Different country, different grape varieties, and typically a much lower price point … other than that, Cava and Champagne are practically the same thing. While Champagne is typically made from chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier, Cava, the sparkling wine made in northeastern Spain, is usually made from grape varieties most people aren’t as familiar with. Food & Wine explains most Cava is made from macabeo, parallada, and xarello, though garnacha, monastrell, chardonnay, and pinot noir find their way into blends as well. For Cava, like Champagne, the magic happens in the bottle. The secondary fermentation that imparts effervescence to the wine happens in each individual bottle, a process known as the traditional method.
Most Cavas are significantly less expensive than Champagne; on Wine Searcher‘s list of best values for Cava, most of the bottles are in the $9-$20 range. And as for flavor, Cava, among the inexpensive Champagne alternatives, is one of the most similar to the French bubbly. Like Champagne, Cava must be aged before its release, a minimum of nine months, but often more, according to Somm Conn. Food & Wine points out that you’ll get an earthy, toasty mid-palate, brightened by aromatic notes of apple and pear. If you want your mimosa on the drier side, most similar to those made from Champagne, Cava is the perfect choice.