Cava is a sparkling wine from Catalonia that is made following the traditional method, in which the second fermentation takes place inside the bottle. Cava has an increasingly important role in gastronomy, since it pairs excellently with a wide variety of dishes, from appetizers to desserts. Cava has become a very versatile product and has earned a reputation as a drink that can satisfy even the most demanding palates. Far from being limited to the days of celebration, it can be consumed responsibly at any time. So what must be taken into account when choosing Cava?
The dosage or expedition liquor is what determines the final taste profile in Cava. Usually, it is a mixture of base wine with sugar, and from here opens a wide window of possibilities and variables… The amount of sugar contained in the expedition liqueur will determine the flavour of the Cava together with other factors such as the grape variety and the time spent in contact with lees.
We can find four main categories based on added sugar: Brut Nature, Brut, Dry and Medium Dry. We can also find Extra Brut, Extra Dry and Sweet, but in this article, we will focus on the most common categories.
CAVA BRUT NATURE
The Brut Nature category of cava means that the product almost does not contain added sugar. It contains less than 3 grams of sugar per liter and has a crunchy and acidic flavour. This type of cava is ideal for those who prefer a fresh, not sweet taste. Castell d’Or produces several high-quality Brut Nature Cavas, such as the Castell d’Or Brut Nature Gran Reserva, aged for more than 48 months, making it perfect for dishes such as fresh seafood or more elaborated dishes with fish.
Cava Brut is one of the most popular types of cava. It is dry with a limited amount of residual sugar added. In fact, the amount of sugar allowed in a Cava Brut is up to 12 grams per liter. The product still has good acidity, so finally, this small amount of sugar is barely noticeable. The taste is milder and just highlights the virtues of the wine, widening its possibilities for pairing. Cava Brut enters into alliances even with the most difficult to pair with wine dishes. Like, for example, spicy food. Castell d’Or has the excellent Cava Cossetània Brut.
Dry Cava has a subtly sweet character thanks to the addition of up to 32 grams per liter. This type of Cava is slightly sweeter than the brut, but still has a dry and balanced flavour. Dry cava is ideal to accompany light meals, such as fish, shellfish, salads and pasta dishes with mild sauces.
MEDIUM DRY CAVA
Finally, the Medium Dry Cava is the sweetest in this range, between 32 and 50 grams of sugar per liter. This type of cava is ideal for those who prefer a sweet and fruity taste. Castell d’Or produces different medium dry cavas such as Cava Flama d’Or Semi-sec, which is ideal to accompany desserts and blue cheeses.
The ageing period also significantly influences the taste profile of the Cava. The time spend in the bottle in contact with yeast for Cava is minimum 9 months for the young cavas, 15 months for the reservas, 30 at least for the grand reservas and a minimum of 36 months in the case of Cavas de Paraje Cualificado. During the ageing, the cava is stored in the bottles in a horizontal position and is left to rest for months. The longer the Cava is left in contact with yeast, the more complex and mature its flavour and aromas will be. As a result, the taste and aromas of the cava vary a lot and you can find in your glass a sensation of fresh fruits, flowers, toasted bread, but also almonds, dry fruits and even spices depending on the time in the bottle.
Although the choice of cava depends to a large extent on the personal preferences of each person, it is important to know the differences between the types of cava in order to make a conscious choice and enjoy it much more!