The vocabulary of CAVA

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Aging (crianza): the period of time that Cava takes to mature, with four categories: a minimum of 9 months for the youngest wines, Cavas de Guarda; 15 months minimum for Reserva, 30 months for Gran Reserva, and 36 months for Cavas de Paraje Calificado. During this aging process, the bottles are kept “en rima”, or in a horizontal position, and are left to rest while they undergo a second fermentation. The Cava Regulatory Council has approved that the minimum aging period for Cava Reserva will be increased to 18 months in 2020.
Alcoholic fermentation: transformation of the sugar contained in the grape must into alcohol, through the action of yeast.
Autolysis: the breaking down of dead yeast cells in the wine by their own enzymes, causing the aromatic profile of Cava to change and become more complex. Although this may vary depending on the type of Cava, usually after 15 months the characteristic notes of butter, pastries, toast, nuts, etc. start to develop in the bottle. The maximum expression of this process will be reached approximately five years after the tirage is added.