but the individual wineries across the country take an enormous amount of pride in their varietal blends and precise production techniques to ensure consistent and delightful results.  Consumers worldwide simply like Cava regardless of the season, and its affordability relative to its quality is a real bonus.