It is very likely that many people do not know what to answer when asked: Which sparkling wine is better, Cava or Champagne? Despite being two wines that have little in common, Cava and Champagne are often compared, and an agreement is not always reached regarding the origin of the best bubbles.
Cava and Champagne only share the production method, the well-known second-fermentation Champenoise method in the bottle, the discovery of which seems to be attributed to Dom Perignon. However, the divergences between both sparkling wines are multiple.
Vinissimus, the leading eCommerce in Europe for the sale of Spanish wine online, gives the keys so that anyone can become an expert and perfectly differentiate between these two wines:
- Different region: The Cava region (mostly in the Catalan Penedés) and Champagne have different terroirs, as well as different grape varieties. While the soils in the Penedés are mostly clayey, alluvial and sandy, with some limestone in the subsoil, in the French region the calcareous soils are the main protagonists.
- Climate: The insolation, the rains and the thermal contrasts are also very different, leading the grapes to express themselves in ways that have little to do with each other. The musts of Champagne, a border area for the cultivation of the vine, often need to be chaptalized, that is, enriched with sugar, since the lack of sun and the greater rainfall do not allow them to reach a sufficient degree to ferment to the desired graduation. without extra help.
- Varieties of different grapes: Regarding the varieties, the essence of Cava is based on the trilogy formed by Xarel·lo, Macabeo and Parellada (three white grapes), while Champagne is based on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and meunier, of which the last two are inks. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are currently grapes also authorized by the Cava regulations, but their use is still insignificant if we compare it with that of the three traditional white varieties.
- To nothing: Another difference is that cavas are usually made with wines from a single vintage, since in Spain there are rarely maturation problems. In France, on the contrary, it is a common practice to mix different vintages in a cuvée with the aim of balancing the wines and compensating for the weaknesses of the most difficult vintages; When a great sparkling Champagne is bottled as Millesimé, it is understood that all its grapes come from the same vintage that, due to its particularity, deserved to be vinified individually.
- Characteristics: In general terms, it can be said that the sparkling wines from the Cava area are more voluminous and Mediterranean, while the French ones are more delicate and floral, but as always, generalizing is a really risky task, so it is best to experience both wines to understand and appreciate the particularities of each one.