view of a glass of cava in the foreground lit up around it twilight
Food - Drink
What's The Difference Between Cava And Champagne?
When we say "bubbly," we're often referring to Champagne, the sparkling white wine and ultimate celebration drink. However, it is possible to get your bubbly on for a lower price.
Not everyone can shell out for an expensive bottle of Dom Pérignon Champagne, and a Spanish sparkling wine called cava is a less expensive and increasingly popular replacement.
True Champagne must be produced in the Champagne region of France, using a special double-fermentation technique called the méthode champenoise.
After initial fermentation, Champagne is blended, bottled with extra sugar and yeast, and left to ferment a second time, directly in the bottle. It must age for at least 15 months.
Champagne is made with Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, or Chardonnay grapes, resulting in wine with a fruity flavor similar to a pear or apple, with distinct brioche notes.
Meanwhile, 95% of all cava is made in northeastern Spain. It typically includes Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo white grape varietals, and is made similarly to Champagne.
When the méthode champenoise is used outside of the region of Champagne, it's called the méthode traditionnelle, and this method is used to produce cava, with a few twists.
The wine only needs to spend 9 months aging in a cellar to qualify as cava, so it doesn't have the same toasty breadlike flavors as Champagne, which can be aged for multiple years.
Cava is slightly sweeter than Champagne, though it's similarly acidic with fresh citrus and pear notes. Cava also has a certain savory minerality that makes it unique.
Champagne is expensive because acreage in the region is costly to maintain, and some production is done by hand. Cava is a budget-friendly option that still has plenty of bubbles.