Codorniu Cava Sparkling Wine

My Cheap Champagne Secret

Woman on Wine by Amy Reiley

I have never tried to hide the fact that I love Champagne. I could drink it morning, noon and night. (True, I’d probably never get anything done, but it would be worth it.) Here’s the thing: as wonderful, miraculous and damn tasty as Champagne is, it only comes from a very small region of France. That means supply outweighs demand and Champagne’s prices are, well, let’s just say I couldn’t afford to drink it morning, noon and night.  Thankfully, there are wonderful sparkling wines made all around the world, including some exceptional bottlings made right in the U.S.A.

However, when I want something to drink on say, your average Wednesday, or a casual breakfast with a couple of friends, my “cheap Champagne” secret is Spanish Cava. If you like sparkling wine, Cava is the word you need to know. It is not Champagne, but like Champagne, Cava has to be produced in the champenoise method, or methode traditionelle, (where the bubbles are made in the bottle). But unlike Champagne, Cava is downright cheap. Now, no Cava will ever replace a bottle of vintage Champagne but for saving money on a party, making Champagne cocktails or, if we’re being honest, drinking alone, Cava is your wine.

My recommendations

Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava
This is one of the world’s best-recognized sparkling wines. And as the poster child for Cava, it does a nice job of delivering bright citrus and apple flavors and a clean finish. Simple, easy-drinking, affordable—this is brunch wine at its finest.

Codorniu Cava Sparkling WineAnna De Codorniu Brut Cava
This lovely bubbly recently got a bottle makeover. Its all white bottle gives the wine a certain chic appeal that the wine inside manages to live up to pretty well. Lots of tropical aromas and flavors make it easy to drink and great for an aperitif.

Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Rosé Cava
I don’t think you can do better for under $10. (I don’t think you could do much better under $25!) This wine has freshness, acidity and a nice clean finish. But it isn’t boring, it offers lovely red berry aromas and flavors.

Paul Cheneau Blanc de Blancs Reserva Brut Cava
Although slightly pricier than most Cavas you’ll find on the shelf, this wine is definitely on the complex end of the spectrum. It offers compelling bready aromas, the zing of citrus and an interesting herbal note

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad Cava
I freely admit it, one of the best reasons to buy this wine is the bottle. The appliqued silver crest is enough to impress anyone. But the wine’s estate-grown grapes offer a kind of meaty richness.

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