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The Best Sparkling Wines From Spain

Bubbles from Spain may be less well known than their French or Italian counterparts, but they are no less worthy of your attention.

Spain is the world’s second largest exporter of wine in terms of volume (after Italy) and number three in terms of value. The main three grape varieties for Spanish sparkling wine are Xarel·lo, Macabeo and Parellada, which typically perform better in the Mediterranean climate than French varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Cava, Corpinnat or Ancestral?

Sparkling wine is called espumoso and, whereas most espumosos are categorized as cava, there are exceptions. Txakoli is a slightly sparkling, light-green colored, dry white wine mainly available in the Spanish Basque Country.

Meanwhile, some natural wineries have eschewed traditional cava-making methods and started using the trendy méthode ancéstrale. Their wines are simply called ancestrales. Last, but not least, there’s the new high-end sparkling wine designation known as Corpinnat. Comprised of 11 wineries from the Penedès region of Catalonia, the Corpinnat label comes with some of the world’s strictest quality requirements for sparkling wines, as it seeks to set a new standard for Spanish bubbles.

Multi-regional cava

“The cava label (D.O. Cava) is a so-called multi-regional denomination, meaning it could come from anywhere in Spain. However, the bulk of cava is still made in Catalonia, and, more specifically, the Penedès region,” explains Nika Shevela, a Barcelona-based level-three WSET-certified sommelier and cava educator.

This festive season, add some sparkle to your gift giving with these ten excellent bottles of fizz from Spain.

Mas del Serral is made from a combination of Xarel·lo and Bastard Negre grapes, planted at Clos del Serral in Catalonia some 80 years ago. The first vintage of Mas del Serral (2007) was named best wine and sparkling wine from Catalonia, while the second, from 2009, was awarded 99 points by Decanter magazine and described by Spanish Master of Wine Pedro Ballesteros as: “The most refined Spanish sparkling wine I’ve ever tasted. A top biodynamic terroir wine and a masterwork”. 

A tribute to the first sparkling wine ever made by Llopart, this beautiful bottle is a replica of one produced in 1887 by Pere Massana, the great-great-grandfather of the current Llopart generation. A limited edition of only 2,657 bottles, this Llopart Corpinnat is produced to respect traditional winemaking methods, using only the grapes from the oldest mountain vines in Llopart’s Les Flandes vineyards. Aged for more than 120 months, Llopart Original 1887 has a great aromatic depth of ripe white fruit and honey.

The Torelló family may have been growing grapes since 1395 but there is nothing old fashioned about their fizz. One of the Corpinnat founders, Torelló makes wine that is 100% organic, manually harvested and vinified in house. Finca Can Martí comprises Macabeo, Xarel·lo and Parellada grapes, but also Chardonnay, giving it a more aromatic quality. The result is a versatile, easy-to-drink sparkling wine that pairs especially well with caviar or seafood paella.

One of the smallest wineries in the Corpinnat label, Can Descregut is run by young couple Marc Milà and Arantxa de Cara who come from a long line of grape growers and bulk-base winemakers. In 2005, they took the leap and started producing their own organic wine. Can Descregut Brut Reserva is a versatile sparkling wine that can be enjoyed alone or with food. It is totally dry, with no added sugar, striking a perfect balance between fruity notes and acidity.

The organic-certified Vilarnau winery is a sustainability trailblazer in Catalonia. Its Vilarnau Brut Reserva is produced from organic Garnacha grapes with a small amount of Pinot Noir. It was the only sparkling rosé to be awarded a gold medal at the prestigious Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships 2021 earlier this year. A pale pink cava with great aromatic complexity, Vilarnau Rosé Delicat is very creamy, fresh and elegant and pairs well with rice, pasta or desserts.

Mas Candí is one of the more recent additions to the Corpinnat label and its Segunyola wine is named after the ancient name of the village of Les Gunyoles where the small organic winery is based. This complex, intense sparkling wine has a straw yellow color and fine bubbles. It offers aromas of fruit and butter on the nose, while the flavor is creamy and persistent. Pairs well with fish, sushi or as an aperitif.

A gold medal winner at the influential Berliner Wine Trophy 2021, Sumarroca’s excellent Brut Nature Gran Reserva has a pale yellow color and a very fresh aroma. It is fruity in the mouth, with very fine bubbles that blend perfectly with the complexity of the wine. Like most Penedès cavas, it is made from a blend of Macabeu, Xarel·lo and Parellada grapes and aged for a minimum of 36 months in stacks.

With a name translating as “soul of the world” (Anima Mundi), prestigious Catalan winemaker Agustí Torelló Roca shares an authentic expression of his home terroir in Penedés through this bright, clear pet-nat, or Pétillent Naturel. Made using the ancestral method, Camí Dels Xops has fine, soft bubbles and tasting notes of pear, citrus and white flowers.

While most Spanish sparkling wine is made in Catalonia, there are always exceptions. This dark-pink rosé sparkling pet-nat of 100% Bobal (a dark-skinned local grape) is grown certified organic on sandy-calcarious soils in the Valencia region. It is unfiltered, unfined, and with no additions of sulfur. With foamy bubbles and aromas of black berries, this is a joyful wine, as the label would suggest.

This pale-green txakoli is made on one of the oldest txakoli estates in the Basque region, founded in 1925 in the Gipuzkoan municipality of Zarautz. Made from 100% Hondarribi Zuri grapes, hand harvested, and fermented in stainless steel tanks, the result is Lahu: a slightly filtered classic Basque txakoli with that distinctive fizz. It pairs well with grilled fish, tuna and anchovies.

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