Bubbling up

19 March, 2018

Most of the producers DI interviewed were not too worried about the threat from prosecco, mainly because they are all concentrating on the Reserva and above categories and are in, or about to enter, the Cava de Paraje Calificado.

Cava de Paraje is the ‘brave new world’ for Cava. It is an astute move by president Bonet and the DO to shift cava way from the sparkling bargain basement and move Spain’s finest fizz to be up there and bear comparison with champagne without apeing it.

It will be a long, hard road, the default for celebrating, particularly among the uninitiated, will remain and may always be, champagne. Nevertheless, the premium cava producers make great wines, worthy of comparison with any from Champagne.

It’s all about the bubbles.


As well as the usual raft of tastings, masterclasses, competitions (Class Cava Cup, Sommelier for Cava), fairs and training, the DO has launched Cava Sound, aimed at younger people (25 to 45-year-olds) who do not necessarily know anything about wine, let alone cava. They want to have an experience, so cava has stepped in.

The DO has held concerts in Barcelona and Madrid and is hoping to take the concept to Amsterdam, Brussels and London. Silvia Grimaldi Martinez from the DO tells DI that companies are asked to donate 12 bottles each (18 this coming year) of Reserva, Gran Reserva or rosados (most give rosados). Of 204 members, 40 participated. Then, through social media, the DO announces applications for the 200 tickets. Applicants are checked for being within the target market. Tickets are issued to mobile phones but the venue is not announced until the day before. The audience gets live music, free cava and finger food.


  • Penedès – 96% of cava production
  • Extremadura (Almendralejo), Valencia (Requena) . Main areas – Aragón (Cariñena y Ainzón), Rioja, Navarra and Álava, less than 4%


  • Traditional: a minimum of nine months ageing in the bottle
  • Reserva: a minimum of 15 months ageing
  • Gran Reserva: a minimum of 30 months ageing
  • Cava de Paraje Calificado: a minimum of 36 months


  • Qualified small area
  • Yield per hectare: maximum 8,000kg
  • Vines more than 10 years old
  • Vinified on the estate
  • Maximum yield of must per ha: 48hl
  • A minimum of 36 months
  • Only brut
  • Quality tasting test
  • Full traceability from vine to wine

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Nick Strangeway

Bar food's blurred lines

Once upon a time pubs and bars were somewhere you went with the sole purpose of getting pissed and there wasn’t a knife and fork in sight, just a packet of dry roasted nuts.