7. Cava

When was sparkling wine first made in Spain?

19th Century

When did Cava become a lawful term?


What is the name of the regulatory group for Cava

Consejo Regulador del Cava

What are the principal grape varieties of Cava?

Parellada, Macabeo and Xarel-lo. Chardonnay is of increasing importance

Where are 95% of Cava grapes grown?

Penedes, Catalunya

What are the 3 most important areas for Cava?

Penedes, Lleida and Tarragona

Describe the climate of Penedes.

Predominantly mediterranean climate, sunny summer and mild winters, 540mm pa spread throughout the year

What altitudes are vineyards in penedes?

200-300m asl, some at 700-800m

Describe the soils in penedes.

Alluvuial clay at low altitude, stony clay and gravel subsoils higher up. All poor in nutrients, adequate drainage and water retention.

Which grape variety performs very well at high altitude sites? Retaining more acid with greater capacity to age.


What town is the principal for cava producers?

San Sadurni d'anoia

Where is the Consejo located?

Vilafranca del penedes

Describe vineyard locations in Lleida.

from plains to high in the mountains 100-700m asl

Describe the climate of Lleida

Mediterranean at low levels, becoming increasingly continental with altitude. Semi arid without irrigation.

Describe Tarragona province and the wines made there.

Low lying, undulating hills, mediterranean climate. Simple wines macabeo dominated.

What is the Conca de Barbera?

An area in Tarragona province specialiding in Trepat, a variety used in rosado cava production.

Which varieties are grown in Rioja for Cava production? Describe the vineyard locations.

Cava de Macabeo/viura and Chardonnay. High altitude, 425m asl

What proportion of cava vineyard are planted with macabeo?


What altitude is macabeo planted at in penedes?

100-300m asl

What are the characteristics of macabeo?

Late budding, earlier budding than the others, high yields, susceptible to botrytis and bacterial blight. Light intensity apple and lemon.

What proportion of cava vineyards are planted with xarel-lo?


What altitude is xarel lo planted at in penedes?

upto 400m asl

What are the characteristics of xarel lo?

Indigenous to Catalunya. Mid-budding mid-ripening. Susceptible to powdery and downy mildew with otherwise good resistance. Greengage and gooseberry notes, herbal/fennel aromas distinguish it. Earthy when overripe. Reasonable affinity with oak.

What proportion of cava vineyards are planted with parellada?


What altitude in penedes is parellada planted?

500m asl

What are the characteristics of parellada?

Lowest yielding, latest ripening. Performs best in hugh altitude sites, reaching flavour ripeness without excessive pot alcohols. Adds finesse and floral notes. Early budding. Susceptible for powdery mildew

What proportion of cava vineyards are planted with Chardonnay?


What does Chardonnay add to the blend?

body, richness and finesse

What 4 varieties are allowed in cava rosado?

Garnacha tinta, trepat, pinot noir and monastrell

What is the maximum yield in cava vineyards?


What is the planting density in cava vineyards?

low to moderate, 1,500 to 3,500 vines/ha

What training methods are used?

bush vines, single or double cordon

What are the effects of low density planting with moderate yields?

Slight dilution, producers not looking for intense primary aromas

Describe the use of irrigation

to protect from hydric stress, and maintian future viability. Yields may not be increased.

What rootstocks are used?

Lime tolerant and vigour restricting. 420R Rupestris. Macabeo in particular tends towards excesive vigour

Why might copper and sulphur sprays be in common use?

Misty humid mornings leading to botrytis, downy and powdery mildew.

How are grapevine moths controlled?

sexual confusion techniques

How are harvest dates decided?

Sugar, acidity and pH levels measured. Full phenolic ripeness not necessary and low pot alcohols are desired.

What is Gluconic acid?

A recently developed indicator of botrytis. If levels are too high yeasts may struggle in the secondary fermentation and has a negative effect on stability.

What proportion of grapes are hand harvetsed? Why?

90%. Scattered ragmented ownership, uneven terrain.

What size crates are hand harvested grapes transported in?

25kg, 10kg for high quality grapes

How do quality minded producers maintain their juice?

Whole bunch press, to achieve low phenolics, often in the region of origin rather than the winery, juice then refridgerated and transported.

How must rosado cava be made?

Skin contact

What are the maxium juice yields?


How much juice may be pressed by 150kg of grapes?


Give an example of a producers using a yeast strain cultured themselves?


Give an example of a producer using a bought in strain. Why?

Codorniu, an appropriate strain for the vinatge is chosen.

What temperatures does the primary fermentation start at?


Are Cava wines typically vinatge or not?

Vintage, whether marked or not - vintage variation is limited and storing reserve wines adds cost.

How was disgorgement made faster in Cava?

Through yeast strain selection and bottles with smooth glass on the inside, both speeding up flocculation. Whole process now takes only 80 minutes

What is the typical dosage in Cava?

8-9g/l Brut

In what markets is medium dry/semi-secco popular?

Spain and Germany

What are the requirements for basic Cava?

9 months lees age

What are the requirements for Reserva Cava?

15 months lees age

What are the requirements for Gran Reserva Cava?

30 months lees age, Brut, extra brut or brut nature

What are the 4 registers held by the consejo regulador?

Growers, producers of base wine, storekeeprs of base wine and cava produecrs

What proportion of finished cava do Friexenet and Cordiniu produce?


What were the sales of Cava in 2018?

250m bottles

What proportion is basic cava?


What proportion is reserva, gran reserva and cava de paraje calificado?

11% and 2%

What propotion of cava is rosado?


What are the aims of the cava industry?

Raise standards and increase sales in line with globally increased demand

Define Cava de Paraje Calificado.

Single estate or vineyard and estate bottled, introduced in 2017. Vines 10+ years old, 8000kg/ha/48hl/ha, cannot be acidified, once finished must stay at the estate for 36 months, brut or lower.

What is Corpinnat?

A group outisde the Cava DO used to commit members to using traditional method with 100% organic grapes from Penedes. Hand harvested and estate produced and bottled. 90% of grapes must be approved local varieties, 18,36 or 60 months lees. 2019

Define Classic Penedes.

Traditional/ancestral method, certified organic grapes, 15 months lees. Part of DO penedes. 2014

Define espumoso de calidad de rioja.

Quality sparkling winre of Rioja. 2019, hand harvested, traditional method, crianza 15 months, reserva 24 months, gran anada 36 months