Parellada, Chardonnay, Macabeo and Xarel-lo (traditional Cava grapes).
If you’ve ever seen the Cristalino before, you might notice that they’ve had a change of label.
Why you ask? Well, they pissed off Cristal, that’s why!
Let me take you back to 2006, Louis Roederer, producer of Cristal Champagne decided that Cristalino beared too much of a resemblance to their over-priced fizz. Long story short, Roederer won and Cristalino were forced to relabel their wine as “Jaume Serra Cristalino”.
If you want this short story to be turned into a long story, click here for the full court brief.
Admittedly I was always getting confused between the two wines! The only thing that reminds me of the difference between the two is that Cristalino is a Cava from Spain and Cristal is a Champagne from France. The other minor point is that Cristalino costs under $10, and Cristal costs upwards of $250!!! Other than those minor points, I can barely tell the difference…
Cava is a Latin word that means cave in English. Caves were originally used for the preservation or aging of wine Spanish sparkling wines.
The obscure grapes of Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo are the main three grapes used for Cava wine production throughout history. Indigenous to Spain, these grapes are still the primary grapes of Cava today.
Cava is a type of sparkling wine produced in the Penedes (Catalonia) region of Spain, just west of Barcelona. There is no Cava grape, there is no Cava region.
At the present, there are some 250 producers of Cava in Spain, which fall in six defined regions in order for them to be legally called Cava. Freixenet [fresh-eh-net], accounts for more than 60% of Cava sales in the United States.
Cava’s are required by law to be aged for a minimum of nine months after fermentation.
The area possesses nearly ideal conditions for vine cultivation. The soils are primarily limestone and clay, with some variations depending on the altitude and proximity to the sea. The climate is Mediterranean and mild with an average year round temperature of about 60°F.
The majority of Penedés vintners are small and family-owned. Some are literally one-man operations, making wine exclusively from their own harvests and performing each step of the process. Many vineyards have been in the possession of a single family for generations.
Very crisp and dry, light in body and showing green apple, lemon and lime, rich minerality. Finishes dry and slightly nutty. A very well put together wine for the money! At this price you’d except a sparkling wine only to be fit for mimosas, but this is totally drinkable by itself!
There are very few foods that don’t pair well with cava! Cava often has a slightly lower acidity level than many champagnes, giving it a softer, smoother palate that works with the sugar levels to offset the fattiness of sautéed and fried foods. Cava is relatively low in alcohol, which allows it to pair well with spicier foods since the heat of the spice is not amplified by the heat of the alcohol. It’s also a great match for fatty foods, as the carbon dioxide bubbles help to refresh the palate.
Usually found for under $10.