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Tasting Challenge: A Wallet-Friendly Spanish Cava

Written by Phil Keeling

Expand your palate with Spain’s answer to Champagne: Cava. This week’s tasting challenge explores a delicious bubbly that offers surprising value.

What is the Tasting Challenge? The challenge is a way to improve your wine palate each week with 34 wines from 12 countries — The Wine Tasting Challenge.

This week we taste a Cava Reserva from Bodegas Pinord.

Tasting Challenge: A Wallet-Friendly Spanish Cava

At 11 dollars a bottle, this sparkler is the sort of thing to have in the house at all times.

For Champagne lovers looking for high quality, dry sparkling wines, Spanish Cava is an amazing alternative. What’s more, it’s possible to find great quality Cava for a great price.

So, for this Wine Tasting Challenge we picked a Cava Reserva that we’re hoping outperforms for the price.

Using the wine journal helps keep tasting notes consistent.

Dibon Brut Reserva Cava

Look: Medium Straw

Aromas: Cooked yellow apple, lemon, almond, and a touch of yuzu.

On The Palate: light body with high acidity that was crisp and clean from beginning to end. Tasted leaner with notes of lime zest, toasted almonds, and freshly sliced apple.

Food Pairing: This is exactly the sort of wine that we’d love to try with Cuban food (think of it cutting through the heaviness of plantains or rice and beans), paella, or just seafood in general.

What We Learned About Cava

Cava uses the very same winemaking method as Champagne. The major difference is the use of grapes native to Spain, which include Macabeo, Xarello, and Parellada.

Also similar to Champagne, Cava has a unique qualification system. And, if you’re hunting for quality, these qualifications are clearly marked on each bottle.

  • 1. Cava: Basic Cava
  • 2. Cava Reserva: More aging gives more bready notes.
  • 3. Cava Gran Reserva: The addition of a single vintage option along with extended aging to produce yummy toasty notes.
  • 4. Cava Paraje Calificado: A rare top-tier classification.

So, when we picked out this wine, we tried to find something that had some more age in the bottle. And, sure enough, this particular Reserva is aged on the lees for 2 years!

Last Impressions

Cava tastes refreshing and it’s easy to drink but still has enough complexity to brood over. At 11 dollars a bottle, it’s the sort of thing to have in the house at all times.

Sure enough, after this tasting we filled the wine fridge…

Trouble finding a wine? You don’t have to taste exactly the same wine as this article, you can find your own delicious surprise! Check for alternatives by searching on Wine Access.

What Spanish Cava did you try for your tasting challenge? Leave your notes below or post on social media with #34Wines34Weeks for a chance to get featured.

And, if you’d like to track your notes better, you’ll love Wine Folly’s custom designed wine journal.

Written byPhil Keeling

Technically WSET II but I also write plays, jokes, and the occasional diatribe. You'll find me waxing on about Riesling and other German delights.

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