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Sparkling Spanish Wine
Sparkling Spanish Wine Yonatan Sternberg
“Cava is produced using several different grape varieties (both red and/or white). Hence, the Spanish bubbly ranges from white to pinkish in color. Similar to Champagne, Cava is produced in several degrees/categories of sweetness depending on the sugar content…” As the summertime hits, Yonatan Sternberg extols the virtues of Cava, the Spanish bubbly.
One of my favorite things to do in the summer is head down to the beach, open a bottle (or 2) of Cava, read a good book and play an occasional game of Matkot (a typical Israeli beach racket ball game).

For those who aren’t familiar with this beverage, Cava is a sparkling Spanish wine that is produced using the same methods as in the production of French Champagne. Since the title “Champagne” can only be given to wines produced in the Champagne region of France, other European wine producing countries were forced to come up with different names for their sparkling wines, resulting in the Cava of Spain) or Proseco of Italy.

The name Cava comes from the Latin and means cave. Throughout history caves have been used for the preservation and/or aging of wine. The slightly chilly temperature, darkness and high humidity levels that most caves possess serve as ideal locations for this purpose. Bet you wish you had a cave to store you’re wines in, huh.

Most people attribute the first Spanish sparkling wine (Cava) to senior Josep Raventos. After returning from his journeys in France during the late 19th century, Raventos introduces the new wine production technique and ever since, Spaniards and others around the world have been enjoying this festive beverage.

Cava is produced using several different grape varieties (both red and/or white). Hence, the Spanish bubbly ranges from white to pinkish in color. Similar to Champagne, Cava is produced in several degrees/categories of sweetness depending on the sugar content. These range from “Brut Nature” (very dry) to “Dulce” (sweet). If you have them in your cupboard, try serving the Cava (or any sparkling wine for that mater) in a chilled “flute” glass. By doing this you will ensure that the bubbles last longer.

You should also note that Cava is (usually) sold ready for drinking and is not intended for further aging. Like other sparkling wines cava should be stored vertically and not horizontally in a cool, dark place.

While I usually prefer the original French version over Cava, the international demand for Champagne has driven up the price, making Cava a much more affordable option, usually providing excellent value for money. Stop by your local wine store (note that there are very few Kosher Cava options), and pick up a bottle. They usually start at NIS 30-40 at go up to several hundred shekels for the premium ones.

You can also enjoy a glass of Cava at one of two Tel Aviv bars that specialize in the beverage – La Champa and La Champa del Mar. Known as cava bars, both La Champas offer various types of Cava by the glass and the bottle at reasonable prices. And just like in Spain, you can enjoy your bubbly with small plates of authentic tapas while standing at the wood bar.

La Champa
52 Nachalat Binyamin, Tel Aviv
Tel: 077-2008636

La Champa del Mar
16 Ha’arbah Street, Tel Aviv
Tel: 03-5610630

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