Cava has suffered with a perception problem in the shadow of champagne from France and prosecco from Italy, but that could be about to change. With the introduction of Codorniu’s 457 Gran Reserva 2008, it is the world’s most expensive Cava. It retails for $200.
Cava is Spanish sparkling wine, and is also produced with in-bottle fermentation. Prosecco, the sparkling wine that’s most commonly found in your brunch mimosas, is Italian. But, in general, Champagne has a more yeasty taste than prosecco. Cava, meanwhile, is pretty similar to Champagne in taste.
Cava comes in either white or rosé varieties, and tends to be less acidic than Champagne. Our very own Wikipedia helps with details on Cava right here.
Birthplace of Cava
Spain is pilgrim’s paradise. Now, another destination on the cultural map is quietly drawing in the devotees of all things luxury. Just 40 miles northwest of Barcelona, is a typical Catalan town set in the sun-kissed hills.
If you listen closely in the central square studded with local bars, you’re likely to hear the frequent echo of a brisk cork pop. For the locals, it’s the sound of passion and pride. For the growing number of visitors, it’s an invitation to partake in the region’s most celebrated creation. Welcome to the birthplace of cava!
More on the world’s most expensive Cava
Cava producers like Codorniu want to premiumize Cava and share the finesse and complexity of the Spanish style of sparkling wine.
For Codorniu, that meant embarking on an experiment: Produce a Cava that proved the wine can be terroir-driven, like the great wines of the world, not just delicious bubbly.
“The inspiration came from our desire to showcase the complexity of our Cavas, which comes from the vineyard themselves, and our job as enologists to preserve these attributes all the way through the bottle,” says Codorniu winemaker Bruno Colomer.
He notes the Cavas’ expressions of the area’s terroir, a term used to denote how a finished wine reflects the unique characteristics of its region, from the climate and soil to the specific grapes. It’s often associated with famed wine regions including Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Napa Valley. “It’s the magnum opus of the collection and represents all the wine knowledge of the winery.”
The 457 Gran Reserva is a blend of the best plots from the Ars Collecta. It includes three grape varieties from three different estate vineyards owned by Codorniu: 45% Pinot Noir from Finca El Tros Nou, one of the coldest areas in the region thanks to its high elevation; 45% Chardonnay from Finca La Pleta, an area known for the acidity it brings to the grape; and 10% Xarel-lo from Finca La Fideuera, a vineyard that Colomer appreciates for the fragrant aromas it brings to the resulting wine.
During the winemaking process, the 457 is aged a total of 90 months, earning its designation as Gran Reserva, and is kept on the dry, or brut, end of sugar levels. Thanks to its bold acidity and pH balance, Colomer says it has the ability to age even longer in a home cellar.
So what makes this Cava world’s most expensive? The rarity factor, I say! Codorniu produced only 1,000 bottles of the 457. Then it housed the wines in its cellars for more than seven years, which takes energy, manpower, and time. And that’s after the vineyard, harvest, and winemaking processes with the highest quality estate grapes. Add to that shipping and packaging, and it is easy to see why it demands a $200 retail price point.
Codorniu isn’t the only producer working to make a premier Cava. Other brands—including Gramona, Nadal, and Recaredo—are also working with single-vineyard grapes and vintage-specific bottles.
“We have always held the belief that Cava is capable of creating age-worthy wines,” Colomer says. “As one of the leaders of Cava, we felt the responsibility to undertake the project that ultimately became the 457. We want to pave the way to premiumize Cava.”