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This $10 Spanish cava sparkles like champagne

The winemaker legally adopted the methods of the Champagne region.

Jaume Serra "Cristalino" Cava Brut
Jaume Serra "Cristalino" Cava BrutRead moreCourtesy of Bodega Jaume Serra

One of the most consistent wine trends of the 21st century has been the rise of sparkling wines, largely driven by the growing global popularity of affordable sparkling wines from Italy and Spain.

All wines “sparkle” at some point during the winemaking process, since carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of alcoholic fermentation. However, most wines are bottled and sold as “still wines” simply because it’s so much easier to let wine’s natural carbonation escape than to preserve it for the wine drinker to enjoy. What we know today as the traditional method of sparkling winemaking was pioneered in the 17th century in the Champagne region of northern France.

This complex and laborious double-fermentation process is still used for the finest sparkling wines to this day, and requires patient aging for the wine to taste its best. Champagne first caught on as a novelty in the royal courts of Europe, and French vintners have continued to position the wine as an expensive luxury item.

What has changed recently is that both Italy and Spain have ramped up production of less expensive sparkling wines like prosecco and Cava. Of the two, Italian prosecco has been more successful in terms of volume, but Spanish Cava has made the greater effort to follow quality-oriented traditions by legally adopting the original Champagne method of production. As a result, even bargain Cavas like this one manage to combine a brisk lemon and green apple freshness with the underlying richness of texture and baguette-like flavors that come only with bottle-aging and simply cannot be faked.

Jaume Serra “Cristalino” Cava Brut Catalonia, Spain

$9.99 11.5% alcohol

PLCB Item #6501

Sale price through Oct. 4 – regularly $11.99

Also available at:

Total Wine & More in Cherry Hill - $7.97

Wine Warehouse locations in Clementon and Voorhees (Camden County) and in Mantua (Gloucester County) - $9.49