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Cava

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Cava is a Catalan sparkling wine of Denominación de Origen (DO) status. It may be white or rosé. The macabeu, parellada and xarel·lo are the most popular and traditional grape varieties for producing cava.

Only wines produced in the traditional method (méthode champenoise) may be labelled cavas, those produced by other processes may only be called vinos espumosos (sparkling wines). About 95% of all cava is produced in the Penedès area in Catalonia. The two major producers are Codorníu and Freixenet.

In the past, cava was referred to as Spanish champagne, which is no longer permitted under European Union law. Colloquially it is still called champán or champaña in Spanish or xampany in Catalan. Today it is defined by law as a Vino Espumoso de Calidad Producido en una Región Determinada (VECPRD), that is, "quality sparkling wine produced in a designated region".

To make rosé cava, small quantities of still red wines from cabernet sauvignon, garnacha or monastrell are added to the wine. Besides macabeu, parellada and xarel·lo, cava may also contain chardonnay, pinot noir and subirat grapes. The first cava to use chardonnay was produced in 1981. Like champagne, cava is also produced in varying levels of dryness, namely: brut nature, brut, seco, semiseco, and dolsec.

Cava is an important part of Catalan and Spanish family tradition and is often consumed at celebrations like baptisms, marriages, banquets, dinners and parties.

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References

Cava (Spanish wine), en.wikipedia.org

Cava - Spanish Sparkling Wine, spanishfood.about.com

Cava - The Spanish Champagne, spainforvisitors.com