I don't obtain much sense of satisfaction from a brand. I've never been too interested in who thinks what company makes the best. Pragmatism is my game. When it comes to bubbly pragmatism is not the game. Krug and Dom Perignon are the bubblies of choice for those who can afford it. Not being able to afford it and never having tried either I can't really comment on the respective quality of either of these vinous liquids fizzling and popping with C02, but I am willing to bet that a large source of these champagne houses' revenue is a result of image rather than preference and monetary pragmatism.
Just below France there is an oft ignored wine region called Spain. Cava is to Spain as Champagne is to France (minus a few minute details). You may not impress your friends as much as you would with a bottle of haut couture Champagne, but Cava will impress your taste buds enough to make up for the fact that your friends think you are fiscally reserved. For the holiday season I present to you...
Producer: Segura Vindas
Grape: 50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada, 15% Xarel-lo (yeah I've never heard of them either, the important point is that it's bubbly)
Notes: It's hard to know where to start, this Cava has a mix of savory and fruit flavours. The aroma and palate are pretty much the same with notes of green apple, toast, bread, flowers and minerality that would make even the most pretentious Champagne snob blush. It's got complexity, it's got delicious flavours, this wine gets an Awesome in my books. Not to mention it's wickedly cheap, one of the best wines I've had in this price range. Please buy this wine.
Should I hava Cava?
Short answer yes! There are few differences between Cava and Champagne the most obvious and legitimate of which is that Cava is not from Champagne, in fact that's really the only definite distinction. Champagne has slightly more strict rules of procedure but does it really justify paying $200-$300 more for a single bottle?
Cava is an oddity as far as the European wine appellation system goes. Cava is a DO, a DO is a geographically defined area that has certain rules that a wine maker must follow if they wish to use the name of the DO on their label. Bordeaux is a DO, well it's in France so technically it's an AOC (DO and AOC are essentially the same thing but different countries use different names and systems, but for all intents and purposes DO is the same as AOC), Champagne is an AOC as well. Both Bordeaux and Champagne are geographically designated areas, in which, if you follow the rules, you can label your wine as such. Cava is like a floating version of this. There are rules, some of which pertain to geography(but not really, mostly it focuses on method), that control the procedural methods for making a Cava. Cava by and large must be made the same way as Champagne however the rules are slightly more lenient, but only slightly.
Really what it comes down to is Cava is Spain's answer to Champagne but with less cache so it's way cheaper! If you find a sparkling wine from Spain that says Cava, you can rest assured it has been made following rules that make it incredibly close to Champagne in nature. There is a huge difference between sparkling wine and sparkling wine made by the 'methode traditionelle', Cava and Champagne both belong to the former category, more on that to come. For now drink up, and drink regularly!