The grapes

Authorised grape varieties

Macabeo

Macabeo

Macabeo is one of the three grape varieties which make up the trinity of Cava, and the most planted within the Designation of Origin (D.O.) Cava. Considered to have originated in the Penedés area, specifically in Vilafranca, this variety was first mentioned in 1617.

With large, compact clusters, the Macabeo grape (also known as Viura) is extremely productive and highly robust. It has fine skin, a long cycle and late ripening, and produces light, floral wine, smooth, elegant and well-balanced. Moderate in sugar content and acidity, this grape is also highly valued for its good aging capacity .

Macabeo
Xarel·lo

Xarel·lo

Xarel·lo

Xarel·lo is undoubtedly one of the white grape varieties with which Cava is most closely associated. Considered autochthonous to its region of origin, Penedés in Catalonia, this variety was first mentioned in 1785 in Sitges (Favà i Agud 2001). Xarel·lo has become the area’s most emblematic variety, thanks to its wide use as the second most-planted in the entire D.O. Cava. Xarel·lo, together with Macabeo and Parellada varieties, make up the most classic Cava coupage.

With medium-sized, loose clusters, and thin skin, these grapes bring structure and produce wines with body and a distinctive taste, marking Cava out from other sparkling wines made using the traditional method.

Parellada

Parellada

Parellada is the third-most cultivated grape variety in the planting area registered in the D.O. Cava. It was first cultivated in Spain in the 14th century (Fabà i Agud 2001). This variety is used in Cava above all to bring qualities of refinement and freshness. The fruit has large clusters, medium-sized grapes and thick skin; the buds burst early and the grapes mature late. This variety has a high yield and is well adapted to the more elevated parts of Penedés.

Parellada grapes produce wines that are well-structured, fruity and elegant, providing smoothness and balance. With moderate acidity, this variety lends personality to the Cava, as well as offering good potential for aging.

Parellada
Chardonnay

Chardonnay

Chardonnay

The main attribute of Chardonnay is its versatility: this grape is capable of adapting to different types of soil and conditions, and also to distinct production methods. The fruit is round and compact, with fine skin and consistent pulp; an early budder, Chardonnay is also one of the first varieties to be harvested. Although this is an international variety, of French origin, Chardonnay has been authorised in the production of Cava since 1986.

This grape has an intense aroma and a good alcohol content; indeed due to their high proportion of sugar, Chardonnay grapes are usually harvested early. Its excellent acidity, along with typically “exotic” aromas, brings freshness and elegance to Cava, as well as excellent potential for aging.

Red Garnacha

Garnacha tinta

Red Garnacha (Grenache) is one of the most widely-planted varieties in the world. Although several regions dispute its origin, most documents mark Aragon as the starting point for this variety. The earliest written records appear in the book Agricultura General by Gabriel Alonso in 1513, and it is also mentioned in Cataluña Ilustrada by Estevan de Corbera, in 1678.

This variety buds early, but has a long lifecycle; the clusters are medium-sized and delicately compact. The fruit, round with a fine skin, is characterised by its high sugar content and moderate acidity. In addition to its capacity to produce wines with a smooth flavour and highly fruity aroma, red Garnacha is also one of the most widely used varieties for making Cava Rosado (rosé), bringing notes of red fruits.

The Garnacha plant can live for many years, and for this reason it is relatively easy to find Garnacha grapevines of advanced age.

Garnacha tinta
Subirat Parent

Subirat Parent

Subirat Parent

Also known as Malvasía, Subirat Parent is used increasingly for making Dulce and Semi Dulce Cava.

The clusters of this variety, which buds and ripens early, are compact and medium-sized, while the grapes themselves are large, round, thick-skinned and pinkish colour. They produce fresh, structured wines with excellent aromatic composition, rich in tropical aromas, as well as white flowers, rose, melon and herb touches. All these nuances become more complex with aging.

Trepat

Trepat

With large, compact clusters and thick skin, this grape variety is harvested late. In recent years, Trepat has shown itself to be ideal for making Cava Rosado (rosé), to which it lends an attractive colour and balanced acidity.

The characteristic aromas of this variety are red fruits such as strawberry, raspberry and cherry, along with spicy notes (cinnamon, for example), producing an elegant and subtle Cava with a strong personality.

Trepat
Pinot Noir

Pinot noir

Pinot Noir

Although this variety is famous throughout the world, Pinot Noir is the “youngest” grape of the D.O. Cava. Its use in Cava Rosado (rosé) was authorised in 1998, and since 2007 Pinot Noir has also been used in white Cava, called “Blanc de Noir” (using a gentle press and avoiding prolonged contact between the must and the skins).

With small, compact clusters, very closely bunched together (in Spanish, apiñado, a possible origin of the name), its fruits are cylindrical, with a beautiful intense violet colour.

Among the positive qualities associated with Pinot Noir is that of improving the crown of foam and keeping the bubbles in the glass, as well as lending the wine fine aromas.

These grapes are always harvested early, largely due to the Mediterranean climate and their fast and early ripening (their growth cycle is short). The wine is fruity, aromatic, and low in tannins, producing extremely seductive Cavas.

Monastrell

Monastrell

Monastrell is one of the first varieties that was used to make Cava; it is also known as Mourvèdre or Mataró.

The clusters are medium-sized, not very compact, with large, thick-skinned fruit. When ripe, the grapes are an attractive blue colour, while the wine itself also has an intense colour with a decent amount of tannin. All this makes Monastrell a variety with good potential for aging; this variety is mostly used to make Cava Rosado (rosé).

Monastrell