Cava

Cava

Enjoy Cava

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Cava

Types of Cava

Depending on the ageing

  • Cava. From 9 months aging
    • Fruity, with a lively bubble and touches of fresh grass.  Light and sparkly, with a structured taste.
  • Reserva. From 15 months aging
    • Lively and brilliant. Fine and crisp bubbles. Aromas which remind one of nuts and dried fruits. With character.
  • Gran Reserva. From 30 months aging
    • Ample, meaty and elegant. Integrated bubble. Aromas which remind one of bread, cocoa, nuts and dried fruits.
  • Cava de Paraje Calificado. From 36 months aging
    • With a unique personality. Elaborated with grapes from small vineyards with unique climate and soil (edaphological) conditions.

Depending on the content of sugar

  • Brut Nature: Up to 3 g/l (no sugar added)
  • Extra Brut: Up to 6 g/l
  • Brut: Up to 12 g/l
  • Extra Seco: Between 12 and 17 g/l
  • Seco: Between 17 and 32 g/l
  • Semi Seco: Between 32 and 50 g/l
  • Dulce: More than 50 g/l

Cava

Cava Making

There are several types of sparkling wine, but only the best quality ones contain carbonic gas which comes from a second fermentation in the bottle.  The posterior aging process which characterizes them permits the development of their organoleptic qualities which become more complex as time goes on.

Cava, in the same way as the other great sparkling wines in the world, is elaborated following the ‘Traditional Method’, which means that the creation of the foam happens inside each one of the bottles which repose in the caves during the aging process.

The harvest

A good harvest is not only the result of the care that the vine has received during the year. It also depends on the moment and in which way the grapes are collected.

The variables which affect the correct quality of the grape when it reaches the winery are mainly: a perfect state of ripeness, healthy vines, the collection system and the rapid and careful transportation of the grape from the vineyard to the winery. The main Cava varieties are: Macabeu, Xarel.lo and Parellada.  However, Cava can also be elaborated with the following varieties; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Subirat Parent, Grenage, Monastrell and Trepat.

The Cava harvest starts in the middle of August with the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varieties and continues until the end of September with the rest of the varieties.

The harvest

A good harvest is not only the result of the care that the vine has received during the year. It also depends on the moment and in which way the grapes are collected.

The variables which affect the correct quality of the grape when it reaches the winery are mainly: a perfect state of ripeness, healthy vines, the collection system and the rapid and careful transportation of the grape from the vineyard to the winery. The main Cava varieties are: Macabeu, Xarel.lo and Parellada.  However, Cava can also be elaborated with the following varieties; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Subirat Parent, Grenage, Monastrell and Trepat.

The Cava harvest starts in the middle of August with the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varieties and continues until the end of September with the rest of the varieties.

The pressing process

Once the grapes have been unloaded in the reception hopper, the stems are removed and the pressing begins, breaking the grape skin and facilitating the extraction of the must. In this process the integrity of the pips are respected at all times as well as the solid parts of the grape to avoid the extraction of any plant aromas.  Finally, the grapes are pressed to extract the must from the grape mass which has been pressed.  This process usually takes place in pneumatic presses which operate with very light pressure.

To elaborate Cava, only the best quality must is used called the ‘flower must’, which comes from the first part of the pressing process. To this end the Cava Denomination determines that for each kilo of grape only a maximum of 0.67 liters of wine for Cava can be used.  Each of the grape varieties is pressed and vinified separately, and then mixed together after the first fermentation.

The pressing process

Once the grapes have been unloaded in the reception hopper, the stems are removed and the pressing begins, breaking the grape skin and facilitating the extraction of the must. In this process the integrity of the pips are respected at all times as well as the solid parts of the grape to avoid the extraction of any plant aromas.  Finally, the grapes are pressed to extract the must from the grape mass which has been pressed.  This process usually takes place in pneumatic presses which operate with very light pressure.

To elaborate Cava, only the best quality must is used called the ‘flower must’, which comes from the first part of the pressing process. To this end the Cava Denomination determines that for each kilo of grape only a maximum of 0.67 liters of wine for Cava can be used.  Each of the grape varieties is pressed and vinified separately, and then mixed together after the first fermentation.

The first fermentation: the base wine

The most important transformation of the must during this process to convert it into wine, is the fermentation. This process is originated by a certain type of yeast, the Saccharomyces Cerevesiae, which transforms the glucose present in the must into various components, among them, alcohol (Ethanol).

Once finalized the first fermentation, the wines go through the racking process (the separation of the wine from the solids deposited at the bottom of fermentation vats) and the clarification process, to eliminate the last remaining suspended particles and leave the wine totally clear.

The first fermentation: the base wine

The most important transformation of the must during this process to convert it into wine, is the fermentation. This process is originated by a certain type of yeast, the Saccharomyces Cerevesiae, which transforms the glucose present in the must into various components, among them, alcohol (Ethanol).

Once finalized the first fermentation, the wines go through the racking process (the separation of the wine from the solids deposited at the bottom of fermentation vats) and the clarification process, to eliminate the last remaining suspended particles and leave the wine totally clear.

The second fermentation: the ‘tirage liqueur’

Once the wines are totally clear, the enologist starts the coupage (mixing of the base wines) process which allows him to define the profile or style of the Cavas he wants to elaborate. After this the tirage starts which consists in filling the bottles with the base wine to which the so called ‘tirage liqueur’ is added (a kind of syrup prepared with wine and sugar) along with the yeasts which make the second fermentation happen, with the object of creating foam in these same bottles.

There are various types of sparkling wines in the world, but the ones which are considered the highest quality are the ones which are elaborated following this ‘traditional method’ (which in the old days was known as ‘the Champenoise method’). Cava is one of these. The wines are characterized by the existence of carbonic gas coming from the second fermentation which occurs in each one of the bottles resting in the cave during months or years allowing them to gain complexity.

The second fermentation: the ‘tirage liqueur’

Once the wines are totally clear, the enologist starts the coupage (mixing of the base wines) process which allows him to define the profile or style of the Cavas he wants to elaborate. After this the tirage starts which consists in filling the bottles with the base wine to which the so called ‘tirage liqueur’ is added (a kind of syrup prepared with wine and sugar) along with the yeasts which make the second fermentation happen, with the object of creating foam in these same bottles.

There are various types of sparkling wines in the world, but the ones which are considered the highest quality are the ones which are elaborated following this ‘traditional method’ (which in the old days was known as ‘the Champenoise method’). Cava is one of these. The wines are characterized by the existence of carbonic gas coming from the second fermentation which occurs in each one of the bottles resting in the cave during months or years allowing them to gain complexity.

The aging process

Once the bottling is completed, the bottles are laid in a horizontal position in the deepest part of the Caves, stacked in rimes where the natural second fermentation process begins immediately.

During the aging process, the yeasts are in contact with the Cava bringing interesting aromatic characteristics.  The atmosphere in the underground caves is dark and humid and has a constant temperature which doesn’t rise above 15 degrees.

From 18 months onwards approximately, an exclusive phenomenon pertaining to great quality sparkling wine begins, the autolysis, where the yeasts which make up the lees begin to give up components to the Cava, bringing the tertiary or the aging aromas (dry fruits, toasts, bread, toffee, caramel, etc.) characteristic of long aged Cavas.

The aging process

Once the bottling is completed, the bottles are laid in a horizontal position in the deepest part of the Caves, stacked in rimes where the natural second fermentation process begins immediately.

During the aging process, the yeasts are in contact with the Cava bringing interesting aromatic characteristics.  The atmosphere in the underground caves is dark and humid and has a constant temperature which doesn’t rise above 15 degrees.

From 18 months onwards approximately, an exclusive phenomenon pertaining to great quality sparkling wine begins, the autolysis, where the yeasts which make up the lees begin to give up components to the Cava, bringing the tertiary or the aging aromas (dry fruits, toasts, bread, toffee, caramel, etc.) characteristic of long aged Cavas.

The riddling process

Once the aging process is finished, the riddling process begins.  This technique consists in moving the sediments (yeast remains) caused by the second fermentation up to the neck of the bottle. This can be done mechanically or by hand.

In the manual riddling, the bottles are organized in an inclining position in the ‘pupitre’ rack, where they are moved by hand one eighth with a turning movement, and, at the same time, the lean of the bottle is accentuated.  This process can last between two to three weeks.  The mechanical riddling is done in giro-pallets.  In this case the process is much faster and is completed in 24 to 48 hours. The riddling process is done to move the lees (dead yeast) so that they become concentrated in the bottle neck, leaving the wine completely clean and brilliant.

The riddling process

Once the aging process is finished, the riddling process begins.  This technique consists in moving the sediments (yeast remains) caused by the second fermentation up to the neck of the bottle. This can be done mechanically or by hand.

In the manual riddling, the bottles are organized in an inclining position in the ‘pupitre’ rack, where they are moved by hand one eighth with a turning movement, and, at the same time, the lean of the bottle is accentuated.  This process can last between two to three weeks.  The mechanical riddling is done in giro-pallets.  In this case the process is much faster and is completed in 24 to 48 hours. The riddling process is done to move the lees (dead yeast) so that they become concentrated in the bottle neck, leaving the wine completely clean and brilliant.

The disgorge

This consist in the elimination of the sediments coming from the second fermentation, allowing a small quantity of foam to escape which takes with it the rest of the yeasts. The disgorge, as in the riddling process, can either be done manually or mechanically.

When done by hand, a tilt movement is made at different times finally allowing the extraction of the stopper.  The internal pressure itself ejects the sediment accumulated in the bottle neck.  This form of disgorge takes a lot of experience and know how.

The mechanical disgorge consists in freezing the bottle neck in order to be able to eject more easily the rest of the yeast which is frozen.

The disgorge

This consist in the elimination of the sediments coming from the second fermentation, allowing a small quantity of foam to escape which takes with it the rest of the yeasts. The disgorge, as in the riddling process, can either be done manually or mechanically.

When done by hand, a tilt movement is made at different times finally allowing the extraction of the stopper.  The internal pressure itself ejects the sediment accumulated in the bottle neck.  This form of disgorge takes a lot of experience and know how.

The mechanical disgorge consists in freezing the bottle neck in order to be able to eject more easily the rest of the yeast which is frozen.

The dosage, the corking and the labelling

Following this and depending on the type of Cava being elaborated (Brut, dry, sweet, etc.) the dosage (liqueur de expedition) is added. In the case of the Cava Brut Nature, dosage is not added, but only a little amount of the same cava in order to make up for the small quantity lost in the disgorging process.

For the most part, the dosages used are made up of sugars and base wines. On some occasions which depend on the decision of the producer, this dosage can also be made up of wines aged in barrels and even of distilled liqueurs from wine origin.

Once the sediment has been extracted and the dosage added, the final stopper is placed on the bottle: the cork. To finish, the capsule is fitted, the label put on and the control stamp of the DO Cava before the bottle is finally ready to leave the winery.

The dosage, the corking and the labelling

Following this and depending on the type of Cava being elaborated (Brut, dry, sweet, etc.) the dosage (liqueur de expedition) is added. In the case of the Cava Brut Nature, dosage is not added, but only a little amount of the same cava in order to make up for the small quantity lost in the disgorging process.

For the most part, the dosages used are made up of sugars and base wines. On some occasions which depend on the decision of the producer, this dosage can also be made up of wines aged in barrels and even of distilled liqueurs from wine origin.

Once the sediment has been extracted and the dosage added, the final stopper is placed on the bottle: the cork. To finish, the capsule is fitted, the label put on and the control stamp of the DO Cava before the bottle is finally ready to leave the winery.

Cava

History of Cava

Cava, as it is known today, pays homage to all of those whom with their efforts have contributed to it becoming an exceptional wine.

We would like you to take a voyage back in time with us in order to discover the history of cava from its origins to the present day.

Origen: Catalonia, a wine tradition of a thousand years

The Romans began to establish vineyards in Catalonia, but it was in the X1 and X11 centuries under the rule of Barcelona, that the first Penedés wines appeared. 

In the XV11 century these vineyards experimented a large expansion through to the Phylloxera crisis, which after destroying all the French vineyards, reached the Penedés in 1887 and consumed all the vines.

Origen: Catalonia, a wine tradition of a thousand years

The Romans began to establish vineyards in Catalonia, but it was in the X1 and X11 centuries under the rule of Barcelona, that the first Penedés wines appeared. 

In the XV11 century these vineyards experimented a large expansion through to the Phylloxera crisis, which after destroying all the French vineyards, reached the Penedés in 1887 and consumed all the vines.

The fight against the Phylloxera

The main winemakers from this region and their investigation on the plague of insects was centered in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia and they became famous for their experimental work and the outreach of their findings. Marc Mir and Manuel Raventós Domenech, founders of the essays ‘Summary of Argiculture’ were closely linked to the Catalan Agricultural Institute Sant Isidre, and were famous for their encouragement of the planting of the ‘American Root’.

It was precisely the disaster of the Phylloxera which motivated the investigation and the interest in domestic sparkling wines, the explosion which had occurred in France in the XV111 century, the new wine called ‘Champagne’.

The fight against the Phylloxera

The main winemakers from this region and their investigation on the plague of insects was centered in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia and they became famous for their experimental work and the outreach of their findings. Marc Mir and Manuel Raventós Domenech, founders of the essays ‘Summary of Argiculture’ were closely linked to the Catalan Agricultural Institute Sant Isidre, and were famous for their encouragement of the planting of the ‘American Root’.

It was precisely the disaster of the Phylloxera which motivated the investigation and the interest in domestic sparkling wines, the explosion which had occurred in France in the XV111 century, the new wine called ‘Champagne’.

Cava is born

In Catalonia, like the rest of Europe, various experimental attempts to elaborate a sparkling like the French one took place in Reus, Blanes and the Penedés. In 1866, when Pasteur applies his achievements in micro-biology to the wine sector, he laid the groundwork for the so-called ‘Mêtode Champanoise’ with a second fermentation in the bottle just as we know today.

It was 1872 Josep Raventós Fatjó begun the commercialization of the Champagne elaborated in Sant Sadurni de Anoia, which his son, Manuel Raventós Domenech continued, converting Codorniu into one of the world’s leading brands.

Since then, the elaboration of sparkling wines following the ‘Mêtode Champanoise’ situates itself in the town of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia and in the 20th century helps with the growth and international take off which consolidates Cava as one of the most important sparkling wines in the world.

Cava is born

In Catalonia, like the rest of Europe, various experimental attempts to elaborate a sparkling like the French one took place in Reus, Blanes and the Penedés. In 1866, when Pasteur applies his achievements in micro-biology to the wine sector, he laid the groundwork for the so-called ‘Mêtode Champanoise’ with a second fermentation in the bottle just as we know today.

It was 1872 Josep Raventós Fatjó begun the commercialization of the Champagne elaborated in Sant Sadurni de Anoia, which his son, Manuel Raventós Domenech continued, converting Codorniu into one of the world’s leading brands.

Since then, the elaboration of sparkling wines following the ‘Mêtode Champanoise’ situates itself in the town of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia and in the 20th century helps with the growth and international take off which consolidates Cava as one of the most important sparkling wines in the world.

Consolidation and growth

During the first few years of the twentieth century in Spain, as in all Europe, the consumption of sparkling wines continues to grow until the Civil War and the Second World War break down the economies and a new start has to be made.

In spite of the few resources available, the wine makers and wine producers in Sant Sadurni were faithful to the ‘Mêtode Champanoise, demonstrating an enormous spirit of effort and faith in the future for quality sparkling wines.

Three indigenous white grape varieties: Macabeu, Xarel.lo and Parellada make up the trilogy which imparts the unique character of Cava wines which from the seventies onwards show a spectacular growth and anchor themselves in international markets.

Consolidation and growth

During the first few years of the twentieth century in Spain, as in all Europe, the consumption of sparkling wines continues to grow until the Civil War and the Second World War break down the economies and a new start has to be made.

In spite of the few resources available, the wine makers and wine producers in Sant Sadurni were faithful to the ‘Mêtode Champanoise, demonstrating an enormous spirit of effort and faith in the future for quality sparkling wines.

Three indigenous white grape varieties: Macabeu, Xarel.lo and Parellada make up the trilogy which imparts the unique character of Cava wines which from the seventies onwards show a spectacular growth and anchor themselves in international markets.

From the golden seventies to the 21st century

The seventies situate Cava worldwide with a production figure of more than 50 million bottles. In 1980 82 million bottles are sold and only 3 years later in 1983, 103 million bottles are sold.

Today, Cava, with a production of 244 million bottles is present in all the corners of the world.

From the golden seventies to the 21st century

The seventies situate Cava worldwide with a production figure of more than 50 million bottles. In 1980 82 million bottles are sold and only 3 years later in 1983, 103 million bottles are sold.

Today, Cava, with a production of 244 million bottles is present in all the corners of the world.

The protection of Cava as a Denomination of Origen

The first regulation of wine in Spain is established in 1932 with the Statute of Wine which for the first time defines sparkling wines and the Denominations of Origen.  In 1969, sparkling wines are regulated and Cava, as the sparkling wine elaborated by the Mêthode Champanoise with a second fermentation in the bottle, in defined. En 1970, the Vine and Wine Statute protects Cava as a specific denomination.

In 1973, the Spanish-French Treaty protects the Champagne denomination and the general use of the word is prohibited.  An intense campaign is then initiated to consolidate the Cava as a proper name. For many years, the Sant Sadurni wine producers elaborated high quality Cavas in their bodegas.  The ‘Wine from the bodega’ was excellent and this is where the name of sparkling comes from.

The protection of Cava as a Denomination of Origen

The first regulation of wine in Spain is established in 1932 with the Statute of Wine which for the first time defines sparkling wines and the Denominations of Origen.  In 1969, sparkling wines are regulated and Cava, as the sparkling wine elaborated by the Mêthode Champanoise with a second fermentation in the bottle, in defined. En 1970, the Vine and Wine Statute protects Cava as a specific denomination.

In 1973, the Spanish-French Treaty protects the Champagne denomination and the general use of the word is prohibited.  An intense campaign is then initiated to consolidate the Cava as a proper name. For many years, the Sant Sadurni wine producers elaborated high quality Cavas in their bodegas.  The ‘Wine from the bodega’ was excellent and this is where the name of sparkling comes from.

The DOP Cava and its regulatory body

The incorporation of Spain in the EU in 1986 marked the recognition of Cava in Europe as a quality sparkling wine produced in a specific region.  This prompted the legal order which described the geographic production area, and in 1991 the regulations of the Denomination of Origin Cava are published.

Before 1986, some producers situated outside the historic traditional Catalan area of production had begun to elaborate quality sparkling wines, which due to the lack of concrete legislation, were called Cavas. With the new regulation, the acquired rights of these producers had to be respected and the traditional historic zone was enlarged with vineyards in towns from 3 other regions in Spain.  Today, the Penedés with Sant Sadurni as the capital is still the production nucleus of more than 75% of Cava.

The DOP Cava and its regulatory body

The incorporation of Spain in the EU in 1986 marked the recognition of Cava in Europe as a quality sparkling wine produced in a specific region.  This prompted the legal order which described the geographic production area, and in 1991 the regulations of the Denomination of Origin Cava are published.

Before 1986, some producers situated outside the historic traditional Catalan area of production had begun to elaborate quality sparkling wines, which due to the lack of concrete legislation, were called Cavas. With the new regulation, the acquired rights of these producers had to be respected and the traditional historic zone was enlarged with vineyards in towns from 3 other regions in Spain.  Today, the Penedés with Sant Sadurni as the capital is still the production nucleus of more than 75% of Cava.