Top cavas from Gramona

130 years ago, the Batlle family started a business to export to a phylloxera-ridden France the wines they were producing since the beginning of the 1800’s. Also in that moment they built the Celler Batlle, concentrating wine production there, in the centre of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia.

In parallel, the Gramona family were well known wine sellers through several pubs.

In 1913 Bartomeu Gramona and Pilar Batlle married and started what has become one of the most celebrated Cava companies. In 1921 they started Cava production under several names, and finally in the 40’s the Gramona brand was developed.

In 2001 a new winery was built in the surroundings of Sant Sadurní, with state-of-the-art winemaking facilities. Nowadays all wines are produced there, but the noblest Gramona Cava bottles still go to the underground corridors of the former Celler to age until they are ripe for the connoisseur.

Gramona have around 150 ha of vineyards, either directly owned or closely controlled, with fifteen different varietals, to produce not only Cava but also a vast range of still wines, from a premium Sauvignon Blanc to remarkable sweets including Eiswein-type Riesling and Gewurztraminer. The Cava offering is also broad, but I will concentrate on the top bottles.

In the old Celler Batlle five Cavas are aged. You may know that the typical Cava grapes are Xarel.lo, Macabeu and Parellada. The latter is mainly used for the younger Cavas, as it is fresh and aromatic. But for the long-aged Cavas Gramona use mainly Xarel.lo and Macabeu, along with the classical Champagne varieties Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

While for the bulk of Cava production the processes of riddling and degorjat are automated, for the longer aging Cavas Gramona still use manual riddling, cork stopper for the second fermentation and degorjat by hand.

Another distinctive trait of Gramona is the expedition liquor. Secret recipes involving ranci wines and brandies, elaborated in soleras in their own cellars, give a finishing touch to Gramona Cavas, which are mainly Brut, not Brut Nature as some of the other top Cava companies.

Soleras for expedition liquor

The five top Gramona Cavas:

Argent Rosé, a 100 % Pinot Noir Gran Reserva Brut Nature, with the base wine partially fermented in oak. Onion skin colour, lots of red fruit and floral aromas, with some pastry and butter notes.

Argent, Gran Reserva Brut 100 % Chardonnay. Pale straw, with golden streaks and fine bubble. White fruit in the nose, along with citric and balsamic aromas. Crisp, creamy and well structured.

Gramona Brut Imperial Gran Reserva: 50 % Xarel.lo, 40 % Macabeu and 10 % Chardonnay, with at least 3 years of aging. Pale yellow, with white fruit and citrics.

III Lustros Brut Nature Gran Reserva: 70 % Xarel.lo and 30% Macabeu. At least five years of aging, with gas perfectly integrated, tiny and persistent bubble. Lactics and bakery notes, with white fruit and aniseed.

And last, the jewel of the house: Celler Batlle Brut Gran Reserva. The base wine is the same as III Lustros, but aged at least eight years and with the finishing touch of expedition liquor. Complex in the nose, with the full pack: ripe fruit, butter and bakery, toasted overtones. Wide and creamy in the mouth, with refreshing acidity and long finish. One of the very best Cavas around.

What to eat with these Cavas? They are not ideal for a slight refreshment (try them anyway), but are perfectly equal to the task of pairing with a full meal. In the picture below you can see my menu for my last birthday’s dinner at home: not exactly a light snack, but the pairing was great!

Birthday dinner

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