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International Cava Day: 15 award-winning wines to try

The top-scoring Cavas of the Decanter World Wine Awards 2023 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 2023

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 2023, 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.’

DWWA 2023 results were announced just last month, with Cava wines receiving five Gold, 34 Silver and 63 Bronze medals.

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

International Cava Day: 15 award-winning wines to try

Guilera, Musivari Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2007

Gold, 95 points
Delicate aromas and flavours of lemon zest, green apples, white flowers, toasted brioche and a hint of nutty nougat. Really complex and refined with a lingering apple and lemon zest finish. Kudos! Alcohol 12%

Miquel Pons, Montargull Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2016

Gold, 95 points
This has nourishing whiffs of ripe apples, citrus and petrol. The palate is ripe and voluptuous with juicy, filigreed acidity and a creamy mousse. Bouquet, palate, finish: all are outstanding. The word ‘benchmark’ comes immediately to mind. Alc 11.5%

Pere Ventura, Brut Gran Reserva 2016

Gold, 95 points
This is a gorgeous sparkling wine with a sophisticated toasted brioche, floral and tropical fruit bouquet. The refined well-structured palate has thirst-slaking acidity, elegant fruit and a chalky freshness. Drives deep through to the long finish. Impressive! Alc 12%

Summum, Lacrima Baccus Reserva Brut 2018

Value Gold, 95 points
Complex, focused nose displaying scents of green apple, white tea and anis. Lively on the palate with some attractive yeastiness to balance the fruit, crisp acidity and well-integrated bubbles. Rounded yet clean and fresh on the finish. Alc 12%

Varias, Edició Limitada Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2008

Gold, 95 points
Tertiary aromas of bruised apples, nuts and dried stone fruits, then fresh lemon, floral, toasted brioche and dried apple notes on the palate. Long, brown butter finish. Superb! Alc 12%

Maset, L’Avi Pau Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2019

Silver, 93 points
A subtle, subdued nose of yellow fruits, followed by a chalky, mineral palate, brisk mousse and refreshing finish. Easy drinking. Alc 11.5%

Guilera, Xarel·la Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2012

Silver, 93 points
Floral, citrus, green apple and apricot aromas with a creamy mousse, hints of honey, slate and nice oatmeal length. Interesting and inspiring. Alc 12%

Bodegas Villa Conchi, Imperial Reserva Extra Brut 2018

Silver, 92 points
Elevated earthy aromatics, with some white flowers, beeswax, and honey notes. Fine bubbles, fresh acidity and gentle biscuit notes throughout the palate. Alc 12%

Heretat Mastinell, Cristina Gran Reserva Extra Brut 2016

Silver, 92 points
Complex autolytic, beeswax, almond skin and slightly honeyed nose with a fine, creamy mousse and depth of flavour concentration. Long, buttery finish. Alc 12.5%

Agusti Torelló Mata, Kripta Brut Nature Gran Reserva 2013

Silver, 91 points
A ripe rendition with grapefruit, citrus, caramel and beurre noisette aromas, fine bubbles, light red apple and yeasty flavours and a citric finish. Alc 11.5%

Rovellats, Col·lecció Extra Brut Grand Reserva 2016

Silver, 91 points
Pineapple, honeysuckle and toasted brioche nose. Rich, warm and ripe fruit on the palate; fine bubbles, enticing acidity and great length. Alc 11.5%

Cavas Naveran, Dama Extra Brut 2021

Silver, 90 points
Well-made, spicy and citrusy with hints of lemon pith, yoghurt and brioche in the mouth. Refreshing and easy to drink. Alc 12.5%

Dominio De La Vega, Reserva Especial Rosé Brut 2020

Silver, 90 points
A delicate style with ripe citrus, floral and gently biscuity aromas and flavours, adequate acidity and medium length. Rather lovely. Alc 15%

Roger Goulart, Organic Reserva Brut 2020

Silver, 90 points
Subtle green apple and aniseed aromas, with prominent bubbles and a fresh palate with a light biscuity note. Finishes quite lengthily. Alc 12%

U Mes U, Rara Avis Territ Brut Nature NV

Silver, 90 points
Fresh, crisp and clean with citrus aromas, green apple acidity, a creamy texture and a long cleansing finish. Alc 12%

Search all award-winning Cavas from DWWA 2023

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