What is cava, other than a cheaper version of champagne often found at Trader Joe’s for less than $10? Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine remarkably similar to champagne – so similar in fact that it used to be called Spanish Champagne. Unfortunately, the French champagne producers and EU didn’t take so kindly to that, so in 1970 it was rebranded as cava.
Similar to the rules for champagne, cava can only come from certain regions in Spain (Aragon, Basque Country, Castile and Leon, Catalonia, Extremadura, Navarra, Rioja, and Valencia). Cava is often made from different grapes than champagne, with macabeu, parellada, and xarello being popular, though chardonnay, pinot noir, and subirat show up as well.
Also like champagne, cava must be produced in the Methode Champenoise. Because of all the similarities, many people have trouble distinguishing between cavas and champagnes. If you’re looking for a champagne like experience for PBR like prices, cava might be the right way to go.