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International Cava Day: 15 award-winning wines to try

The top-scoring Cavas of the Decanter World Wine Awards 2022 to cheers with.

Since the late nineteenth century Spain has been producing traditional method sparkling wines, and like Champagne, French Crémants or Italy’s Alta Langa, Franciacorta or Trentodoc, Spanish Cava is produced with this method, remaining on its lees for a minimum of nine months with secondary fermentation in the bottle.

What’s unique, however, is that Cava is often produced with a blend of indigenous white grape varieties: Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada. Several international varieties, including the more common varieties for sparkling wines, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, can also be used.

Scroll down to see the top-scoring Cavas from DWWA 2022

Cava has established a global reputation for making some of the best value sparkling wines produced by the traditional method. But it’s important to note the quality to be found across Cava’s categories and styles, with top expressions on par with some of the world’s best.

Styles of Cava

There are three main categories of Cava which produce different styles of sparkling wine.

When labelled Cava, the wine must undergo a minimum of nine months of lees aging, providing subtle notes of autolysis – the bready aromas and flavours found in traditional method sparkling wines. These Cavas typically have light apple, citrus and herbal notes with moderate acidity.

Cava Reserva must spend a minimum of 15 months on the lees – 3 months less than Champagne requires. Here, biscuit autolytic notes are more evident.

Aged a minimum of 30 months on the lees, Cava Gran Reserva wines can show pronounced autolytic characters including smoky and toasty notes. These Cavas can be premium in price but can show outstanding quality for value, especially when compared to traditional method sparkling wine counterparts.

To strengthen Cava’s notoriety as a world-class sparkling wine, estate produced and bottled Cava can qualify for a relatively new category, Cava de Paraje Calificado. These wines must age a minimum of 36 months, showing even more development and integration of flavours.

Quality rising

Joint Regional Chair for Spain at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2022, Pedro Ballesteros Torres MW commented:

‘What excites me about judging at the Decanter World Wine Awards, as a professional in this sector, is that it’s a wonderful opportunity to taste a wide array of wines from my country, all levels of quality, without being influenced by the label. Looking at what is there, it helps a lot to understand the present state of the fine wine industry in Spain.’

With results announced just last month, scores suggest the quality of Cava is rising with the most Gold medals awarded since the 2018 competition, and overall results up year on year with one Platinum, five Gold, 35 Silver and 75 Bronze medals awarded.

To celebrate International Cava Day, we highlight the top 15 to cheers with…

International Cava Day: 15 award-winning wines to try

Dominio de la Vega, Finca Cerro Tocón Blanc de Noirs Reserva Brut, Cava, Spain 2016

Platinum, 97 points
Superb developed scents of biscotti, spice, herbs and candied citrus. It has an excellent depth of flavour with savoury, spicy tones, biscuity complexity and some herbal bitters in the background. It retains vitality, great purity, a cool acid line and noteworthy persistence. Skilfully assembled and seamless.

Cavas Hill, Col.lecció Privada Gran Reserva Brut Nature, Cava, Spain 2017

Gold, 96 points
This is a beauty with sensational scents of honey drizzled over fig, a touch of caramel, lemon peel, spice, toast, beeswax, some coconut and buttered popcorn. It’s very long, seamless and complex, with a beautifully defined and well-integrated mousse. An outstanding example of everything that Cava can offer, simultaneously powerful and delicate. ¡Salud!

Dominio de la Vega, Reserva Especial Brut, Cava, Spain 2018

Gold, 96 points
Green apple, lanolin and almond scents leap from the glass, but a complex medley of apricot, peach, lime zest and zesty lemon and the fine, creamy mousse steal the show. This is a classic, really well-made, Cava. Pure and delicate with huge complexity and a lifted persistence on the finish.

Marrugat, Suspirum Brut Nature, Cava, Spain 2016

Gold, 95 points
Superb fresh white peach, brioche, yellow apple, lemon skin and yeasty bouquet. The palate has refreshing acidity, some evolved characters, good fruit concentration, a pleasant mineral overlay and a pleasant grip. The mousse is vivid, fine and persistent. Compelling, utterly refreshing and very food-friendly.

U Mes U, Larus Rara Avis Collectió, Cava, Spain NV

Gold, 95 points
Rich and ripe, with intense floral and nutty aromas, red candied apples and a marzipan touch. Vibrant and refreshing, textured and elegant, with a balanced flinty minerality and persistent mousse, this has all the hallmarks of very fine sparkling wine. Very stylish and long. Superb!

Alsina & Sardà, Gran Reserva Brut Nature, Cava, Spain 2018

Silver, 93 points
Intense floral, crab apple and quince nose. The palate has zesty acidity and a fine mousse. Persistent finish. A lovely wine!

Cavas J Hill, Panot Gaudi Reserva Brut, Cava, Spain NV

Silver, 93 points
Delicate apricot, floral, nutty and yeasty nose. The palate is quite complex and layered with a well-judged dosage. Long, mineral finish.

Summum, Lacrima Baccus Brut Nature, Cava, Spain 2018

Silver, 93 points
Expressive redcurrant and biscuit nose. The palate is broad and juicy with a creamy mousse, vivid acidity and plenty of biscuity and ripe apple characters.

Aldonza, Reserva Brut, Cava, Spain 2021

Silver, 92 points
Youthful ripe stone fruit and mineral nose, with a fine mousse, excellent concentration, a great acidic backbone and a rather lengthy finish. Archetypical Cava.

Avinyó, Selecció La Ticota Brut Nature Gran Reserva, Cava, Spain 2015

Silver, 92 points
This is a fine Cava with a touch of buttered toast and apple on the nose, integrated acidity, a delicate mousse and a long, floral finish.

Domenio Wines, Tres Naus Reserva Brut, Cava, Spain NV

Silver, 92 points
Superb yellow plum, nectarine, toasty and yeasty scents. The palate is bready and expressive with lively acidity and lots of yellow plum and nectarine characters. Medium persistence.

Maset, 1917 Gran Reserva Brut Nature, Cava, Spain 2018

Silver, 92 points
This is a fine Cava with a touch of buttered toast and apple on the nose, integrated acidity, a delicate mousse and a long, floral finish.

Mont Marçal, Rosé Brut, Cava, Spain 2020

Silver, 92 points
A delightful floral, citrus and red fruit nose and palate. An elegant affair with a long finish that would be lovely in summer next to the swimming pool!

Rovellats, Gran Reserva Col·leccio Extra Brut, Cava, Spain 2015

Silver, 92 points
Elegant almond, chamomile and brioche scents. Dry, seductive and refreshing with fine tension, a creamy mousse and a complex toasty palate – lovely drinking!

Jaume Serra, Reserva Brut Nature, Cava, Spain NV

Silver, 91 points
Pretty lemon peel, apple and pear nose. The delicate toasty flavours, creamy palate and lively acidity make for a refreshing and simple but well-made package.

Search all award-winning Cavas from DWWA 2022

DWWA 2022 Stickers

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