8 Bottles That Prove Cava Should Be Your Summer Sparkling Wine

Pop this budget-friendly sparkling wine for warm weather celebrations.

<p>Photographer: Greg Dupree, Prop Stylist:Christina Daley , Food Stylist: Emily Neibors Hall</p>

Photographer: Greg Dupree, Prop Stylist:Christina Daley , Food Stylist: Emily Neibors Hall

What Champagne is to France, Cava is to Spain — but often for a much better price. Cava is one of the great values in the world of sparkling wine, balancing subtle complexity with energetic pop.

Cava is made much like Champagne, in which wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle and is aged on the lees for at least nine months before being disgorged and packaged for sale. It’s this combination that gives fresh, citrus and orchard-fruit notes to sparkling wines made from grapes like Xarel-lo, Macabeo, and Parellada, as well as bready, brioche-y notes from lees aging, and the earthy aspects of Catalunya’s unique terroir. Adding to Cava’s distinctive complexity, more and more producers are working with organically grown grapes, which means that these expressions are often better for the environment, too.

Related: Want Bubbles on a Budget? Cava Is Your Answer

Thanks to its easy-going combination of flavors, ability to pair with anything from simple salads to meaty grilled mains to delicate desserts, and price point that won’t make you wince at checkout, Cava should be your go-to wine for summer celebrations. From non-vintage bottles to well-aged vintage gems, here are eight of our favorite Cavas to buy now.

2016 Avinyó Cava Gran Reserva Brut Nature La Ticota ($50)

This Cava comes from a single vineyard of old-vine Xarel-lo that was planted in the Catalan countryside in 1940 by Joan Esteve Marcé, the grandfather of Avinyó’s current winemakers. La Tocota has serious depth and complexity due to a full five years spent on the lees — as a Cava de Guarda Superior Gran Reserva, a minimum of 30 months of lees aging is required. The wine’s flavors recall pear, white peach, sesame, and shortbread alongside a creamy, elegant finish.

NV Codorníu Ars Collecta Brut Blanc de Blancs ($15)

With a blend of Chardonnay, Parellada, and Xarel-lo, this Cava is bright with notes of Granny Smith apples and a seashore-like salinity. Flavors of hard nectarines and a quiet suggestion of walnuts extend through the finish. Codorníu, the oldest winery in Spain, has been making wine since 1551 with a continued commitment to sustainability.

Related: What's the Difference Between Prosecco and Champagne?

NV Marqués de Cáceres Brut ($19)

Lovely lemon, orange, and apple notes find ballast in honeyed almonds and multigrain toast, while a top note of salinity keeps things savory. This wine is precise and mouthwatering, and works well as an aperitif and alongside fresh seafood. Made from a blend of traditional grapes grown in Penedès, each variety is vinified separately then blended before the bottle fermentation. Marqués de Cáceres is headed by fifth-generation winemaker Cristina Froner, one of Cava’s top vignerons.

NV Masia Salat Cava Brut Nature ($14)

Vibrant and energetic, this boasts a mineral spine that carries notes of lemon pith, green melon, and hard pears. Since this is a brut nature sparkling wine (meaning no sugar is added after the wine is disgorged) that sees 14 months on the lees, it takes on a generous bready quality that pairs well with a range of dishes.

2013 Parés Baltà Blanca Cuisiné Gran Reserva Brut Nature ($45)

Xarel-lo is supplemented with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in this nutty, mature Cava that showcases just how well the style can age. Parés Baltà makes organic and biodynamic sparkling wines in Penedès, just outside Barcelona. This wine has burnished gold in the glass, and on the palate hazelnuts and mashed peanuts dance with pears, dehydrated apples, and halvah.

2021 Raventós i Blanc Conca del Riu Anoia Brut Blanc de Blancs ($25)

This certified organic standout includes 5% of the relatively rare grape variety Malvasia de Sitges. The rest of the blend is composed of old-vine Xarel-lo, Macabeo, and Parellada, and the result is a wonderfully structured sparkler with notes of caramel apples, citrus pith, and toasted walnuts.

Related: 12 Festive Cocktails to Make With Sparkling Wine

2019 Roger Goulart Brut Organic Reserva ($23)

Vegan-friendly and made with organically farmed grapes, this sparkling wine is rich and lively with flavors of apricots, autumn orchard fruit, and coriander that all ring through the nougat-flecked finish. Roger Goulart vinifies Cava’s three classic varieties separately, using a cold fermentation technique to help preserve the wine’s fruity, floral aromas before blending. Try this Cava with aromatic and spicy foods.

NV Segura Viudas Cava Brut Reserva Heredad ($30)

Instantly recognizable by the bottle’s pewter-inspired base, this brut reserva has been aged on the lees for at least 30 months before being disgorged. It’s a wine whose autumn orchard fruit flavors are kissed with lemon blossom, honeysuckle, and warm brioche, while a quick hit of caramel sweeps in on an otherwise mineral finish.

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