Waitrose Cava, 12% vol, Spain (£4.49; Waitrose) This is as good an introduction to traditionally made cava as any, as it’s a blend of one third each of local varieties Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo. Drink it well-chilled as an aperitif, or use it as the base for ‘Champagne’ cocktails. Ideal bubbly for celebrations on a budget.
Freixenet Cordon Negro, 12% vol, Spain (£6.47; Tesco) Freixenet, founded in 1889, is Codorníu’s bitter rival as the two dominate the market. Freixenet’s Cordon Negro, launched in 1974, is full and fruity thanks to a high proportion of Parellada in the blend. It has a pleasing freshness and length, which made it one of the few stars at our tasting.
Codorníu Pinot Noir Rosado Brut, 12% vol, Spain (£8.99; Majestic, as part of a mixed case, Wine Rack, Noel Young, 01223 844744) The best cava I’ve sampled, this even disarmed the wine’s harshest critics at my tasting. A delightful pale pink, it has freshpicked summer fruits on the nose and a delicate, crisp finish.