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Home Gastronomy: Tasting Cava

The tasting

A good Cava must be balanced and maintain a good relation between acidity and carbon dioxide.

The tasting of Cava has certain particular characteristics determined by the presence of Co2 which provide a certain tickling and tactile sensation on the palate that boosts the aromas and acidity.

Preparing the tasting

Good lighting will allow us to appreciate the clarity, transparency and nuances of Cava..

Temperature:

- Young Cavas: 6ºC
- Reserva Cavas: 6º- 8ºC
- Cavas Gran Reserva: 8-10ºC

There are two types of glass that are fundamental for the tasting:

A flute for young sparkling wines where there is a predominance of fresh, fruity and yeasty primary aromas with lively and prickly fast evolving bubbles.

A tulip or chalice type glass for aged sparkling wines where there is a predominance of ripe fruit aromas, a complex bouquet from the aging with hints of dried fruit, toast and pastry shop. The Co2 is creamy well integrated and the bubbles evolve slowly.

It is important to take into account any traces of soap in the glass and the quality of the glass itself may affect the sparkle of the Cava.

Visual stage

Clarity is an important aspect in sparkling wine.

- First pour a little Cava into the glass and let the bubbles settle.

- Next fill two thirds of the glass.

- Look at the Cava against a white background tilting the glass at a 45º angle.

Aspects to be assessed::

CLARITY A very important aspect of a sparkling wine and one of the first ones to be assessed. A sparkling wine must be clean and clear.

COLOUR Depending on the aging, young Cavas will show less intense colours with hints of green. Aged Cavas will show more intense colours with yellower and more golden hints..

VISCOSITY This can be seen when the Cava forms fine tears on the sides of the glass, viscosity provides volume, silkiness and smoothness.

PERLAGE It is important to observe the effervescence and bubbles present in the glass. The formation of foam at the time of pouring the Cava must be avoided as it will mean a significant loss of CO2 and it will hinder our senses when doing the organoleptic analysis. For this reason it is better to serve 2/3 of the glass in two servings. First we will pour a littleCava which will prevent excess production of foam and evaporation when pouring the second time.

BUBBLES The size of the bubbles is important as it is an indication of quality. When the second fermentation takes place in the caves very slowly in a dark place with constant humidity and at low temperatures, the CO2 starts forming little by little. The bubbles are smalland the CO2 starts to become integrated in the wine.

The speed at which the bubbles rise: The more integrated the CO2 is, the slower the bubbles rise. This is a good indication for assessing the aging of the Cava. The longer it has aged, the more integrated the CO2.

Olfactory stage

The first thing to be taken into account is that the glass must not be swirled to appreciate the aromas of Cava, as the CO2 is not only gas, but Cava in a gaseous state.

THE DIFFERENT AROMAS OF CAVA

Primary aromas: coming from the grape

Fresh, fruity and floral: Apple, green apples, pears, strawberry, raspberry, jasmine, peach, melon, almond blossom, mint…

Secondary aromas: coming from the yeasts

These are more intense at the beginning in young Cavas and then they become integrated with the tertiary aromas. Aromas of toasted bread, brioche, patisserie. A higher integration of the CO2 lessens the acidity. A creamy and sparkling sensation in more mature Cavas.

Tertiary aromas: in more complex Cavas

Ideal to pair with stronger and heavier dishes.
Aromas of dried fruits (almonds, hazelnuts, honey) of spices: coffee, mocha, toffee, caramel.

Tasting stage

H Hold the Cava in your mouth for a few seconds and inhale air through your teeth. At that moment you should be able to appreciate:

- The sparkle
- The basic aromas
- The structure
- The vinosity

The CO2
t is another one of the components of wine. In fact, even the oldest wines have CO2. Though it is much higher in sparkling wines.

In young Cavas:

- Lively CO2

- Young wine with an acidic sensation.

- Prickly texture.

In medium aged Cavas we can start talking about sparkle

 In Aged Cavas:
The CO2 is better integrated in the wine due to the long aging, so we can refer to creaminess. Higher sensation of sparkle and balance.

ACIDITY
Acidity provides freshness brightness and enhances the rest of the aromas..

A good Cava must be balanced and maintain a perfect alcohol, acidity and CO2.