Cava

  (KAH-vah)
Synonyms: Spanish sparkling wine, champán or champaña, but by agreement with the European Union it should not be called Spanish Champagne

Wine Name: Cava, Cava Rosado, Cordon Negro, Codorniu

Background: Cava is the Spanish word for cave or cellar which is where traditional aging of the wine takes place. Cava has been in production in Spain’s Penedes region near Barcelona using the traditional method for Champagne production since the 1870’s. In order to be labelled Cava the wine must undergo the 2nd fermentation in the bottle, be disgorged and had added dosage to the bottle as is done in the Champagne region of France. The grapes used, however, are the Spanish Macabeo, Parellada and Xarello rather than Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Rosé Cava is made by adding small amounts of Monastrell, Garnacha or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cava is very popular at any celebrations such as baptisms, marriages, banquets, dinners and especially Christmas parties. It has developed a place as a very affordable alternative to Champagne.

Classic Brands and Sources: Codorniu, Freixenet, Segura Viudas, Jaume Serra Cristalino

Characteristics:

Brut Nature

Body – light

Acidity – dry

Sweetness – dry – no added sugar < 3 g/l

Tannins – low

Extra Brut

Body – light

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry < 6 g/l

Tannins – low

Brut

Body – light

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry <15 g/l

Tannins – low

Extra Seco/Extra Dry

Body – medium (-)

Acidity – medium (+)

Sweetness – off dry 12-20 g/l

Tannins – low

Seco/Dry

Body – medium (-)

Acidity – medium to medium (+)

Sweetness – semi-sweet 17-35 g/l

Tannins – low

Semi Seco/Semi Dry

Body – medium

Acidity – medium

Sweetness – semi-sweet 33-50 g/l

Tannins – low

Dulce/Sweet

Body – full

Acidity – perceived as low

Sweetness – sweet > 50 g/l

Tannins – low


Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Often consummed on its own without food. With food, the dryer styles go well with fish, shellfish and lighter meat dishes with acidic sauces. Sweeter versions can go with heavier dishes that have spice or hotness or sweetness.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
Dry styles – light fish, shellfish, chicken, pork with citrus-based sauces
Off dry styles – chicken, pork, veal with spicier sauces, Pacific rim foods, Mexican foods
Semi-sweet, sweet styles – dessert dishes
Rosé dry or off dry styles – beef and lamb dishes and dishes with slight spiciness

Cheese Pairings:
dry – Brie with rind, Brin D’Amour, Camembert with rind, Emmental, Feta, Garroxta, most goat cheeses, Muenster, Raclette, Reblochon, Saint-Nectaire, Swiss, Vacherin
off dry – Brick, Colby, Double Glouster, Edam, Fontina, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Gruyère, Havarti, Langres, Vermont Shepard
sweet – any rich cheese, blue cheeses, “cheese cake”