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First List of 12 Cava de Paraje vineyards Released

Posted: Saturday, 15 July 2017 11:50

 

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First List of 12 Cava de Paraje vineyards Released

July 15: A year after the new Cava appellation for higher quality was announced by the El Consejo Regulador del Cava, the Cava Regulatory Council in Barcelona, Cava de Paraje Calificado will be a reality soon as the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Environment announced on July 12 the approval of the first twelve Top Cavas which include three from Codorniu and one from Gramona which is already being imported into India

Targeted to be announced before the end of 2016, the decision was delayed due to bureaucratic hurdles (and we thought India had the monopoly!); the 12 wines have been fully certified by the Tasting panel, to be designated as Cava de Paraje Calificado. Following is the approved list awaiting the gazetted notification after which the labels may be changed officially and sales made accordingly:

1. Vinyes de Can Martí – Torelló 225 Brut Nature Gran Reserva

2. Turó d’en Mota – Recaredo

3. Serral del Vell – Recaredo Brut de Brut (Brut Nature)

4. Vallcirera – Alta Alella Mirgin Gran Reserva

5. La Capella – Juvé i Camps

6. Can Sala – Freixenet Casa Sala

7. La Pleta – Codorníu

8. El Tros Nou – Codorníu

9. La Fideuera – Codorníu

10. Can Prats – Vins el Cep Claror (Bio-dynamic)

11. Font de Jui – Gramona III Lustros

12. Terroja – Castellroig Reserva de la Familia

As might be expected, the Cavas are from some of the top producers of D.O. Cava which has been going through some turmoil during the past few years because of huge quality variations, with several ultra cheap sparkling wines flooding the market and damaging the reputation of a bubbly made with Traditional Champagne making method and which was once second in sales in the world only behind champagne but now overtaken by the leading sparkling wine category, Prosecco, followed by champagne.

To qualify for the Cava de Paraje Calificado designation the wines have to be produced from grapes grown in single vineyards that are at least 10 years old. Grapes must be hand-picked in the vineyard with a maximum yield of 8 tons/ hA. Fermentation must be carried out at the estate only and the wine must have a maximum yield of 48 hL/ hA. The second fermentation must be carried out in the bottle for a minimum of 36 months, as compared to the existing 30 month requirement for Grand Reserva. These Single Estate Cavas may be produced as ‘Brut’.

It was predicted by delWine in June last year that Gramona, Juvé & Camps, Cavas Recaredo and Casa Sala, the historic estate of Freixenet, are a few of the labels expected to join the new ranks. Labels from all these four estates have been included in the top hierarchy. The powerful historical estate of Codorniu, one of the pioneers of making Cava has 3 of the labels included in the first List of 12.

La Pleta, El Tros Nou, and La Fideuera from Codorniu are 3 of their 5 Cavas recently presented as the Ars Collecta Codorníu collection. The other two are Jaume Codorníu which was also a part of the 8 Grand Cavas tasted at the IWINTC Tasting, and ‘456’- a rare Cava made to celebrate the 456 vintages of the winery founded in 1551, and acclaimed to be the most expensive Cava in the history.

The Wine Park Mumbai imports two cava variants from Gramona including Ill Lustros- aged for 7+years on lees. ‘It will be interesting to see if Lustros gets the prestigious new label Gramona Cava de Paraje Calificado!’ I had wondered in my article in delWine. It turns out my hunch was on the button for this delicious, elegant example of a high quality Cava.

Ill Lustros was also one of the Cavas tasted at a guided tasting conducted by Sara Jane Evens MW at the International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC) in Barcelona; one of the highlights. Can Sala was another one from Freixenet (the affordable labels are imported by Aspri) that was a part of the exquisite Tasting.

The concept of Cava de Paraje Calificado can be compared with ‘Gran Selezione’- a new category of higher quality introduced by Chianti Classico Consortium to differentiate the higher quality of certain variants in an effort to boost the image of the wines and the appellation.

Genesis of the concept of Cava de Paraje may be summed up in the explanation given by Frances Scala, Export Manager of the Sant Sadurni d’Anoia based Cava producer Raventos i Blanc which has the original family ties with Codorniu and is located right across the main historical winery of Codorniu. He was visiting Delhi in February, 2013 and informed me at an exclusive dinner that they had decided to pull out of the DO Cava appellation in 2014. Reason? ‘Due to its popularity every producer wants to make Cava. It is disappointing that today Cava can be produced practically in any part of Spain, of any quality. We keep high standards for a product that was initiated by the ancestors of the family which had been also involved in formulating the rules for the appellation,’ he said.

About 250 million bottles of Cava are produced every year, including 30 million of premium Cavas. Only about 450,000 bottles (2%) will qualify for this ultra-premium variant eventually.

Codorniu was imported over a decade ago by Brindco but was discontinued due to the marketing factors. Freixenet was also distributed by Global Tax Free which did a very good job in the initial years but later on it wavered substantially, After a gap of several years, the brand has been brought back to India by Aspri which earlier imported Raventos i Blanc which had to be discontinued due to higher prices.

With the awareness of sparkling wines increasing thanks to the entry of Chandon India, it is rapidly becoming the fastest growing segment. With the quality of Prosecco going down gradually because of bulk production and the prices going up due to shortage of supply despite a production of over 500 million bottles, Cava has a good chance of penetrating the market if promoted properly. Cava de Paraje led by the Ill Lustro, and other cavas from Gramona and quality producers will encourage more importers to bring in the Spanish bubbly and with a segment of the consumer market trading up as their palates evolve, one will hear more of ‘Paraje’ which is available for much less than the ordinary champagnes but in quality compares with the high quality champagnes.

For our earlier related Articles on the subject, please visit

Cava de Paraje Calificado: Top Quality Certification for Cava

IWINETC 2016: Gramona Cava- Propelled to Top by Historical Accidents

IWINETC 2016: Cava –The ‘Champagne’ of Spain

Subhash Arora

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Tags: Cava, El Consejo Regulador del Cava, Cava de Paraje Calificado, Codorniu, Gramona, Vinyes de Can Martí, Turó d’en Mota, Serral del Vell, Vallcirera, La Capella, Can Sala, La Pleta, El Tros Nou, La Fideuera, Can Prats, Font de Jui, Terroja, Prosecco, champagne, Brut, Ars Collecta Codorníu, 456, The Wine Park Mumbai, Ill Lustros, Sara Jane Evens MW, International Wine Tourism Conference, IWINETC, Can Sala, Gran Selezione, Frances Scala, Raventos i Blanc, Aspri, Gramona
       

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