Celebrate with Cava

Looking for a budget-friendly bottle of sparkling wine to ring in the New Year? Look to Spain — Cava, the country’s answer to Champagne, is a delicious and affordable alternative to French or California bubbly.

Cava comes from Penedès, a region in northeast Spain near Barcelona. It is made from three Spanish grapes: Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel·lo. It is becoming more common for Cava producers to use Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, two of the three grapes used in Champagne.

Like Champagne, Cava is produced by the traditional method (Méthode Champenoise). The bubbles are a result of a secondary fermentation that takes place in the bottle.

Cava can range from dry to sweet. If you prefer your sparkling wine dry, look for “brut nature” or “brut” on the label. “Seco” offers a hint of sweetness, and “semiseco” and “dulce” are the most sweet.

Open one of these bottles of Cava at your 2013 celebration:

Anna de Codorníu Brut ($15)
Anna de Codorníu was the first Cava to incorporate Chardonnay. This sparkling wine is 70% Chardonnay and 30% Parellada. Yellow apple, citrus and toasted almond aromas and flavors from the Chardonnay are balanced with floral notes from the Parellada, with a crisp and refreshing finish.

Parés Baltà Brut ($11)
This sparkling wine is a blend of Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel·lo. Aromas of toast, citrus and apple introduce dry flavors of golden pear, yellow apple and grapefruit. Well-balanced acidity and small, energetic bubbles make this a pleasing sip.

Segura Viudas Aria Brut ($11)
This dry sparkling wine is 50% Macabeo, 40% Parellada and 10% Xarel·lo. Lively flavors of pineapple, pear and baked apple mingle with a touch of toasted almond and straw, culminating in a crisp and clean finish.

Poema Brut Cava ($9)
A blend of Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo, this sparkling wine is fresh and lively with subtle citrus flavors.