* The final post of Spanish Week features guest blogger, Lou Arpino – The Mayor of Rocky Hill
The Spanish came to the New World in search of sparkling gems and metals. Today, they are returning the favor by sending us a sparkling liquid in the form of Cava wine.
In the US, Cava has become a very acceptable, economical alternative to French Champagne. The Spanish produce Cava using the same “traditional” fermentation method used in the French Champagne industry, but they have added a unique automatic riddling process which eliminates the costly hand process used by the French to slowly remove yeast sediment which builds up in the bottle during the fermentation process.
Cava is produced in a number of regions in Spain, with Catalan being the largest producer. Three grapes are blended to produce Cava. Referred to as the “holy trinity” by Spanish winemakers, a blend of Macabeo, Xarello and Perllada are blended in varying degrees (depending on annual growing conditions and the personal preferences of each winemaker) into each bottle of Cava.
Just like its French cousin, Cava comes in a range of dryness depending on its sugar content. Cava has an alcohol content of between 12 and 14 percent and can be generally described as having an aroma of light yeast and biscuit, a flavor of orange, pear or green apple and a smooth, slightly acidic finish. Cava, when poured, treats you to lively, youth full bubbles and a creamy mousse.
Keep in mind that Cava is a younger wine compared to Champagne, so it has a shorter shelf life, usually one to two years. You may be surprised to know that because Cava is inexpensive and very approachable it has become the largest selling sparkling wine in the world.
So, what are you waiting for? Your wine retailer should have a selection of Cavas in his or her sparkling wine section, give one a try the next time you are about to grab that bottle of Champagne or Prosecco.