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Definition Gramona

The top of Cava

History Gramona

The story of this winery located in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia is interesting to tell. It was officially founded in 1881 by Pau Batlle, but older documents from 1816 show that Pau’s father, Josep, already made wine there. Because of the phylloxera crisis, Pau Batlle decided to bottle his own cava and to commercialise it from his house in Sant Sadurní. Rapidly, he became one of the most important wine merchants in Penedès!

All this while, the Gramona family owned restaurants in Barcelona, including pubs in the old centre districts. Josep Gramona was even president of the local association of barkeepers. The Gramona also owned a holiday home in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, with a nice wine collection.

The paths of the two families crossed when Bartomeu Gramona (Josep’s son) and Pilar Batlle (Pau’s daughter) married in 1913. Bartomeu became an oenologist and in 1921 his first Cavas were shipped from the Carrer Industria cellar – still in use today.

Of this marriage, two sons were born, who expanded the family business again.

Today, their sons Jaume and Xavier Gramona (the fifth generation) do the same, more successfully than ever. Jaume is one of Spain’s most famous oenologists (he teaches at the Faculty of Oenology in Tarragona). He is THE bubble specialist; he continuously experiments with new winemaking techniques and new improvements in the vineyards.

Xavier was trained as an economist, and is the commercial manager. In addition to its own products, Gramona is also the distributor of several great Spanish wines in Catalonia.

Gramona is now the absolute reference for cava. Year after year, it has received awards in Spain and abroad. Gramona still believes in a long ageing on racks; it has also developed a real proficiency in the dosage process (a special cellar is dedicated to this) and soleras.

In 2001, Gramona inaugurated a new cellar in the hills overlooking Sant Sadurní, a new “Celler Batlle”, where the winemaking process and the bottling of all its wines now take place. Only the ageing process still takes place in the cellars of Carrer Industria where everything began, in 1921.

The most important factor for quality in this cellar is quite easy to define: time.

Varieties

Gramona works with 15 varieties, some of which are only experimental. It owns 40 hectares of vines.

For the cava, it uses the typical local grapes of the region (except Parellada), Macabeu and above all Xarello but also Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

For the white (still) wines, it uses Chardonnay, Xarello, Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Muscat d’Alexandrie, Muscat de Frontignan and Sauvignon blanc. With these latter varieties, Gramona also makes sweet wines.

For some time now, Gramona has been working with Claude Bourguignon, so as to farm the soils in the most natural way. A small part of the vineyard is already farmed organically, the rest should follow after a period of transition.

Terroir

All vineyards are located near Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, in the fertile plain of the Alt Penedès. The soils are mostly clayish. On the heights, some poorer, calcareous soils are to be found. There, the yields are lower than on the plain.

The climate is Mediterranean. The vines are only 35 km away from the sea, so they benefit from the morning sea breeze.

Winemaking

This is Jaume Gramona’s field par excellence. For him, a cava needs time so that the autolysis (when the yeasts dissolve during the second fermentation) is completed. All Gramona cavas spend a minimum of 36 to 48 months on racks.

For the top cuvées like III Lustros and Celler Batlle, this ageing time is extended to 5 and 8 years, respectively. Worthy of note: during this ageing process, the bottles are closed with a real cork, and not, like in other cellars in Spain, with a mere capsule.

Still white wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks, with the exception of the Xarello, which ferments in French oak barrels, where it's aged for 2 months.

Sweet wines are a case apart: Jaume Gramona likes the German Eiswein, but owing to the different climate of Penedès, he found a solution: “Vi de Glass”, alias cryo-extraction. Grapes are deep-frozen then pressed. This quite radical technique is very well mastered at Gramona.

Jaume also makes a botrytised wine, the Gra a Gra (grape by grape) and a sweet cava (cryo-extracted), Frisant de Gel.

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