The Casteller Cava Brut is 40% Macabeo, 40% Xarel-lo, and 20% Parellada (the 3 traditional indigenous Catalonian grapes used in producing Cava) sourced from the Celler Vilafranca vineyards and winery, the largest vineyard owner in the Penedes area of the Catalunya region of Spain (near Barcelona). Brut indicates that this is a dry or not sweet Sparkling wine and this Bubbly was produced with the Traditional Method which is the exact same method used in Champagne. One of the differences between Champagne and Cava other than the grapes used is that in France the second fermentation (inside each and every bottle, this is where the bubbles are created) lasts a minimum of 18 months and in Spain the minimum is 9 months with the Casteller Cava Brut lasting 12 months. There are other differences and Champagnes’ history goes back 100s of years while Cava started in the late 1800s. But the most significant difference is I found this estate Cava for $10.99 and most entry-level non-estate Champagne start at $30+. With that said, Champagne sells at elevated prices because consumers have decided it is well worth the price. But that price difference is also good reason to give Cava a chance. The alcohol level is a very reasonable 11.5%.
The color is a very pale, very clear gold, with tons of energetic tiny bubbles. The nose is apple and lemon, a touch of lime, a hint of melon, and a light yeasty aroma. This is a light, clean, crisp, bubbly with an appealing contrast of slightly sweet fruit on the mid-palate. It tastes of tart, not sweet lemon/lime, pink grapefruit, and a little spice. The mid-palate adds melon, ripe apple, faint crusty and buttered bread, with a final hit of raisin spice. The acidity is well-balanced, this will pair with a light meal or sip nicely on its own. The finish is as full as the body and sticks around.
Which wine is more enjoyable (especially if you are the one paying the bill), an $11 Cava or a $32 Champagne? That question isn’t actually easy to answer, I must confess that I have never-ever turned down a glass of Champagne and the greatest wine I have ever tasted was a Pinot Noir based Champagne. But a Cava done right, a Cava that speaks to you, can definitely have the same enjoyment level as a Champagne, plus the bang for the buck factor can’t be denied. Bubbles are awesome, no matter the price tag, and if they happen to be affordable, all the better.