Cava is created in many styles, which is a wonderful thing. There is so much to enjoy and pair to different foods and occasions. Not only the grapes and the terroir play a big role but also the aging and the sweetness is major points when it comes to the final product.
Joven (> 9 months)
The most common Cava is the youngest one, aged at least nine months. These young Cavas are light and fresh in style and are found everywhere you go. The make up about 90% of the total production of cava.
These young creations can be made in all types of styles when it comes to sweetness, from brut nature to dulce and all of the grapes and blends are allowed.
Reserva (> 15 months)
The Reserva is aged for at least 15 months, becoming more golden yellowish in colour and also more complex in its taste. There are usually clearer notes of bread in the aroma and flavour and usually some ripe fruit in the Reservas, unlike the younger Cavas that have more of the fresh, acidic fruit to the nose and on the tongue. The aftertaste in these slightly older Cavas is longer and more rounded in nature and they are produced in all styles of sweetness from the brut nature to dulce, although most commonly in the drier styles.
Gran Reserva (> 30 months)
The Gran Reserva is the Cava that has been stored minimum 30 months. During its time in the cellars it often grows darker golden colour and develops soft notes of toasted bread, honey, almonds, cookies, toffee and ripe fruit. The anger the aging the more complex the aromas get (usually).
The production of Gran Reserva is allowed only for the styles brut nature, extra brut and brut according to Consejo Regulador’s regulations. So, even if a producer would age there seco or dulce for more than 30 months, they still could not call it Gran Reserva.
When it comes to sweetness and the different styles there are now days a large demand for drier sparkling wine and the segment of Brut Nature is growing. But even though we are drinking drier cavas on a daily basis, the sweeter styles are really good to have sometimes. Interesting to know is that cavas can be sweetened not only by sugar, but also with sweet wine or spirits according to the regulations.
Brut Nature: maximum 3 g sugar / L and no added sugar.
Extra brut: maximum 6 g sugar / L
Brut: maximum 12 g sugar / L
Extra seco: 12-17 g sugar / L
Seco: 17-32 g sugar / L
Semi-seco: 32-50 g sugar / L
Dulce: more than 50 g / L
It always says on the bottle what type of cava it is. In the picture above you can read Dolc in the bottom left corner.