Cava, a Spanish "sparkling wine", is a centuries-old tradition carried on in the northern areas of Spain. A Cava is created in the same manner as French Champagne is. For example, Jaume Serra makes their Cavas in the traditional methode champenois, and they are aged for a minimum of 18 to 24 months prior to releasing.
Ninety-nine percent of Cava in Spain is made in the northwest region - in the Penedès area of Catalonia. The other 1% is scattered randomly amongst small producers in the rest of the country. One of the most popular sparkling wines in the United States, Freixenet, is actually a Spanish Cava. Out of the 130 million bottles of Cava produced each year, Freixenet accounts for over 60% of the volume.
The grapes traditionally used for Cava - macabeo, xarello, and parellada - make Cava a light, white, fruity, perfumed wine. There are currently around 250 Cava producers in operation in Spain, with most falling into the defined region and therefore legally able to use the Cava designation on their labels. The Spanish wine term for this is the 'denomination of origin'.
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