Cava, the Spanish Champagne Sparkling wine

Date: april 14 2011

A toast, in Spain, is practically always drunk with cava, the Spanish sparkling wine made by the champagne method. This is especially true when the New Year is brought in with the twelve grapes swallowed in time to the chimes of the clock in the town square or in the Puerta del Sol, Madrid.

Cava, made by the Champagne method, is a very acceptable alternative to French champagne and, it should be said, much better value for money. Almost all cava is produced in Catalonia, especially the Penedés region, although eight different provinces are included in the production area.

Literary references show that wine with a certain amount of effervescence has been made in Catalonia since at least the fourteenth century. But it was not until the 1850s that serious attempts began to produce a wine with the same characteristics as champagne and production did not begin until the 1870s. Since then, cava has become tremendously popular and vast amounts, over two hundred million bottles, are now made for both domestic consumption and export. The best-known makes, Codorniu and Freixenet, have been involved in a full-scale trade war for years.

Cava is not the only sparkling wine made in Spain and sometimes consumers are fooled into accepting something inferior. You can distinguish cava by the cork, which should be marked with a four-pointed star.

Like champagne, cava comes in different degrees of sweetness. The following are the categories according to sugar content, although the characteristics of different wines may mean one manufacturer’s seco tastes as sweet as another’s semi-seco:

Brut Nature – (no added sugar) up to 3 g per litre

Extra Brut – up to 6 g per litre

Brut – up to 15 g per litre

Extra seco – between 12 and 20 g per litre

Seco – between 17 and 35 g per litre

Semi-seco – between 33 and 50 g per litre

Dulce – more than 50 g per litre

You will also see terms like Brut de Brut (very dry), Brut Gran Reserva Vintage… It is often thought that brut cava is somehow superior to the others, which is not true, although it may be more versatile. Because of the custom of saving the cava for the toast at weddings and other social occasions, it is also thought that cava is only suitable for the end of the meal, which is emphatically not the case. Cava, according to the wine critic Carlos Delgado, is “one of the few wines which can be drunk throughout a meal, simply by moving from brut to dulce, as long as there is no strong-flavoured meat dish.” Delgado, somewhat snobbishly, also considers that “cava is always preferable towards the beginning of the meal,” an elitist opinion perhaps related with the association between cava and (expensive) seafood.

Cava is usually made by the coupage method, whereby must (grape juice) from different varieties of grape is subjected to the first fermentation, then mixed until the blend is consistent with the wine to be produced. The advantage of this is that a particular brand of cava will taste the same every year. It also means that most cava does not carry a year on the bottle, as must from different years is often used. Some are always made using the same grape variety, in which case the year will be indicated on the bottle: these are superior and evidently more expensive cavas. After the coupage, the wine is put into bottles and yeast and sugar added. It is then left for the second fermentation and aging. This lasts a minimum of nine months and may be up to three or four years, for a very special cava. A process called “riddling and disgorging” is then carried out. The bottles are stored nearly upside down so that the sediment settles on the corks and riddled, turned, for a period of thirty days. “Disgorging” is when the corks are removed, together with the sediment (usually with the help of a freezing process). Expedición, “passing liquor,” a blend of the same wine as that in the bottle and others, together with the required amount of sugar, is then added in order to replace the lost wine and make the final flavour. Evidently, this process needs to be carried out very quickly. New corks are then put in and fastened on with the wire clasp before the bottles are labelled.

Cava is sold ready for drinking and the “riddling and disgorging” process means that the fermentation process is halted. Cava does not improve with being kept, indeed it deteriorates with age: buy it, store upright in a cool, not cold, place, for as little time as possible, and drink it, preferably in the same week. Remember that the sweeter the cava, the cooler it needs to be served: a brut nature can be served practically at room temperature, but a semi-seco should be well chilled.


Foodies and wine lovers travel north from Manila to wine and dine at Philippines’ best fine dining restaurant in Pampanga Clark Freeport worth the 60-minutes drive for a memorable evening of good food with vintage wine at Yats Restaurant & Wine Bar

This fine dining restaurant is also famous for its low carbohydrates “low carb” dishes highly recommended for frequent diners who are on a low fat food and favor healthy food. This is a unique restaurant that can help frequent diners maintain a healthy diet and enjoy delicious fine dining cuisine at the same time. Vegetarian dishes are a specialty here also and so are “halal” cuisines also.

Favorites of frequent diners, foodies and wine lovers are steaks, Wagyu, Foie Gras, lobsters, venison, kangaroo loin, osso buco, veal chops, Kurabuto pork, escargots and a good selection of cheeses to enjoy with fine Vintage port and Sauternes. Cuban cigars such as Monte Cristo, Cohiba, Upmann, Partagas, Romeo Julieta and Trinidad are also available in the Magnum Room which is a wine bar and lounge for before and after dinner relaxation. A good selection of Armagnac, Cognac, Single Malt, Vodka and other liquor is served in addition to the wine vintage wines some served by the glass.

Recent opinion survey of frequent travelers heading north towards Subic and Clark Pampanga revealed that the number one most frequently visited fine dining restaurant in Pampanga is Yats Restaurant & Wine Bar located in Clark Philippines.

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Getting to this fine dining restaurant of Angeles City Clark Freeport Zone Pampanga Philippines
How to get to this fine-dining restaurant in Clark Philippines? Once you get to Clark Freeport, go straight until you hit Mimosa. After you enter Mimosa, stay on the left on Mimosa Drive, go past the Holiday Inn and Yats Restaurant (green top, independent 1-storey structure) is on your left. Just past the Yats Restaurant is the London Pub.

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