Why cava is better than champagne, according to José Andrés

The Asturian chef considers Spain's sparkling wines to be the best-kept secret in the world of wine.
José Andrés y el cava.

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In the eternal debate between cava and champagne, chef José Andrés is clear: the Spanish sparkling wine is the winner, as he stated on his website. The Asturian explained that cava is delicious, easy to pair and perfect for any party. What’s more, “it’s much more affordable than that other sparkling wine they make in France”, he joked.

One of the main reasons for opting for cava is its price, “more affordable and of the same quality”. This is because Spanish producers invented a “mechanical equipment for the crushing process, called gyropalette, which speeds up what was previously done entirely by hand, allowing sparkling wine to be made in much greater volume than before,” says the chef at Longer Tables.

La técnica gyropalette.

Spanish cava goes with everything

This type of sparkling wine has been made in Spain since the mid-19th century. The winemaker Josep Raventós, from the Catalan region of Penedès, travelled to the French Champagne and learned about the winemaking techniques of the area. On his return he began to experiment with what he had learnt. And in 1872 he made the first sparkling wine using local grapes and the traditional champenoise method. He first called it champagne, although in 1970 Spanish winemakers renamed it “cava” so as not to upset French champagne producers.

Finally, the great pairing of cava with any food is another reason why José Andrés loves the Spanish sparkling wine. It goes very well with salted oysters, Galician octopus or garlic prawns with garlic. Iberian ham is another classic match. It also goes perfectly with traditional dishes such as Valencian paella, Madrid-style tripe or Catalan chicken. You can even eat it with tumaca bread.

And you, which do you prefer to toast with champagne or cava?