cava, spain, spanish wine, wine, spanish bubbles, champagne, traditional method, france, brut, extra brut, brut nature, rose, cava rose


  • Chill before serving: in the fridge around 4 hours, freezer 15 min, ice bucket 20 min
  • For Reserva serve at: 8 – 10 °C (46 – 50 °F)
  • For Gran Reserva & CPC serve at: 10 – 12 °C (50 – 54 °F)
  • Glass type: tulip


  • Sushi, fish, chicken, tacos,
  • Hard cheeses, Gruyere, Parmigiano, Pecorino

Cava is a sparkling wine produced in Spain using the same method as Champagne, i.e. the traditional method. Its origins are in Penedès, Catalonia where in 1872, Josep Raventós Fatjó (part of the Codorniu winery) applied the traditional method he learned in France to the classic Catalan blend creating the first Cava. Today, Codorniu is one of the oldest family businesses in Spain and still one of the biggest producers of Cava.

Cava Blend

Classic Cava Blend

The Classic Cava blend is made of Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada which are the traditional grapes in Penedès.

  • Macabeo: second most planted grape in Cava DO, thin skins, floral and balanced in terms of acidity and sugar, neutral and subtle flavours.
  • Xarel-lo: most planted grape in Cava DO, high concentration of resveratrol (antioxidant) with good acidity levels. Ads body, complexity and good aging potential. Some producers focus on making Cavas from 100% Xarel-lo.
  • Parellada: third most planted grape in Cava DO, thick skins, high yields, elegant and subtle flavours

Other Grapes Allowed in Cava

White Grapes

  • Chardonnay: adds aroma, acidity, alcohol content from its high sugar levels and very good aging potential.
  • Malvasia/ Subirat Parent: very aromatic, especially used in the production of Cava Dulce and Semi Dulce.

Red Grapes

  • Red Grenache: used especially in the production of Cava Rosé, adds aroma, high sugar content, moderate acidity.
  • Trepat: subtle fruit flavours, thick skins, balanced acidiy, especially used in the production of Cava Rosé.
  • Pinot Noir: subtle, aromatic, fruity, low in tannins, used in Cava Rosé as well as Blanc de Noirs.
  • Monastrell: thick skins, adds tannins colour, good aging potential. Especially used in Cava Rosé.

Cava D.O. Zones

Although most Cava producers (95%) are located in Catalonia, Cava D.O. is officially split into 4 zones with wineries all over Spain from Rioja, Aragon, Navarra to Extremadura. This new classification by zone comes after years of producers asking the Cava DO Regulatory Board to distinguishing between different geographical regions which have different terroir and climate. With the latest classification, this is possible as winemakers can choose to add the specific zone on the bottle, this way for example producers outside of Catalonia can indicate which zone the wine is from.

Cava D.O. Zones

  • Comtats de Barcelona – includes Penedès, the birth place of Cava
  • Valle del Ebro – includes Rioja, Navarra, Aragon
  • Viñedos de Almendralejo
  • Levante – includes Requena


There have been many debates among the Cava producers along the years surrounding the quality of not just the wines but the entire production between large and small scale producers. In 2017 the Cava DO Regulatory Board added a new Cava classification called Cava Paraje Calificado (CPC) which focuses mainly on the quality of the individual wines but not necessarily on the entire production process. Following years of disagreement around this subject, before CPC was even introduced, 9 wine producers from Penedès decided to break away from the Cava DO and create their own wine association called Corpinnat. Corpinnat follows strict rules on aging, hand harvesting, organic and indigenous grapes with a minimal use of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Trepat. These wines are labeled as Corpinnat and not Cava DO. The 3 largest Cava producers Cordoniu, Freixenet and García Carrión, are not allowed to use Corpinnat on their label.

The 9 Corpinnat producers are the following: Torelló, Gramona, Nadal, Sabaté i Coca, Mas Candí, Ilopart, Recaredo, Can Feixes, Julia Bernet.

Cava Classification

  • Cava
    • Aging: minimum 9 months
    • Blend: Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Parellada
    • Sugar content: from Brut Nature to Dulce
  • Cava Reserva
    • Aging: minimum 18 months
    • Blend: Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Parellada
    • Sugar content: from Brut Nature to Dulce
  • Cava Gran Reserva
    • Aging: minimum 30 months
    • Blend: Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Parellada
    • Sugar content: Brut Nature, Extra Brut, Brut
  • Cava de Paraje Calificado
    • Aging: minimum 36 months
    • Blend: Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Parellada
    • Sugar content: Brut Nature, Extra Brut, Brut
Sugar levels

Production Method: Traditional Method

Cava, lika Champagne is made with the Traditional method. The main idea of this method is that the second fermentation takes place in the bottle rather than a pressurized stainless steel tank. Below are the steps that this method entails. For more details on other types of production methods and the difference between them, head over to our sparkling wines post.

Traditional Method, Classic Method, Champagne method

1. Primary Fermentation/ Cuvée

  • The first fermentation takes place in the barrel
  • At this point the alcohol levels are quite low, around 10%

2. Tirage & Second Fermentation

  • A blend of yeast and sugar called liqueur de tirage is added to the wine base which causes the second fermentation to initiate.
  • It is important to note that the wine base is transferred into bottles where the second fermentation will take place. This is a key difference between this method and other methods where the second fermentation takes place in the barrel.
  • When the yeast and sugar are added, the yeast starts to consume the sugar releasing alcohol and CO₂ which causes the fermentation to begin.
  • The bottles will have crown caps at this point not corks in order to ensure that the CO₂ is trapped, which is what creates the fizziness

3. Aging

  • The yeast eventually consumes all the sugar and dies (dead yeast is called lees). The wine is then left to age on the lees from 9 months to 5 years (for Champagne it is around 1.5 – 8 years).
  • The lees is what gives the wine creaminess, richness and texture.
  • The longer the wines will age, the more expensive they will be.

4. Remuage / Riddling

  • The dead yeast that has formed plus whatever sediment is left must be removed through what is called Remuage (or Riddling).
  • This entails the frequent turning of the bottle which is placed at an angle with the bottleneck down.
  • This takes about 3 – 4 days and it used to be done manually back in the day.

5. Disgorging

  • When the lees and sediments are accumulated at the bottom of the crown, the bottleneck is dipped into a freezing solution.
  • This causes the bottleneck to freeze together with the lees.
  • The crown cap is then popped and frozen lees is removed.

6. Dosage

  • Some wine and sugar is then added into the bottle which is called dosage.

7. Corking

  • The bottle is finally corked and labelled.

cava, spain, spanish wine, wine, spanish bubbles, champagne, traditional method, france, brut, extra brut, brut nature, rose, cava rose

Josep Coca

Corpinnat, Brut Nature, 2014

  • Country and region: Spain, Catalonia, Penedès
  • Producer: Castellroig Finca Sabaté ii Coca
  • Blend: Xarel-lo, Macabeu
  • Alcohol content: 12,5%
  • Tasting notes: apples, citrus, pineapple, brioche, dry, crisp