In the US market, Cava is synonym of cheap sparkling wine from Spain for most of the consumers. I’ve even been told, “I would never pay over $20 for a Cava”. There has been a long debate about how top quality Cavas and other sparkling wines could be represented with justice. Some wineries even decided to step out of the appellation or take alternative ones like Clàssic Penedès. The Cava regulatory board finally decided to create a new level of certification besides Reserva and Gran Reserva solely based on time in the bottle for the second fermentation. The new level (approval pending by the Ministry of Agriculture in Spain) is called Cava de Paraje Calificado, which could be translated as Estate Cavas. This Cavas express the terroir they come from and meet the highest standards of quality besides keeping the Traditional Method as the general rule to be Cava.
As stated by Wines from Spain, the Cavas in the new classification must meet all of the following requirements:
- Made with grapes from vines that are at least 10 years old
- From vineyards that are hand-harvested and have a maximum yield of 8,000 kg per hectare
- Estate fermented and vinified with a maximum output of 48 hectoliters per hectare
- Fermented in bottle and aged for at least 36 months
- A certification of the base wine must be made for complete traceability from the vine to a store shelf
As we thrive for quality, we already brought a Gran Reserva Cava but we are lining up some interesting sparkling wines served on top restaurants, but still within an affordable price range. Stay tuned!