Spanish sparkling wine – What is it called?

spanish sparkling white wine

Spanish sparkling wine

Spain is known for its extensive production of Spanish sparkling wine. The best Spanish sparkling wine is known as Cava. Cava is a wine made in the same way as Champagne in France. Because the name Champagne is protected for sparkling wine made according to strict rules in France, in the region south of the city of Reims, the name Champagne should not be used for Spanish wine.

What is Spanish sparkling wine called?

Spanish sparkling wine is called Cava. Cava is the most famous sparkling wine from Spain. This wine is traditionally made using grapes of three varieties, namely Macabeo (Viura), Xarel-lo and Parellada. Sometimes, however, other grape varieties such as Chardonnay are also used.


The macabeo grape, also called viura, has a slightly fruity aroma. The grape is mostly grown in Spain. White Rioja consists of 90% percent of the macabeo / grape. This grape variety is also cultivated in France. There the macabeo can be found in the white Côtes du Roussillon. The macabeo grape variety is often used in the Cava, the Spanish champagne. In Catalunya, the macabeo is assembled with Xarel Lo and Parellada, resulting in one of the best sparkling wines in Spain.

spanish sparkling white wine

Ideal aperitif

An aperitif should stimulate your appetite. A good aperitif prepares the stomach for all the goodies to come. It stimulates digestion by triggering the production of gastric juices. In addition, an aperitif provides peace and a good atmosphere, so that the appetite also increases mentally. Ideal aperitif wines are wines that are dry, fresh and light. That is why a Spanish sparkling wine is an ideal aperitif wine!

How is Spanish sparkling wine made?

Making Spanish sparkling wine is very similar to making white wine. An important difference is that after the 1st alcoholic fermentation, in which sugar from the grapes is converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide, the wine is put in an extra sturdy bottle or in a closed large barrel with a mixture of wine, sugar and yeast added. This mixture ferments again, the so-called 2nd alcoholic fermentation. The carbon dioxide cannot escape and remains dissolved in the wine.

When the second fermentation takes place in the bottle, this is called metodo tradicional. This generally produces the best and the most expensive Spanish sparkling wines. With Cava, the second fermentation always takes place in the bottle. If you buy a bottle of Cava, the word Cava is always on the bottle.

There are 2 other ways to provide wine with carbon dioxide. The most common way is similar to the metodo tradicional. The wine does not get its second fermentation in the bottle, but in a large closed barrel. That is much less laborious. Spanish sparkling wine made this way is therefore clearly cheaper. The third way to introduce carbon dioxide into the wine is to inject carbon dioxide gas into the wine under pressure. This method is common for soft drinks, but it is also used with very cheap sparkling wines. Qualitatively, these Spanish sparkling wines are not interesting.

Most famous Spanish sparkling wine

Cava is the most famous sparkling wine from the wine country of Spain. Cava is often made with the help of Macabeo, Viura, Xarel-lo and Parellada. Chardonnay is also used occasionally. Many Cava are made in the province of Catalonia, near Barcelona.

Spanish sparkling wine

Removing the yeast from Spanish sparkling wine

After the second fermentation, the yeast must of course be removed from the bottle. A special way has been developed for this. After the second fermentation is completed, the bottles are slowly brought from a supine position to a vertical position, with the neck of the bottle down. Usually this is done by machine, but occasionally also by hand. As soon as all the yeast is on the cork of the bottle, the neck of the bottle is placed in an ice bath at approx. -20 ° C. This will freeze the yeast. When opening the bottle, the ice plug pops out and the bottle is refilled with a mixture of the same wine and cane sugar. The amount of added sugar also determines whether the wine will ultimately be extra brut (<6 grams of sugar per liter), brut (6-15 g / l), extra seco (12 – 12g / l), semi seco (33-50 g / l) or dulce (> 50 g / l).

The entire process of making Cava takes a minimum of 9 months from harvest, but a producer can also choose to age and store a Spanish sparkling wine in the cellar for years before removing the yeast from the bottle. The longer the yeast is in contact with the wine, the finer and smoother the mousse in the mouth feels and the richer and fuller the wine is in taste. The quality of the Spanish sparkling wine is also kept at the right temperature in a BODEGA43 wine cooler.


Cava wine with and without year

Good Cava Producers strive for a constant quality of their product. That is why they keep large stocks from older years to mix with younger years to make Cava that constantly has the same taste. In good years, however, a Cava of one harvest year is also made. Such a vintage of Cava is therefore of a higher quality.

Production area for Cava

Unlike Champagne in France, the Spanish sparkling wine Cava can be made throughout Spain, albeit in 8 designated areas and as long as this is done according to the rules that apply to making Cava.
Cava is made on a large scale in the Penedès, south of Barcelona. Mostly the grape varieties Macabeo, Xarello and Parellada are used for this, but the good Spanish sparkling wines are often also made from chardonnay and pinot noir.

Keep your Sparkling wine (Cava) in a BODEGA43 wine cooler

Due to the double temperature zone you can store and serve white Riesling wine, champagne and red wine from a BODEGA43 wine climate cabinet. The wine fridge is quiet (39dB) and has a very low vibration, which is ideal for storing your wines correctly for a long time.

BODEGA43 is synonymous with innovation and design in the field of wine storage cabinets. With a passion for wine and food, BODEGA43 strives for the best possible quality, technology and design for optimal wine aging. The aim of BODEGA43 for every consumer is to make a good wine cellar accessible to every wine lover.

The high-quality technology and modern design of BODEGA43 fits in every place and turns a kitchen or living room into a contemporary space. BODEGA43 thus creates the perfect experience to make all your vinous wishes come true. Rightfully so: The best cellar for your wines.

Read more about our other blog articles on the blog page of De Wijnkoelkast. For example, the best tips for a delicious red wine sauce!

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