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Sep 1, 2017

Named from the stone cellars (cavas) in which the wine is matured, Cava is Spain's premier sparkling wine but it has a lot of quirks and variations, all of which we discuss in the podcast. From unique grapes to diverse sourcing areas to a new top tier classification, we cover it all. Hopefully the show will give you insight into why this wine is so special and why it holds so much potential for becoming even better! 

Here are the show notes:

Overview of regions and grapes:

  • Cava is from Catalonia and other regions – 95% in Penedes, Sant Sadurni d’Anoia – home of the largest producers like Codorníu and Freixenet, Seguras Viudas
    • Other areas – Rioja, Navarra, Valencia, Aragon, Basque Country, Castilla y Leon, and a few more
    • Most have Mediterranean climate, moderate rain and vienyards are at altitude
  • The wine is made as white or rosado
    • White grapes: Macabeo (most used, also called Viura), Parellada, Xarel-lo, Chardonnay
    • Red grapes: Garnacha, Monastrell, Pinot Noir
  • Because the grapes are mainly native ones, you can’t compare the flavors to Champagne except in production methods
    • Made like Champagne
    • Same sweetness levels of Champagne in order of driest to sweetest: Brut Nature, Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Seco, Seco, Semiseco, Dulce 

History:

  • First made in 1851
  • Josep Raventos traveled through Europe in 1860s – shilling Cordorniu’s wines (married into the family) but thought Spain could make its own Champagne.Made his own in 1872.  
  • For the first century of their existence, the wines were called Champaña. 1970s -- international laws,enforced and the wine became Cava.
  • Top brands:
    • Raventós i Blanc
    • Gramona (organic)
    • Recaredo (biodynamic)
    • Mestres
    • Bohigas
    • Castellroig
  • New top classification for the category, the Cava de Paraje Calificado.
    • Only vintage dated, only single vineyard – like a burgundy climat
    • Other specifications around acidification, aging levels

The first 12 Cava de Parade sites and their owners:

  • Vinyes de Can Martí – Torelló
  • Turó d’en Mota – Recaredo
  • Serral del Vell – Recaredo
  • Vallcirera – Alta Alella
  • La Capella – Juvé i Camps
  • Can Sala – Freixenet
  • La Pleta – Codorníu
  • El Tros Nou – Codorníu
  • La Fideuera – Codorníu
  • Can Prats – Vins el Cep
  • Font de Jui – Gramona
  • Terroja – Castellroig