Sparkling Wines – Spain

Sparkling Wines - Spain

Cava is a type of high-quality sparkling wine produced in Spain and protected by a supra-regional designation of origin. The delimited production area of Cava covers 159 municipalities in Catalonia, La Rioja, Euskadi, Aragón, Álava, Navarra, Extremadura, and the Valencian Community.

To produce Cava, the wine undergoes a second fermentation in the same bottle as the base wine, using traditional methods. The wine must be in contact with the sediment for at least nine months to comply with Cava regulations and can be white or rosé.

The Regulatory Council, which depends on the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, is responsible for regulating the Protected Designation of Origin Cava. This organization ensures that wines from the D.O.P. Cava comply with the relevant specifications, supervises and regulates the production and elaboration of protected wines, and promotes the presence of the DOP in international markets to maintain its prestige.

Tasting 'méthode champenoise' by Mumm

The production process of Cava, from harvesting to product promotion, is supervised by the Cava Regulatory Council. Cava is made using the Traditional Method, similar to Champagne, with a first fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and a second fermentation inside the same bottle that will eventually be consumed.

The main grape varieties used in the production of Cava are Macabeo, Charelo, Parellada, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Subirat Parent (Malvasia) for white Cava and Garnacha, Monastrell, and Bonicaire for rosé Cava.

The expedition liqueur is added to Cava to replace the small amount of liquid lost during disgorgement. Each winemaker has the flexibility to choose their own ingredients and proportions to make the expedition liqueur, which results in various options and variations. The amount of sugar used determines the type of Cava produced, with Brut Nature being the driest and containing only natural sugars (0-3 grams per liter).

To classify Cava according to its sugar content, the following designations are used, depending on the amount of sugar added per liter of wine during the expedition liqueur process:

  • Brut Nature: between 0 and 3 grams of unfermented sugar, with no added sugar.
  • Extra Brut: between 0 and 6 grams of sugar per liter added.
  • Brut: between 0 and 12 grams of sugar per liter added.
  • Extra Seco: between 12 and 17 grams of sugar per liter added.
  • Seco: between 17 and 32 grams of sugar per liter added.
  • Semi Seco: between 32 and 50 grams of sugar per liter added.
  • Dulce: more than 50 grams of sugar per liter added.

Each of these types of Cava has a unique flavor and personality, making them suitable for different occasions and gastronomic accompaniments. For example, Brut Nature, the driest and with no added sugar, is ideal for pairing with fresh fish and seafood, while Semi Seco, with a sweeter taste, is perfect for desserts and for accompanying spicy or seasoned dishes.

In conclusion, spanish Cava is a high-quality sparkling wine with protected designation of origin, produced following traditional methods and with a wide variety of white and rosé grapes. Its classification according to sugar content and aging time in the bottle, along with its unique taste and aroma, make it a versatile wine suitable for different gastronomic occasions. Additionally, the Cava Regulatory Council supervises and guarantees the quality of these wines, ensuring their prestige and recognition internationally.

To be classified as Cava, the wine must age in the bottle for a certain period of time. Young Cavas and Cavas de Guarda require a minimum aging time of 9 months, while Cavas de Guarda Superior must age for at least 18 months.

The climate in which sparkling wine is produced greatly influences its taste, and those produced in a temperate climate tend to be drier and have more complex flavors. Additionally, the name of these wines comes from the traditional rooms, known as cavas or cellars, where the wine is stored in barrels or bottles.


In summary, Cava is a high-quality sparkling wine produced in Spain through the Traditional Method of second fermentation in the bottle and is characterized by its complexity of flavor and aroma. The Protected Designation of Origin Cava ensures that the production process meets the required quality standards and promotes the presence of Spanish cava in international markets. The choice of grape varieties and the amount of sugar used in the expedition liqueur determine the type of cava produced, from the driest (Brut Nature) to the sweetest (Dulce). Furthermore, the climate in which Cava is produced influences its taste, and a minimum period of bottle aging is required to be classified as Cava. In short, Cava is a unique sparkling wine produced in Spain with a long tradition and international recognition.

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