ACIDITY: Group of acids in the wine which provide taste freshness and microbiological stability.
AFROMETER: Device used for measuring over-pressure in sparkling wines expressed in atmospheres.
AGING: When undergoing aging, cava bottles are stacked horizontally in “rimas” “frames” where they stay for a minimum of nine months to undergo the second fermentation. See rima
AGING (TYPES): Cava: It can only be called Cava the sparkling wine made by the traditional method that satisfies the requirements established by the Cava regulation and that specifically has aged for a minimum of nine months in the cellar.
Cava Reserva: A cava whose aging from tirage to disgorging is no less than 15 months
Cava Gran Reserva: only those “Brut Nature”, “Extra Brut” and “Brut” Cavas, whose aging from tirage to disgorging is no less than 30 months
ALCOHOL: Organic compound formed by carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, which reacts with acids to form other compounds called esters. During fermentation of wine yeasts transform the sugar of the grapes into alcohol and carbonic gas, which together with water are the most common elements in wines and is indicated on the labels as % vol.
AROMA: Set of volatile compounds which characterise the smell of a wine. Olfactory sensation perceived via a nasal and retro-nasal manner emanating from the grape, fermentation and aging.
ATMOSPHERE: Unit for measuring gas pressure. Used for finding out the quantity of gas contained in Cavas and sparkling wines.
One atmosphere equals 1.1 kg per sq cm. Once that Cava has undergone the second fermentation, the pressure may reach 6 atmospheres (car tyre pressure ranges between: 2 to 2.5 atmospheres).
AUTOLYSIS: In cava is an enzymatic process that takes place following the death of the yeasts introduced at the tirage for the second fermentation. It consists in a rupture and degradation of the cell structure in yeasts and the transfer of these components to the wine. The effects of autolysis are more obvious the longer the aging. The influence of this process on the aroma of cava is noticeable, as it introduces a new range of aromas (pastries, toasted bread, dried fruits, etc.) Its maximum expression is five years after tirage and will begin at 9-15 months.
BARREL: A wooden container predominantly made of oak. Used for fermenting base wines, which will be part of the coupage in some Cavas.
BASE WINE: Wine obtained from authorised grape varieties for making cava which come from a designated protected area. The whole viticulture and winemaking processes take place in accordance to the regulations described in the Cava ruling.
BLANC DE BLANCS: Cava made exclusively with white grape varieties.
BLANC DE NOIRS: White Cava made exclusively from red grape varieties.
BLIND TASTING: Tasting in which the identity of the wines to be tasted is unknown.
BOTTLE: Glass container used for wines or other liquids. It may have different names according to size.
Most common sizes are:
Half bottle 37.5cl.
BRUT: Cava with up to 12 gr. of sugar added per litre at disgorging time.
BRUT NATURE: Cava with no added sugar at the time of disgorging. Brut Nature Cavas may contain up to 3 g/l of residual sugar.
BUBBLE: Produced by the carbon dioxide formed in the wine.
CARBON DIOXIDE: Gas produced in the fermentation of musts present in semi-sparkling and sparkling wines. If they are produced as a consequence of a second fermentation inside the bottle, we are talking about natural quality sparkling wines.
If the carbon dioxide is artificially added we are talking about a gasified wine.
CARBONIC GAS: Gas given off at fermentation when sugar is transformed into alcohol and CO2 at equal parts. Also called carbon anhydride.
CAVA: Cava is a quality sparkling wine produced in a designated area (Cava region) under specific characteristics in which the second fermentation and aging take place in the same bottle that the consumer uncorks. This second fermentation is what provides a guarantees of cava’s authenticity. White authorised grape varieties for producing cava are: Macabeo, Xarel.lo, Parellada, chardonnay, Subirat parent and red: Pinot Noir, Grenache, Monastrell and Trepat. This last variety is only authorized for making rosé Cavas.
Underground premises in which wine ages. The cave is deep and cool to maintain a temperature of 10ºC to 14ºC throughout the year. Humidity and ventilation as well as minimum lighting are important factors to be taken into consideration
CAVA FLUTE: Must be a flute type, long and narrow to better preserve the carbon dioxide and achieve aroma concentration. It enables a better appreciation of the bubbles.
CAVA GUILD: A non-profit organization dedicated to spreading information and promoting Cava as a generic product. Founded in 1979, with its initiatives and its more than one thousand Caballeros Cofrades (Gentlemen of the Guild), it has made the D.O Cava famous both locally and internationally.
CAVA REGULATING BOARD: Attached to Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Food with a Department in Vilafranca del Penedès administered by vine growers, wine producers and by representatives from autonomous communities in the region and from Ministry of Agriculture. The Council controls the production processes and guarantees its origin and quality using its own services to control the qualification and certification of origin, and the analytic and organoleptic characteristics of Cava. The Council has authority to sanction, keeps a Register of the sector producers and moreover it carries out promotion actions and fostering studies to improve the qualities of Cava.
CHARDONNAY: Small compact bunch round berries and very fine skin. Ideal for strengthening wines destined for aging. Fine aromatic wines highly acidic and good alcohol content from 11º to 12º. Well balanced with body and persistent in the mouth. Location: spread throughout Europe by the Benedictine monks, has adapted well to the Penedès Region.
CHARMAT SYSTEM, GRAN VAS OR LARGE CONTAINERS: A system for making sparkling wine which consists in producing a second fermentation of a base wine by adding sucrose to a large tank capable of supporting high pressures. The wine is bottled with the level of pressure already reached. It owes its name to the French engineer Charmat and it dates from the year 1907.
CLARIFICATION: Operation carried out for eliminating components in a colloidal state, which are found in suspension in the wine, in order to guarantee clarity. To achieve this purpose, several substances normally proteins are added which when in contact with the wine coagulate and attach themselves to the particles in suspension and drag them to the bottom. See Colloidal
CLASP: Wire clasp which fastens the cork of Cava or sparkling wines.
CLASPER: Machine that places a metal clasp on sparkling wine bottles.
COLLAR: Small label placed on the neck of Cava bottles. It can indicate the type of wine, the cellar brand or any other additional information. It was first used in 1897.
COLLOIDAL: Sub-micron particles in suspension or dispersed in a liquid environment though without being dissolved in it. Their instability and that fact that the wine may become cloudy recommend their elimination. Their size is so small they cannot be seen nor can be got rid of by a filter. They are eliminated by means of clarification. See clarification
CONTROLED FERMENTATION: This operation consists of maintaining the temperature to a specified value. Temperature control enables regulation of the fermentation dynamics in order to favour certain aspects such as: aroma, colour, etc.
CORK: Protective layer which may be periodically removed from the trunk and branches of the cork oak tree (Quercus suber, L.) and which represents the raw material for the manufacture of cork products. The operation whereby the bark is removed from the cork oak tree is called “desbornizar y sacas” for the following harvests. It takes place during the time of the year that removal may be carried out without damaging the mother layer.
CORK INSERTION, LABELING AND DISPATCH: The final cork is inserted in the bottle, a wire seal and caps placed on the neck, labels are placed with their respective quality control stamps and the bottle is ready for dispatch. See seal
CORK OAK: Tree from which cork is obtained.
CORKED: Although traditionally in books the taste or mould aroma has been defined as corked, it is currently known that this definition is wrong. Technology such as gas chromatography has enabled to determine that mould taste comes from a molecule called: 2, 4, 6-trichloroanisole (TCA) (apart from other molecules belonging to the family of haloanisoles), which produce a very low threshold mouldy smell. This molecule comes from the biodegradation of chlorophenols and chloroanisoles which have been detected in products such as: chicken, drinks, materials (cardboard, wooden pallets). Therefore, they are not an inherent problem of the cork, but due to the fact that these molecules are highly volatile, they can contaminate a wide range of products with a characteristic smell of damp mould. Therefore, at the time of cataloguing and describing different tastes and smells in the wine, it must be referred to as: mouldy and not corked (as the cork aroma, is really a vegetal or wood aroma of a slight intensity).
COUPAGE: A mixture of technique, experience and art whereby the winemaker is responsible for the selection and blending of the different wines from different origins and varieties. These may be from the same or a different harvest. The majority of coupages in cava are normally made from the same harvest.
CROWN: Effect produced in the glass the bubbles reach the surface persistently occupying partially or totally the free surface.
Municipalities in the area of:
DENOMINACIÓN DE ORÍGEN CAVA (D.O): Those quality sparkling wines produced by second fermentation inside the bottle according to the traditional method in a specific region. See D.O. Cava map.
DISGORGING: Operation consisting in the removal of the sediments caused by the second fermentation in the cellar. To ease the process, the bottle necks are dipped in a freezing liquid and the frozen cap is expelled without losing any carbonic gas. This operation may also be done manually. See lees
DOSAGE: Operation consisting in, after aging and disgorging adding topping up liquor, which according to its sugar content will determine the type of Cava (Extra brut , Brut, etc.).
EXTRA BRUT: Sparkling wine containing up to 6 grams of sugar per litre.
EXTRA SECO: Sparkling wine containing between 12 and 17 grams of sugar per litre.
The yeasts also produce:
- Secondary compounds: higher alcohols, glycols (glycerine), succinic acid, acetic acid (volatile acidity), aromatic substances, etc.
FERMENTATION AT LOW TEMPERATUE (OR CRYO FERMENTATION)): Fermentation taking place at a temperature of approximately between 10º C to 15º C in order to obtain a higher aroma potential.
FERMENTISCIBLE SUGAR: Sugar which may ferment by the action of yeasts (Glucose + Fructose).
FILTERING: This consists in passing the liquid through a porous element or membrane to retain the sediment. Its objective is not to replace clarification, simply to favour and complement it.
FIRST FERMENTATION: Alcoholic fermentation that takes place by the transformation of the sugars contained in the musts by the yeasts into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
FLAVONOIDS: Tannins antioxidant properties Beneficial compounds in wine for fighting coronary diseases.
FORMATION OF BUBBLES: Second fermentation process.
GLUCOSE: Sugar contained in the wine’s must which the yeasts transform into alcohol.
GRAPEVINE: Plant of the vine. A shrub like plant of the vitacea family (Vitis vinifera) with a woody stem and large leaves. Its fruit forms round berries (grape grains). It has been cultivated in the Mediterranean since time immemorial. Varieties of grape have been cultivated for consumption as fruit or for later wine making.
It is an annual.
- D.O. if any (in this case “Cava”)
- Type of cava (Brut Nature, Brut, etc.)
- Bottling record number and location
- Alcohol content
- Capacity (see bottle)
- Legal notice “Contains Sulphites”
- Vintage (in the case of Gran Reserva Cavas)
- There may be other information in accordance to the countries the cava is imported.
- Professional information (varieties, tasting notes, food pairings, etc.)
LEES: A group of material specially dead yeasts but also other organic substances and salts that settle at the bottom of tanks or bottles after fermentation of the must (alcoholic fermentation) or second fermentation of the cava (inside the bottle).
Location: central and coastal areas of Penedès & Garraf,
D.O.Tarragona, Conca de Barberà & Rioja.
MACERATION: More or less prolonged contact of the must or the wine with the solid parts of the grapes to extract colour and aroma. Maceration confers the wine four specific characteristics: colour, tannins and aroma components.
MICROCLIMATE: A set of weather and soil conditions particular to a specific area.
MONASTRELL: Large or medium bunch, not very compact with large berries and thick skins. Moderate colour and alcohol content wines which require lengthy aging periods. Full bodied red wines. Alcohol content 11º to 12º. Location: Typical Mediterranean variety with a small presence in the Penedès region.
MONOVARIETAL: A wine or cava made exclusively with one type of grape.
ORGANOLEPTIC TEST: See tasting
PEARLING: Stream of beads (bubbles) that rise from the base to the surface of the glass.
PHYLLOXERA: Small insect that lives on the roots of the vines and feeds itself by sucking the plant’s sap. Originating in America it reaches Europe in 1863 and causes havoc in all European vines. It arrived in Spain in approximately 1890.
PINOT NOIR: Small compact and round bunch; slightly oval berry, black and blue colour. Thick skin. It makes very fine wines rich in colour and aroma. It strengthens the crown of bubbles in the glass. Persistent in the mouth. Alcohol content 10º to 11º. Location: it adapts well to high cool areas.
POLYPHENOLS: Group of substances found in the wine consisting in: tannins, antocians, flavones and phenolic compounds extracted through maceration and fermentation of the skins. They are responsible for the colour of the wine and that is why found at a higher level in red wines.
PRESS: Machine used for crushing and pressing the grapes. There are several models available. The most common one is the pneumatic press.
PRESSING: Process consisting in extracting the must from the grapes by means of a press. Only the must from the first pressing may be used for making cava, with a maximum yield of 1 hectolitre of wine per 150 kilograms of grapes. The best musts for making cava are obtained (less concentration of polyphenols and vegetal aromas) See polyphenols.
PRIMARY AROMAS: Related to the grape, fruit or floral. Fresh and fruity; apple, pear, white fruit, pineapple, lemon, strawberries, raspberries, etc.
RACKING: Separation of the must from the sediment. Process by which the must is clarified.
REMUAGE OR RIDDLING: Riddling is a specific operation for sparkling wines that consists in getting rid of the sediment with more ease. Riddling consists in gradually turning and raising the bottles in the rack until finally leaving them in a vertical position so that the lees slide to the neck of the bottle and may be removed much easier.
It may be carried out manually or mechanically using gyropallets.
RESIDUAL SUGAR: Name given to sugar which has not fermented and which remains in the wine. There is a range of non fermentable natural sugars.
RIMA: Way in which the bottles are placed on their sides in rows to age (second fermentation and aging).
SEAL: A numbered seal of quality and origin issued by the Consejo Regulador del Cava.
SECO: Sparkling wine containing between 17 and 32 grams of sugar per litre.
SECOND FERMENTATION: Takes place in the bottle once the Tirage Liquor and the yeasts are added.
SECONDARY AROMAS: Emanating from the yeasts. Aromas developed during the fermentation process. More intense at the beginning in young Cavas and then they are assimilated with the tertiary aromas. Fruity and floral, soft bread, honey, jasmine, almond tree, fennel, etc.
SELECTED YEASTS: Are obtained from isolated growth in order to improve fermentation and achieve optimum alcohol yield and better quality.
SEMISECO: Sparkling wine containing between 32 and 50 grams of sugar per litre.
SPARKLING: A wine which has carbon dioxide. See Sparkling wine.
SPARKLING WINE: Double fermentation wine. Second one takes placed in the bottle.
STRUCTURE: Backbone of a wine. Its body consisting of all its elements: acidity, alcohol content, sugar, tannins, etc.
SUBIRAT PARENT O MALVASÍA RIOJANA: Large bunch, big round berries when ripe acquires red tones. Mostly used for making cava in Rioja. Pale yellow green colour wines. Middle intensity aromas of white fruit with herbaceous tinges and hints of dried fruits. Well balanced in the mouth, moderate acidity and alcohol content of 10.5º to 12º. Location: D.O.C Rioja and also D.O Penedès where it is known as Subirat Parent.
SUGAR: Sugar is a sweet, white, solid and crystallised substance soluble in water and alcohol. One of the basic compounds in grape must. The most important ones are: hexose sugars: glucose, dextrose and fructose and pentose sugars. Sugar, together with yeasts is responsible for transforming the must into wine. Due to fermentation sugar turns into carbon dioxide and alcohol.
SWEET CAVA: Cava with sugar content higher than 50gr./l.
TERTIARY AROMAS: More pronounced in aged Cavas. Developed when the Cavas mature. Dried fruit: almond, walnuts, hazelnuts, honey, spices bread crust, toast, mocha and cocoa.
TIRAGE: Operation in which the Tirage liquor consisting of sugars and yeasts is added to the wine to produce a second fermentation in the bottle. See Tirage Liquor.
TYPES OF CAVA ACCORDING TO SUGAR CONTENT:
BRUT NATURE No added sugar (may contain up to 3 g/l of residual sugar)
EXTRABRUT Up to 6 g/l
BRUT Up to 12 g/l
EXTRA SECO Between 12 to 17 g/l
SECO Between 17 to 32 g/l
SEMISECO Between 32 to 50 g/l
DULCE More than 50 g/l
TIRAGE LIQUOR: Added to the base wine in the production of sparkling wines. To make the “Licor de Tiraje” for cava, apart from yeasts and sucrose, also musts, partially fermented musts and base wine may be added. Yeasts transform the sugar into carbon dioxide in a reduced environment at a certain level of pressure. See base wine.
TOPPING UP LIQUOR: Added to sparkling wines to provide specific characteristics. It is made of: sucrose, concentrated must, base wine, or a mixture of said products plus a distilled wine product.
TRADITIONAL METHOD: Sparkling wine making process in which the second fermentation takes place inside the bottle. Used to be called “Champagnoise Method”.
TREPAT: Compact bunch; large thick skinned berries. Little colour intensity, balanced acidity with little body. Ideal for making rosé Cavas. Location: Conca de Barberà, Costers del Segre & Penedès.
VARIETY: Grape type of very specific and defined characteristics. All the grape types belong to the same: vitis vinifera species. Authorised varieties for making cava are: Macabeo, Xarel.lo and Parellada (considered main varieties) and Malvasía (Subirat Parent), Chardonnay, Garnacha tinta, Monastrell, Pinot Noir and Trepat. This last one only used for making rosé Cavas.
VINTAGE: Year in which the grapes used for the wine were harvested.
Full of aromas offering strength and vigour to coupage, balanced, slightly acidic. Well structured. Alcohol content of 11º to 12º, it provides personality and aging potential. Location: Central and coastal DO Penedès area, Tarragona, and in some other Catalan coastal area like DO Alella.