Wines that Rock: Cava - For a Good Time
Every time people hear that trademark pop of a cork from a bottle of sparkling wine, their eyes widen, their smiles broaden, and they gasp a collective "Wahey!" in celebration for what they are about to partake in. Their is something magical about sparkling wine that allows us to throw caution to the wind, that helps us overcome our inhibitions and dance till dawn. Sparkling wine is all about celebration, about partying, about ringing in the new and casting aside the old. When it comes to sparkling wine, the Spanish have a thing or two up their sleeves, because they know how to celebrate life, to live life to the fullest, and party until dawn. That is what makes Cava a wine that rocks!
Cava is made using the same traditional method used in making Champagne, only it uses different grapes hailing from Paredes in Spain. The grapes used in making Cava are Macebeo, Xarello, and Parellada, each adding its own character to the wine. All in all it makes for a wine that is a little bit fruitier than Champagne, not quite as dry, and not as acidic either. Its a livelier drink, with flavors spreading or combining orange, lemon, apricot, and almonds.
How to tell GOOD Cava from the "meh"
There are three quality levels used to discern how good a Cava is:
- Cava (Standard) - Aged for at least 9 months before release, similar to a Brut champagne and never carries a vintage.
- Reserva - Aged for at least 15 months, also similar to a Brut but slightly better than the standard. Usually wont carry a vintage.
- Gran Reserva - Aged at least 30 months this is the best of the best.
One of the amazing things about Cava, is that even the Gran Reserva still tops out at around $30, making it as accessible as it is delicious. Its just meant to be shared amongst friends, marking the good times and getting the party going. What more could you ask for from a culture that has such a zest for life as the Spaniards do? They seem to laugh at pretentiousness, but revel in the simple pleasure of making something good, crafting something worthwhile for others to enjoy. The same is true for all their wines, but in Cava they seem to do that little bit extra. Cava becomes an expression of the culture.
So what is Cava for? For celebrating, like every sparkling wine. Cava is for ringing in the New Year, as much as it is for saying thank you to your friends. Cava is for starting the night off right, or toasting your loved one on their birthday. Cava is for smiling, for laughing, and for having fun, and you cannot hold back the moment you hear that signature pop.