One way to differentiate the cavas is the price. Clearly, it is true. Now, the price is not going to say how the cava will taste, but in the label there are indications that will help a little more. Lets know them.
The cavas are made traditionally by a double fermentation process. The must becomes wine by fermentation, and a re-fermented wine becomes sparkling. In this process the sugar of the wine becomes alcohol, so the easiest way to achieve it is to add sugar to the wine.
Well, the Semidry, Brut, Extra Brut... indication refers to the amount of sugar added to elaborate the cava, and give us an idea about the sweetness of the resulting cava. The correspondence is as follows, from least to most sweet:
- Brut Nature: no added sugar or up to 3 g of sugar per liter
- Extra Brut: up to 6 g of sugar per liter
- Brut: up to 15 g of sugar per liter
- Extra dry: between 12 and 20 grams of sugar per liter
- Dry: between 17 and 35 grams of sugar per liter
- Semi dry: between 33 and 50 grams of sugar per liter
- Sweet: over 50 grams of sugar per liter.
Since the most laborious thing is to trigger a second fermentation without adding sugar, the most valued cavas by connoisseurs are the Brut Nature, but in the end it is, as always, a matter of taste. Don't let anyone criticize you if you like sweet cavas.
So, each cava, depending on its taste, will combine better or worse with different dishes. The Dry or Extra Dry cavas are suitable for appetizers, Brut and Brut Nature with main courses and Semidry and Sweet with dessert.
Other information to consider is the distinction of Cava Reserva or Gran Reserva, and it has nothing to do with the elaboration of cava but with the aging time of cava. According to the D.O. Cava, a Cava Gran Reserva is one who has spent over 30 months of aging. As for cavas Reserva or Reserva Especial, this are trade names which do not add accurate information on cava, so is not worth looking at it.
How to better enjoy Cava
Serve very cold, but don't put it in the freezer. The more slowly cools the cava (as any wine), much better. If you have to, use an ice bucket with some water (the water will cold and it will cold the cava progressively). And if you want the ice to last longer, add salt to the water :)
Serve with the glass slanted to prevent a bubble excess and avoid spillage.
Look at the date of expedition of cava. The wineries take out batches several times a year, and the less time passed, the better. So, you better buy it when you're ready to consume, do not store it.
The fluted glasses are best for tasting, since they concentrate flavors and a trickle of bubbles will form. The classic wide glasses are good only to lose bubbles, for those who do not want to feel so much sparkles.
Comment the cavas tasted at Uvinum. So you will discover the delights of cava to other Uviners, and they will teach you new secrets to you.