Low temperatures favor the permanence of carbon dioxide bubbles in the liquid. That is why we like to drink it very cold.

Carbon dioxide bubbles turn cava into sparkling wine (left). When xanthan, a thickener, is added, it increases the viscosity of the liquid and the permanence of the bubbles.

Under European law, the term “champagne” refers to a sparkling wine that is made, using the champenoise method, in the Champagne region of France. Sparkling wines made using this “traditional” method in other areas must therefore use other appellations. The “cava” corresponds to the sparkling wine that is produced, according to the traditional method, in the “cava region”, which encompasses several areas of northern Spain. More than 70 percent of the production is concentrated in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia. The first sparkling wines made in Sant Sadurní using the Champagne method appeared on the market in 1872. Champagne and cava are therefore based on very similar products and procedures; in any case, the difference in climates (continental for the former and Mediterranean for the latter) can affect acidity.

Cava is obtained through a first alcoholic fermentation of grapes, at a controlled temperature of between 13 and 18ºC. There are different varieties of grapes for the production of this sparkling wine. Among the whites: Macabeo, Xarel.lo, Parellada, Subrat (or Malvasía Riojana) and Chardonnay. Among the reds: Garnacha, Monastrell, Pinot Noir and Trepat.

To cause a second fermentation (foaming), sugar and yeast are added to the base wine; then it is bottled. This operation is called “pulling”. The bottles are stored in the cellars (cellars), in a horizontal position. After this second fermentation and the subsequent aging on the lees (from 9 months to several years), the “stirring” is carried out, that is, the yeast sediment is directed towards the neck of the bottle, next to the stopper. The next step is the opening, or “disgorgement”, of the bottle (expulsion of the lees).

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