Cava. Not many people know about this sensibly priced bubbly. Cava is the name given to Spanish sparkling wine. Unlike the Prosecco of Italy, or Champagne of France, Cava can come from any region, as long as the winemakers adhere to the laws regarding its production.

It is normally a brighter, crisper sparkler, more tart green apples, than yeasty brioche. When Cava is good, it can be really good and a much more economical choice for an everyday bubbly. But, when Cava is bad, it is VERY bad, battery acid bad, eat through the lining of your esophagus bad.

How to tell which Cavas are good and which to avoid? There is no real rule, the best thing to do is to find yourself an honest wine clerk and ask his opinion. Find a Cava you like and stick with it. Buy a case and keep it on hand for impromptu celebrations, brunches and hostess gifts. Cava is exactly what you want to use when making mimosas, kirs or any other kind of champagne cocktail. Don't waste money on a pricy sparkler if you're just going to be mixing it with something else.

The Castellar Cava is around $12 and really quite good. It delivers everything one would look for in a good Cava. The bouquet is all baked apple pie and the palate is soft with a stony minerality. This lingers on, complimented by nuances of peach and pear. A cheap, fun bubbly wine that requires little thought. It tastes good, makes you feel good and doesn't bog you down with any pretentious complexity.