Meet the Sparklings: Cava



Have you heard of cava? It is, essentially, Spain’s answer to Champagne. More often than not it is made in the Champagne Method but since that, too, is limited to a particular region of France, a bottle of cava will usually denote “Método Tradicional” or Traditional Method.

In the case of the bottle I tasted for this post, it actually says none of these things, going for the more explanatory:

Sparkling wine fermented in this bottle.

Straightforward, yes?

As it was once in the glass.

This week’s wine guy pointed me in the direction of Kila Cava, stating that while it was still a Brut it was slightly sweeter than his favorite cava and he thought I would prefer it better. (I’m guessing he inferred this from my recent order of a case each of sweet red and sparkling moscato for my wedding next month.) It was not nearly as sharp as some brut-style sparklers I’ve tried, yet still very dry but not unpleasantly so.

The crisp, fruity nose gives way to matching flavors on the palate along with a slightly yeasty flavor. An apple tart or pear croissant. Very delicious, either way you slice it. Kila is a blend of the three most popular grapes for cava: macabeo, parellada, and xarel-lo. It has a very pale yellow color and a very delicate effervescence.

Cava offers a definite bonus in that it’s usually much lower-priced than a French Champagne and even some Italian Proseccos. The Kila was less than $10 and would make a wonderful celebration tipple if you’re looking for a lot of bubbly bang on a budget.

Best for Less: Sparkling Wines for New Years


Have you ever heard of I hadn’t until a few weeks ago when I was contacted by one of their representatives about their findings for the best cheap champagnes. Of course, a true Champagne (from the right grape and region of France) is seldom if ever to be found “cheap,” but you can find plenty of lovely sparkling wines (the larger category that Champagne belongs to) in any price range.

Their suggestions?

Experts note that not all sparkling wines pass as a substitute Champagne, and champagne reviews discuss factors such as bubbles, sweetness, and taste. Topping Cheapism’s list of best champagne buys are Roederer Estate NV Brut, Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut NV, and Freixenet Cordon Negro Extra Dry — all priced at less than $20.

And if you try any of them to ring in the New Year, please let me know.

our sparkling wine choices for 2011Todd and I prefer our sparkling wines on the sweeter side, so those Brut recommendations just don’t do much for us. We rang in 2011 with a couple of inexpensive Italian sparkling wines on the sweeter side: one white and one red.

Wait, red sparkling wine? Oh yes, my friends, it’s out there and it’s fabulous!

The red is Costarosa Sangue di Giuda Oltrepo Pavese and is, as best I can tell as the label is 100% in Italian, a blended red wine with just enough bubbles to keep things interesting. It was recommended by the guy in the liquor store when I said I wanted anything but Brut. Good call.

The white is Ca’D’Gal Lumine Moscato d’Asti. Moscato is very popular these days as more are discovering this sweet wine in both still and sparkling styles. I think Moscato is doing quite a lot to dispel the negative opinions many people have of champagne. And we just a bottle of Cupcake M0scato d’Asti with Thanksgiving dinner that was pretty fabulous, too.

And sweet champagne is nothing new–in Europe it’s always been available but not a lot made it to the United States as our palates were, somehow, not interested in sweet wines.

Thank goodness times have changed!

We haven’t decided, yet, what we’ll be sipping when ’11 turns to ’12, what about you?