Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine of Denominación de Origen (DO) status, most of which is produced in Catalonia. 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, with the village of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia being home to many of Spain’s largest production houses.
Cava is an important part of Catalan and Spanish family tradition and is often consumed at celebrations like baptisms, marriages, banquets, dinners and parties.
The Wine Advocate has a new Spanish critic, Neal Martin. It is very telling, I think, that he has begun his beat in Catalunya, a region producing such a wide variety of delicious, well balanced, unsung heroes of Spanish wine. One of these would be Cava, which when it is well made offers the refreshment of your favorite sparkling, with some of the refinement of Champagne (Cava undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle, same as in Champagne) for a fraction of the price.
Inspired by Barcelona’s Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria – the quintessentially Catalan market destination where locals (and tourists alike) gather to eat, shop and gossip. Mercat Cava aims to evoke the same spirit of community, liveliness, and tradition. The Cava is made using traditional methods in the cellars of El Xamfra, where Francisco Dominguez hand crafts every bottle with the utmost attention and care. The Mercat Cava spends a minimum of 18 months aging on its lees and is finished with a very low dosage, allowing the chalky soils on which the old indigenous vines are grown, to shine through on the palate.
Spain | Cava | Penedes
In 1872, Josep Raventos began experimenting with Spanish wines made in the same manner as was being done in Champagne, France – and hence, CAVA was born. But unlike Champagne, the DO Cava designation is defined by a specific practice of winemaking, rather than a region where wine is made. There are over six regions with the DO Cava status, though over 90% of production is from the Penedes region. The town of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia is the unofficial Cava capital in the heart of Penedes, home of many top producers, including El Xamfra.
Macabeo, Xarel.lo & Parellada
Vinified in the traditional method and aged for 18 months (twice the minimum for the DO).
Vines are about 15-40 years old, planted on calcerous and clay soils.
- Brut: less than 8gr/l
- Brut Nature:
in the glass
A delicate bead in the glass of soft golden color. The nose bursts with rich pear, green apple and hints of cream. On the palate the wine shows great finesse and balance with notes of papaya and pear rounded out with hints of hazelnuts, finishing with crisp acidity and freshness.
Cava El Xamfra Mercat Brut: 89 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate April 2012
The 2009 Mercat Brut is a blend of 40% Macabeu, 40% Xarello and 20% Parellada grown on clay soils with 5grams/l residual sugar. It has an intriguing bouquet that is slightly reduced at first, but left aside for a few moments opens up to reveal touches of white asparagus and dried herbs. The palate is nicely balanced with subtle citrus notes complemented by dried apricot and a touch of quince. It leads to a precise finish that could do with more length, but it is still an interesting Cava, one that is full of personality. Drink now-2014+
Cava El Xamfra Mercat Brut Nature: 91 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate April 2012
“The 2009 Mercat Brut Nature is the same blend but with 0.3 grams/l residual sugar. It has a wonderful peachy bouquet that blossoms in the glass with hints of dried apricot and honeysuckle. The palate is very well-balanced with crisp acidity and a fine thread of bitter lemon that lends tension and poise, leading to a very champagnois finish. Excellent! Drink now-2015+”
Cava Mercat Brut Technical Sheet: