Forget Champagne and Prosecco: Here’s why you should be drinking Spanish Cava to toast the new year

by user

The bottle

Segura Viudas Brut Cava, $12

The back story

This is the time when everyone is reaching for a bottle of bubbly. Champagne, the French sparkling wine, remains the classic New Year’s choice. Prosecco, an Italian offering, has become a newer favorite.

But I’d suggest taking a trip to Spain and trying a bottle of Cava, that country’s signature bubbly. Dollar for dollar, it may be the best sparkler you can sip. And Segura Viudas, a Cava producer that was founded in 1959, remains a top choice.

Cava is made using the same method as Champagne — indeed, the technique is called the Champagne method and it requires a secondary fermentation inside the bottle itself. The difference, however, is that Cava uses, well, different grapes than Champagne — among the varietals associated with Cava are ones called Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada. The result is a sip that has some nice dryness, plenty of bubbles and what wine expert Jeff Jenssen calls a food-friendly quality that distinguishes Cava from Champagne (the French sip tends to be “more austere” and better suited for “drinking on its own,” he says).

Cava is not necessarily new to the U.S. It had a moment a few decades ago when Freixenet, a brand known for its signature black bottle, came onto the scene in this country. In that regard, it’s noteworthy that Segura is now owned by Freixenet’s parent company, Freixenet Mionetto.

Either way, Cava is enjoying an uptick in popularity — at least globally. In 2021, annual sales for all Cava producers grew by 17.34%, reaching 252 million bottles, according to the Cava regulatory board. Segura’s team says its brand’s U.S. sales are growing 3-4% annually.

What we think about it

As I said, more often than not, Cava is a go-to sparkler for me — its sheer affordability and lively (but not sweet) taste wins me over time and time again. And Segura’s Brut delivers what a Cava should deliver — you’ll get the dryness, the fizz and some nice fruity notes. And all at an incredibly wallet-friendly price of $12.

How to enjoy it

Yes, you can toast the arrival of 2023 with the Segura Brut. But even if it’s a good standalone sip, you can also have it alongside any number of foods. The Segura team says it pairs well with Spanish ham and strong cheeses, for examples. But however you enjoy it, happy new year!

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