Spain's sparkler Cava is a superb aperitif and dessert treat that won't bust the piggy bank. A succulent summer sensation that is a bright, citrusy delight, offers crisp apple freshness that's a patio or picnic-sipping favorite.
Meaning "cellar," Cava is Spain's alternative to Champagne. Similar to Champagne, Cava uses the "Champenoise method" for production and must undergo a secondary fermentation in the bottle. This creates carbon dioxide aka: bubbles.
Available in vintage and non-vintage, it is categorized by sweetness and aging - ranging from Extra Brut (bone dry) to Sweet. While standard Cava must spend nine months fermenting, "Gran Reserva" must age for at least 30 months in the bottle.
Cava is tends to be a tad earthier and less frothy than its French cousin. Unlike Champagne, which is produced from a combination of white and red grapes (often Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Cava is made from solely white grapes, giving it its unique ab-fab flavor. Also, You can get a great Cava for $10-20.
The second largest sparkling wine producer in the world, behind France, Spain owes its popping prowess to wine enthusiast Josep Raventos. In 1872, Raventos, a Spaniard from Cataluña, independently produced 3,000 bottles of top quality sparkling wine. Today, Cava is produced in various regions of Spain, but is still most crafted in Cataluña. Let's go!
Cristalino Brut Cava, NV
Its golden bubbly body delights the senses with crisp bake apple and pear flavors. This fantastic yet, frugal sipper has lip-smacking liveliness that's great with fruit, smoked salmon, grilled chicken and even apple pie.
Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava, NV
This light-bodied, pale straw yellow bubbly sports lively, somewhat large bubbles that tickle your nose and teases your tastebuds. Hints of tart granny smith apple and lemon make it crisp sipper that pairs nicely with shrimp, oysters, crunchy green things and lemony chix or fish.
Montsarra NV Cava Brut
Pale and crisp with overt fruitiness and never-ending bubbles, this sprightly Cava is a terrific way to kick off a summer's afternoon or paired with crustaceans, chicken and flavorful cheeses.
Mont-Marcal Cava Brut, Reserva
Aged to elegance, this Cava shines with creamy stone fruit and apple with energetic acidity that makes it a delightful aperitif or dinner partner with roasted fish, fowl or pork.
Stefani Jackenthal, President of NTS Wine Tasting LLC and author of WANDERLUST WINING, a fun, delicious guide to outdoor activities in wine regions across the USA. She crafts private & corporate wine tastings and teaches wine classes at 92y.org. www.stefjack.com * www.wanderlustwining.com www.facebook.com/wanderlust.wining *Twitter: @stefjackenthal