Cava producers facing ‘moment of transition’
When Cava was invented, it was seen as the ‘Spanish Champagne’; it uses the same method of production and was believed to be trying to emulate it.
Ballestereos Torres said that there is a shift happening in Cava, and winemakers are developing a unique Cava identity.
‘Only now are people in Catalunya looking into their terroir. They are in the process of looking inside themselves, finding themselves.’
‘You would never say this wine is a kind of Champagne,’ said Ballesteros. ‘We want to be ourselves [in Cava] – it’s not hiding.’
Cava tends to have less sugar than its Champagne counterparts, because it does not have the same acidity, so there is less need for it; many producers add very little dosage.
Other highlights from the wines included the Perelada, Gran Claustro, Cuvée Especial Gran Reserva 2009 – the Gran Claustro was first invented for a visit from President Eisenhower in 1959.
The grapesThe common grapes used for Cava are Macabeu – ‘the workhorse’ – which gives the wine it’s structure; Xarello, found in Catalunya, and Parellada – ‘the Cinderella’ – which Ballesteros said gives more complex characters, minerality and freshness.
The problem for Cava is that the grapes are sold very cheaply, said Ballesteros, and not given the same value as in Champagne; the region needs to be given value.
‘People wonder how do they produce the wines so cheaply – well someone is paying for it,’ said Ballesteros.
Origin information; Decanter