As a sommelier, I know the struggle to find an affordable sparkling wine that is delicious, accessible, and celebration-worthy. The options are seemingly endless and most well-known sparkling wines, like Champagne, can be quite expensive. Yet popping a bottle of bubbly is an essential component of celebrating during the holidays and ringing in the New Year. That’s why I am here to share one word you need to remember when shopping for sparkling wine this holiday season: Cava.
Entertaining a crowd? You can often get a discount if you buy a whole case (12 bottles). Just ask the wine associate!
What Is Cava?
Similar to Champagne, a sparkling wine from France with a reputation for being fine and fancy, Cava is made with three indigenous Spanish grapes: Xarel-lo, Parellada, and Macabeo. Also, just like Champagne, Cava is made bubbly via a second fermentation in the bottle—this is why you often see “Traditional Method” on the label, referring to the age-old practice of making sparkling wine.
Because Cava is aged for a shorter period—typically 9 months—compared to Champagne, which is aged for a minimum of 15 months, it doesn’t develop the same degree of complexity in flavor. And that’s okay! This just means Cava is significantly more affordable. It’s also delicious and approachable for all drinkers. Cava presents bright fruit flavors that are crisp, light, and perfect for easy drinking. In my opinion, it’s a great fit for a jubilant celebration with friends and family.
Here are my picks for the best Cava you can find at Trader Joe’s and Costco. The best news? Both are under $8 per bottle!
Trader Joe’s Top Sparkling Wine Pick
La Granja 360 Cava Brut ($6.99)
With aromas of fresh ginger, apples, and honey, this wine’s charm is obvious at first sniff. The flavor is reminiscent of a warm pear tart, topped with a scoop of citrus gelato—it’s irresistible! This Cava is made with 70% Xarel-lo and 30% Parellada grapes, and has shockingly small bubbles, a signifier of quality in sparkling wines. Plus, you can’t beat the price tag of just $6.99!
Costco Top Sparkling Wine Pick
Campo Viejo Cava Brut Reserva ($7.99)
A well-established producer, Campo Viejo grows grapes on 25-year-old vines and blend grapes to make a very modern expression of Cava. This wine smells like a bouquet of fresh cut flowers and tastes like citrus and toasted almonds. While it is easy to find this sparkling wine at places like Total Wine and Walmart, at just $7.99, it is generally more affordable at Costco.
Bubbles & Sparkles for Kids
Though my kids would happily cheers with a cup of milk, I'm giddy just thinking about how excited they'll be when I pop open a bottle of Trader Joe's Sugar Plum Sparkling Beverage ($3.99) for them this holiday. — Myo Quinn, Senior Editor