Does Cava go off? Cava myths and truths
I bet that, when opening a bottle of cava, you’ve sometimes asked yourself does cava go off? Well today’s the day you’ll find out. And not just that, today at Grupo Coviñas we want to debunk some old wives’ tales that surround cava.
Summer is just around the corner, and that means it’s the time of year for cool drinks. And what better option than a refreshing, bubbly glass of cava? It’s no secret that everyone loves cava for its effervescence and magic. The fact that it’s associated with moments of celebration means that it conveys sheer enjoyment.
“Cava goes off” and other old wives’ tales
There are many misconceptions around cava that are worth debunking. First, we should establish that cava and champagne are not the same thing. The places they come from are different, cava is made in Spain, while champagne is from a part of France called Champagne. The word cava doesn’t just refer to the drink, it’s also the word for the underground cellars where the bottles are stored. Now that this has been cleared up, let’s query those tall tales. Ready?
- Should cava be uncorked with a loud “pop”.
Despite the countless times that we’ve heard the sound and seen the cork shoot out, the answer is no. The main reason for this has nothing to do with the loud noise, but rather with the fact that some fizz is lost and it can be dangerous if the cork isn’t tightly held. To open a bottle of cava the correct way is by keeping a firm grasp on the cork, ideally without removing the muselet (the wire around the cork), merely loosening it, then twisting the bottle from its base. The sound it makes on opening should be more of a sigh than a firecracker. Though all this has nothing to do with whether cava goes off or not.
- Using a spoon to keep it bubbly.
Lot of people believe that hanging a silver spoon in the neck of the bottle keeps it fizzy for longer. But that’s not the case. To keep the fizz the only thing that works is a pressure stopper.
Does this mean that you can keep an opened bottle of cava? As with any opened bottle of wine, it should be drunk within two or three days. If it’s cava and we want to keep those elegant, refreshing bubbles, we need to use a special cava stopper.
- Cava is for dessert.
Cava is very adaptable when it comes to food. Almost any type of food can be paired with cava, as it is a great flavour conductor, and it cleanses the palate beuatifully, which means that it can be enjoyed with such different dishes as Spanish jamón, both meat and fish recipes, and starters as much as desserts. Cava is a sure thing.
- The colder the better, when it comes to cava.
If you overchill cava you run the risk of losing subtle nuances, flavours and aromas. Ideally, it should be served at 4 to 6 degrees Celsius. Once the bottle’s been opened, it can be kept chilled in a gel wine chiller sleeve or an ice bucket.
Here’s a trick for chilling a bottle of cava fast? Water, ice and salt. How so? Well, it’s just chemistry. Dissolving water in salt is endothermic, meaning that energy is absorbed. For the salt to dissolve, it needs “heat”, which it will “take” from the bottle, which cools faster.
Does cava go off?
Cava is a wine that undergoes a secondary fermentation in bottle. If it is left in contact with its lees it develops richness with age, as these deposits of yeast add body and complexity. However, this process of development ends with the disgorgement, which leaves the wine ready for drinking.
The disgorgement is when the lees – dead yeast deposits left behind by the secondary fermentation in cavas, and other sparkling wines made according to the “méthode traditionnelle” – are extracted. As with young wines, cavas, as a general rule, should be consumed within a year or a year and a half of disgorgement.
We should remember that any wine (including cava) that is available on store shelves should be ready for drinking, with only a small minority being capable of developing and improving further in bottle over time. Most simply lose freshness and other characteristics of the grape variety and winemaking style. So, finally, the answer to the question “does cava go off?” is “no”.
It is worth pointing out that both still wines and cava are products that do not have a “best before” date. What the label or packaging shows is the vintage and the winery batch (for reasons of traceability). So, we can conclude that wine doesn’t go off, it merely evolves, in the worst-case scenario into vinegar, which won’t do you any harm.
So, now you know the answer to the question about cava going off, the next time you enjoy one of our cavas from Requena strut your stuff by debunking the old wives’ tales that surround them.
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