Most people already know the difference between Champagne and all other sparkling wines. In order to officially be called Champagne, the bubbly needs to be from the Champagne region of France and made in accordance with specific guidelines. If you are searching for something a little more affordable than Champagne, you’re in luck. Both Prosecco and Cava are similar, and they can be a cheaper replacement for a toast, a romantic evening with your date or even a fun party with friends. Keep in mind, however, that not all white sparkling wine is created equally. Use this guide to learn about the key differences between Cava and Prosecco as well as why these differences matter.
What is Cava?
Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine that can be either white or rose. Like Champagne, it has to come from a specific area and created in a specific way in order to legally go by the name of Cava. In Spain, most Cava comes from Catalonia, and it is made in the same way that Champagne is, which is different from sparkling wines injected with carbonation rather than letting the ingredients naturally ferment. Cava can be traced back for more than 150 years in Spain, but it only received its name in the 1970s. Just like most sparkling wines, Cava can come in varying levels of sweetness from the dry brut nature all the way up to the dolsec, or dulce.
What is Prosecco?
Prosecco is a sparkling white wine made primarily from Glera grapes grown in the Veneto region of Italy. There is history of the word Prosecco being used as far back at the 17th century, and it has been on menus in Italy for centuries. Until the 1990s, however, the technique created a sweet and low-quality wine that was not what you might expect from Prosecco today. As methods advanced, winemakers were able to create a Prosecco that is often indistinguishable from Champagne.
What are the Price Differences Between the Two?
The first thing you will notice about the price of both Cava and Prosecco is that it is much, much lower than Champagne. While it is a struggle to find a bottle of Champagne for under $60, these alternative sparkling wines are rarely more than $30. Like anything, you can find both affordable and more expensive bottles of Prosecco and Cava. However, Cava is generally cheaper. There are several bottles available for under $10 apiece, but Prosecco is typically closer to the $20 mark.
What are the Taste Differences Between the Two?
In terms of taste, Prosecco is closer to Champagne than any other sparkling wine. It is ideal as an aperitif before the meal, and it is usually quite fruity with varying levels of sweetness or dryness depending on the bottle. Cava, on the other hand, will typically have more bubbles and a less sweet flavour overall. Rather than tasting berries or orchard fruits, you might get hints of citrus or earthy flavours.
Are the Two Sparkling Wines Interchangeable?
Asking if Cava and Prosecco are interchangeable is a bit like asking whether an ale and a lager are interchangeable. While they are both lovely white sparkling wines, they are not the same beverage. If you plan to use them in a cocktail with other liquids, then choose something affordable if that is a priority. Otherwise, splurge on the best bottle you can afford. If you are trying to make a good impression and want to have a toast or bring along a nice bottle to a dinner party, stick with Prosecco. If you just want to try something new and enjoy bubbly, Cava can be a great choice instead.
What Should You Buy?
Ultimately, what you choose is up to you and what you like most. Generally speaking, those who prefer sweeter sparkling wines will like Prosecco more, and those who appreciate the citrus notes will enjoy Cava instead. If you love champagne and simply want a more affordable replacement, then choose Prosecco.
These tips can come in handy whether you are buying a bottle for yourself or getting ready for a foodie trip abroad. If a trip to the UK is on the agenda, use this great link for advice on what else to drink, see, eat and do in the country.
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