Cava is a high quality, sparkling wine which is obtained by performing the second fermentation in the bottle (method Champagne) and which is prepared, fundamentally, in the Catalan region of the Alt Penedés, 95% of Spanish production is from this area, and specifically from the town of Sant Sadurní.

The Catalan word cava means "cave" or "cellar". Caves were used in the early days of cava production for the preservation or aging of wine. Catalan winemakers officially adopted the term in 1970 to distinguish their product from French champagne.

Only wines produced in the champenoise traditional method may be labelled "cava"; those produced by other processes may only be called "sparkling wines".



The main varieties of grapes used in the preparation of cava are: Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo. Each brings different characteristics that complement: Macabeo adds sweetness and fragrance. Parellada brings finesse. Xarel·lo adds body and structure. There are other secondary varieties, such as Chardonnay and Subirat Parent, also called Malvasia. For pink champagne black varieties are used, such as: Garnacha, Monestrell, Pinot Noir and Trepat. Depending on the type of grape used, cava can be white or pink. But also, depending on their sugar content per liter and the aging time, diversity expands.


Depending on the amount of sugar you add in the liquor issue distinguish the following classes of cava:

  • Brut Nature - up to 3 grams of sugar, not added sugar

  • Extra Brut: to 6 g of sugar per liter

  • Brut: to 12 g of sugar per liter

  • Extra Seco (extra dry): between 12 and 17 g per liter

  • Seco (dry): between 17 and 32 g per liter

  • Semiseco (semi-dry): between 32 and 50 g per liter

  • Dulce (sweet): above 50 g per liter

In the case of brut and extra brut there is no added liqueur, only added wine. The lack of added sugars makes these types of cava more demanding in terms of quality.


There are 3 different types of cava:“young”, “reserve”and "gran reserva", depending on the time they spend in the cellar.

  • Joven - from 9 to 15 months

  • Reserva - from 15 to 30 months

  • Gran Reserva - more than 30 months 


In the young type of cava primary aromas of the grapes are dominated, while secondary aromas are highlighted in the reserve cava, because of their long aging and the second yeast fermentation. The alcohol content must be between 10.8º and 12.8º, although it is closer to the lower limits and is not normal to find cellars exceeding 12º.



Ruben - Frendly guide in Barcelona and Catalunya
CatalanCava Director in UK and Spain

UK CatalanCava Managing Director

Cava in the UK

I am responsible for Catalan Cava in the UK market. If you want to buy cava I will help to find the best cava for you. If you want to have a typical Catalan and Spanish experience we will make it happen.


I am passionate about cava and Catalonia with experience in sales and managment.

Local Friend-Guide Barcelona


Cava Tasting Experience


5 years experience in the tourism industry in cities like Barcelona, London and Gran Canaria.

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