Catalunya’s major Cava producing town is Sant Sadurní d’Anoia (85% of national output) which has a Cava Week celebration dedicated to Catalan champagne with a whole range of gastronomic events and concerts. The week’s activities get off to a flying start with the inaugural address and ensuing crowning of the Cava Queen. She arrives accompanied by her ladies in waiting escorted by the mounted brigade of the Barcelona police. Once crowned she receives a glass of the first-pressing from the year’s harvest from the Sant Sadurní Fellowship. The gathering then adjourns to the headquarters of the Cava Fellowship at Torre-Ramona where a dinner of honour is served.
The week continues with a host of dinners, a 300 person bicycle race, an art exhibition dedicated to Cava and a Petanque evening. There are also Catalan folk music concerts, more gourmet dinners, cava symposiums and, of course, the annual Barcelona train ride. Every 12th October 1,000 people from Barcelona board the Cava train bound for Sant Sadurní d’Anoia. Joined at the station by a hoard of carnival characters, including the prerequisite big heads and cabezudos, they are escorted with a glorious fanfare to the town hall and Cava Houses. After a tour of the cellars, followed by lunch and entertainment, they return to the Catalan capital.
Cava must spend at least nine months in its bottle before dégorgement, or recorking. The grape varieties used to develop the cava wines are Macabeu, Xarel-lo and Chardonnay. Other variables that make Cava so special are moderate rainfall, intense sunshine and soft winds, all features of the Penedes region. Such conditions help the grape to mature properly, creating its distinctive aroma and cutting dry taste. Cava is distinct for its dryness and some say that it’s drier than Champagne.
The dates vary but are usually around October 7th – 15th. The Cava Week Website is slow to be updated but should at least give you the dates (in Spanish).