Following three years of paper pushing, Cava’s new, super-premium category, Cava Paraje Calificado (CPC), has been approved and will hit shelves in time for Christmas. This slimmed down Cava category presently includes 12 wines, all of which meet meticulously high standards in a bid to elevate Cava to a world-class sparkling wine category.
The impetus to create a superior category was an attempt to overcome Cava’s widespread reputation as a budget option for sparkling wine, a popular view rooted in the international consciousness since the 1990s. “The Paraje Calificado is changing the inertia of the image of Cava,” says Pedro Bonet, president of the Cava Regulatory Board, which initiated the category’s creation. “It’s no longer just seen as a good-value product but one of excellence.”
A Growing Category
While Cava became internationally known only in the 1980s, Spain’s first traditional-method sparkling wine was made in 1872 by Josep Raventòs of the Codorníu dynasty in Catalonia—he’s considered the forefather of the Cava industry. The term “Cava” itself was introduced only in the late ’50s and didn’t become an official Denominación de Origen (DO) until 1986, following Spain’s entry into the European Union (EU).