Produced in partnership with D.O. CAVA.
You love dinner parties. You miss vacations. It’s time to try the dinner party vacation, a two-in-one social engagement that is charming and fun.
It’s off to Spain — and you don’t even have to carefully tuck bottles of Cava in your suitcase. Take a spin around the dining room table, a barbecue pit, or a picnic blanket. Popping the cork on a Spanish sparkling wine will get everyone in a festive mood, whether it’s a movie night, a cozy backyard barbecue, or a fancy cocktail hour. Versatile and accommodating, without the showiness of champagne or the same-sameness of wine, Cava is the friend-of-a-friend who came to the party and showed everyone a good time.
You may be wondering what makes a bottle of Cava, anyway? A few things: location (four main growing regions in Spain), grape varieties (indigenous), production (traditional method, with second fermentation in the bottle), and bottle aging (long). With varying flavors, textures, and levels of effervescence, there is plenty to go around, and plenty to please everyone. That includes eco enthusiasts of natural wine: D.O. Cava has some of the most exacting standards in the world for quality sparkling wine production and has made a commitment to ensuring that all Cava de Guarda Superior will be 100 percent organic by the year 2025.
Whether you want your gathering (and your bubbly) to be simple and refreshing or full-bodied and complex, here’s a handy guide to getting the mood just right.
On the Menu: Individual popcorn bowls (topping combo to try: olive oil, dried herbs, and salt), pigs in a blanket (sheet pan sausage with grainy mustard), chocolate truffles.
Keep It Chilled: Cava de Guarda Superior Reserva. Try Bodegas Sumarroca Reserva Brut 2018. Pale yellow with small bubbles, it’s sturdy enough to last from the beginning to the end of the movie — and it won’t ask too many questions in between.
Set the Scene: Cozy blankets, dim lighting, and various seating options.
Statement Piece: TV trays with compartmentalized snacks for each guest.
On the Menu: Veggie and meat skewers (yakitori-style), crunchy green salad, roasted corn on the cob with wasabi mayo.
Keep it Chilled: Cava de Guarda Superior Gran Reserva. Try Parés Baltà Blanca Cusiné 2012 (and its big personality). Sophisticated and smooth, this Xarel·lo-based Cava has notes of toasted fruit and a silky finish.
Set the Scene: String fairy lights and set up a lawn game or two to keep the energy up before and after dinner.
Statement Piece: Extra-long kebob skewers make an impact off and on the plate.
On the Menu: Raid the Mediterranean pantry for spreads, breads, and sides (cheeses, citrus-marinated olives, tapenade, roasted peppers, crackers), toast rubbed with olive oil, and chocolate sprinkled with sea salt.
Keep It Chilled: Cava Rosado. Roger Goulart Brut Coral Rosé all the way. These bubbles can’t stop, won’t stop.
Set the Scene: Use many different vessels for displaying snack items at various heights in a big spread. Bowls of fruit make a beautiful (edible) substitute for floral centerpieces. Make sure to burn taper candles.
Statement Piece: Crystal flutes. Live a little!
On the Menu: Sandwiches that can withstand wrapping (salami and butter, goat cheese and cucumber), whole fruit, cookies.
Keep It Chilled: Cava de Guarda. A fruity spritz like Bolet Brut Classic (apricot, peach, pineapple) does well pre-batched in to-go containers.
Set the Scene: Melamine plates, reusable utensils, cloth napkins, a fabulous blanket, and a carryall for toting it.
Statement Piece: A few throw pillows will take lounging outdoors (on the ground) to the next level.