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With warmer weather upon us it is sometimes nice to just sit and enjoy a glass or two of fizz. However, what to choose. There are rows upon rows of fizzy wines and Champagnes in the shops. It seems that there can be little difference between Champagne and Cava to the untrained palate. Is there a difference in production techniques? Can the untrained or those not used to drinking such things taste the difference?

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Well, Champagne has to come from Champagne and has made out of a combination of 3 grapes (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier or Chardonnay) and made using the Méthode Champenoise techniques. They think this truly reflects the terroir of the Champagne region. They were one of the first to assert their regional identity around the world by enforcing their region name as almost a trademark. They forced Californians to stop using the the word Champagne when they make sparkling wines (ok there exceptions from before the treaty was signed)

Cava just like Champagne is tightly regulated. It has to be made in a certain place with certain grapes and with certain methods (Méthode Champenoise again). Again, Cava is supposed to reflect the Terroir of the place it's made (Mostly Catalonia). Cava can be as expensive as good Champagne.

Both regions make excellent sparkling wine. Can you tell the difference? Probably not to the untrained palate. I think even I would have a difficulty telling the difference between a high end Cava and Champagne. The only way you'll know is to start buying and tasting!

  • Tasting today! I don't want to depress anyone but I have just found a Cava in my local supermarket at - yes, wait for it 1.30euro. Drinkable and quite fun. Off to buy the rest - does that make me a pleb for not really understanding the finer nuances of wine, or just a clever bunny for spotting this year's bargain! Great answer by the way. – dougal 5.0.0 Mar 1 '17 at 15:51
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    While it's true that at the upper ends, prices can be similar, anecdotally and to my palate at low-ish prices (~10ish £ or € or CHF per bottle), French bubblies will be much less interesting, but Cavas can be very good. – David Mar 1 '17 at 16:09
  • Good! I nearly fell off the boat it was that good! (FYI I live on a boat). – dougal 5.0.0 Mar 1 '17 at 16:42

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