This past March, world-famous fashion brand Custo Barcelona designed a unique 3D label for the distinguished Cava maker Cavas Torelló. The label, which also included a matching box, was created to commemorate the release of a limited edition Grand Reserve Cava. This premium cava, to be served only at the finest dining and drinking establishments in town, is a fine testament to how much Cava has grown in popularity since its humble beginnings back in the mid-1800s.
Cava is Spain’s celebrated answer to champagne and its origins can be traced back to as early as 1851. However it was not until 1872 that winemaker Josep Raventós was credited as being the first to utilise the same traditional methods used to make French champagne. The name itself comes from the word cava, meaning ‘cave’ or ‘cellar’, which is where the wines were once aged.
Today, 95% of all Cava is produced in the wine region of Penedès, just under an hour from Barcelona. This fortunate proximity makes Cava arguably the most popular regional drink for both locals and tourists.
As could be expected, Cava can be found in just about every bar, restaurant and club in Barcelona. Having said this, there are a few standout locations for you to enjoy this sparkling wine sensation, which you can find out more about below…
This tavern-like Cava bar is known simply as ‘la xampañería’ to the locals and tourists alike, who come in their droves, attracted by its nearly mystical status as the best place to go for cheap Cava and tapas. Open since 1969, this unpretentious ‘hole-in-the-wall’ is not for the timid; its popularity and inexpensive house Cava (averaging about 1.50€ a glass) guarantees a packed house most nights. Order a bottle (or two) and indulge in the mandatory mini-sandwiches that come with your first bottle. If the room gets a little too packed for you, no problem, buy a few bottles of their signature Cava to take home.
La Vinya del Senyor
The fact that it faces the impressive Gothic church, Santa María del Mar, should be enough to forgive the diminutive size of this popular wine bar. If the view doesn’t seduce you, then the impressive wine list certainly will, with a vast array from Catalonia and the rest of Spain. Whether you decide to sit outside on the terrace or at the small bar inside, after a long, hot day of shopping or sightseeing, there’s no better reward than a chilled glass of rosé Cava with an accompanying snack.
If stylish, modern surroundings are more to your liking, then this impressive wine bar/restaurant has everything you could ever desire. The ambiance – an inviting mix of stark sleekness combined with warm tones and lighting – encourages the sampling of some great Cavas. The knowledgeable staff are on hand to make suggestions which are often welcome considering the wine list offers over 3,000 varieties of wine from around the world. Since wines are available by the bottle, glass or even half glass, it’s a great opportunity to try a variety of select Cavas accompanied by regional snacks.
Freixenet is located 45 minutes outside of Barcelona in the town of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, in the scenic Penedés wine region. Conveniently located just a few steps from the train that takes you there, this famous Cava producer offers an informative Cava tour including the history and production process, finishing up with a complementary tasting of one of their varieties. Granted, it’s not located in Barcelona itself, but for those searching for a more in-depth knowledge of this tantalising drink in dazzling surroundings, a trip to this winery is well worth the effort.