Articles are property of Brenda Francis and are not to be reproduced in any way without written consent from Brenda Francis. A bottle of Xampàn from my Cava Looking for a special gift for your sweetheart that won't break the bank? Spanish sparkling wine, called Cava, is made like the expensive stuff from Champagne, but is priced like an everyday bottle of wine. Cava producers follow the strict méthode champenois, the process used to make Champagne. The use of this meticulous practice makes Cava an incredible value for the money. Spanish law dictates that a bottle of Cava must undergo 1 year of bottle fermentation and aging before it can be sold. If a bottle of Cava ferments for 18 months in the Spanish caves, it can officially be called a reserva. When the aging is 30 months or more, the sparkling wine can be called a gran reserva. Bottles of French Champagne or American sparkling wine would be quadruple the price you would pay for a bottle of Cava of the same quality. The name Xampàn, the Catalan word for Champagne, was used for Spanish sparkling wine for over one hundred years. It was only when Spain joined the European Union that it agreed to find another name for its very popular bubbly. In theory, Spain was incorrect naming its sparkling wine after Champagne, but the quality of Xampàn mimicked those prestigious wines of France. When Spain finally settled on a new name for its sparkling wine it looked to the language of Catalan once again. Cava, the new name for Spain's refreshing sparkler is the Catalan word for the caves used to age the bottles of sparkling wine. Spanish Cava is second in European sparkling wine sales, right behind Champagne. It is a perfect example of how Spain is enjoying a renaissance in its vineyards and bodegas. Most Cava is produced from the three grapes, macabeo, parellada, and xarel-lo; however, some producers are starting to add amounts of chardonnay and pinot noir to their cuvées as well. Macabeo, parellada, xarel-lo do not age well, so Cava should be consumed while it is young. This is never a problem since they are so inexpensive; we can't help but drink them right away! Cava is the sparkling wine produced in designated areas in parts of Catalan. Unlike the traditions of Old World wines, you will not find the name of the place a bottle of Cava was produced on the label. The name Cava is the official place and guarantee of quality. Their packaging makes it an impressive gift as well. Look for these bottles of Cava in the Colorado market: Marques de Monistrol Reserva (Red Label) - $8, Codomiu - $12, Marques de Gelida (White Label) - $12, Cristalino Brut or Rosé - $7, Parxét Cava Cuvée 21 - $10, and Gramona Gran Reserva Cuvée - $16.