Cava: Spain's Answer to Champagne Produced by the traditional champagne method, whereby fermentation takes place in the actual bottle, Cava is Spain's answer (some would say rebuke) to Champagne. Although the soil and method of production for Cava are nearly identical to that of Champagne, Cava is quite typically softer and less acidic than French Champagne, much to the delight of consumers. Cava can be made almost anywhere in Spain, but it is the Catalan versions from Penedes, just outside of Barcelona, that have captured the world's attention with their consummate quality. Presently, more fine champagne method sparkling wine flows out of Catalonia than any other place on earth, including Champagne. The limestone hills beyond Barcelona provide the ideal soil, nearly identical to Champagne itself, for the cultivation of the native Parellada, Xarel-lo, Macabeo, and Viura grapes for sparkling wine. With the addition of Champagne yeast during fermentation, the high acid musts of Penedes yield sparkling wines of distinctive flavor, finesse, and softness to rival Champagne itself. And where Cava has the edge is in its soft, lingering finish, the antithesis of French Champagne, which can possess just a bit too much nerve for many consumers. Centered to the west of Barcelona around the towns of San Sadurni de Noya and Villafranca del Penedes, the production of Cava continues to take the world by storm. In the past three decades, the export of Cava has grown from a mere trickle to Spain's leading wine export. Today, Cava is the world's number one selling champagne method sparkling wine, thanks to producers like Mont-Marcal.