Cava to Toast With

Spain's answer to Champagne


Cava is Spain’s answer to Champagne. A homegrown sparkler that undergoes secondary fermentation in the bottle, just like Champagne, Cava is increasingly recognized for its high quality and fine value. It is at the same time being seen for what it is, a unique wine with its own personality. A personality that doesn’t necessarily benefit from the constant comparisons to Champagne (Sorry Cava!).

The main difference between the two wines is the blend, for while Cava can be made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it has traditionally relied on the indigenous grapes Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo. These varieties tend to give Cava a crisper, earthier character than many Champagnes.

Another trait that the two wines share is the wide variety of sweetness levels that each type offers to consumers. From Brut Nature to Dulce, there is a wine for every palate and every occasion.

Photo courtesy cyclonebill via Flickr/CC

Campos de Estrellas Estate Cava Brut 11.5%

This is fairly intense and fruity on the nose, with lovely layered dry fruit and spice notes all blossoming out of the glass. A little coconut, a little banana and some angel food cake all make this really enticing on the nose. Really lovely mouth feel here as well with fine mousse, just a hint of creaminess and rich fruit flavors. Apple and baked peach fruit are wrapped up in lovely spice and soft, old wood-like tones leading to an elegant, slightly steely finish. 91pts

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Aria Brut Pinot Noir Cava 12.5%

Red currant, dried lemon peel and watermelon notes join together on the nose here, followed by a luscious palate. Creamy, broad and rather refined, showing woodsy red fruits with are lightly toned but sweet, with raspberry and red currant nuances that lead to a very fine, bracing, slightly tannic finish. Shows excellent purity to the fruit and fine persistence aided by a hint of sweetness. Fruity and elegant. 90pts

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Cava Parxet Brut Cuvee 21 11.5%

Herbal and earthy on the nose, with a nice honeycomb core under layered notes of dried follows and dried citrus fruit. Fine mousse combines with just a hint of sweetness here to make for a mouth filling wine that shows good complexity. Its earthy, faintly peachy, dried apple tones lead to a lightly citrussy finale of good length. 89pts

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Freixenet Brut Nature Vintage Reserva 2008 12%

Lime, herb and sandy soil tones on the nose are focused and bright, underlain with acacia and yeast tones. Finely textured in the mouth, this has a relatively fine mousse and shows a lovely interplay of citrus and mineral elements. More winery than many Cavas, the finish is very cleansing, showing a real steely edge and fine citrus and pollen notes. 89pts

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Saniger by Loxarol Brut Cava Reserva 11.5%

Rather subtle on the nose, with clear lemon notes framed with hints of pollen and heathery honey. Very fine mousse and balance here. This has a nice innate richness, with bright ripe flavors of apple, berry and a touch of fig on the mid-palate. The balance teeters between the touch of sweetness and the strength of interplay between mineral/acid/and a slightly medicinal bitterness. Wow, this is exceptionally drinkable and really just plain lovely. 89pts

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