Cava has added the first twelve sites to its new single vineyard classification ‘Cava de Paraje’, which was first proposed by the Cava Regulatory Board in May 2015 .
The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment last week unveiled the list of the first sites to be approved for the new classification, which are owned by some of the biggest Cava producers in Spain.
The list of producers and their approved estates includes Torelló (Vinyes de Can Martí), Recaredo (Turó d’en Mota and Serral del Vell), Alta Alella (Vallcirera), Juvé i Camps (La Capella), Freixenet (Can Sala), Codorníu (La Pleta, El Tros Nou and La Fideuera), Vins el Cep (Can Prats), Gramona (Font de Jui) and Castellroig (Terroja).
The new Cavas, which will form the ultra-premium tier of the traditional Spanish sparkler category, will include the term ‘Cava de Paraje Calificado’ and the name of the estate on the front label.
To qualify for the single vineyard classification, the grapes must be hand-harvested from vines that are at least 10 years old, and have a maximum output of 8,000 kg per hectare. Fermentation must be carried out at the estate and have a maximum yield of 48 hectolitres per hectare. The initial base wine must be fermented in bottle for a minimum of 36 months, and they can only be made as ‘Brut’ wines.
The Cava de Paraje classification was officially unveiled in Barcelona last June, just over a year after it was first announced by the Cava Regulatory Board.
Speaking to db in October, Pere Bonet, president of the Consejo Regulador del Cava said the new ‘Cava de Paraje Calificado’ classification was an important tool to improve Cava’s global image and was expected to have a halo effect on the wider premium Cava category, which accounts for around 15% of Cava production.
“The classification positions and raises awareness of Cava at the top of the quality pyramid for sparkling wine and motivates terroir-driven producers that meet the special conditions required to be classed as a single estate Cava to achieve this top level of protection in the future,” he told db.
The classification joins the existing 90 Denominations of Origin and 41 Protected Geographical Indications in wines across the country.
Speaking at the launch, the Spanish Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment Isabel García Tejerina pointed out that wine was one of the most important product to the country’s agri-food trade, with exports increasingly coming from the higher quality end of production.
This had been seen by the gradual increase in Spanish wines that were designated Denomination of Origin, he said, with Cava leading Spanish Denomination of Origin in terms of export volumes.
The Cava region comprises 159 municipalities within Catalonia but nearly 95% of all Cava produced comes in the Penedès region, with the majority of production houses based in the municipality of Sant Sadurní d’Anoia.
Cava shipments topped 245 million bottles in 2016, according to the latest figures from Cava’s regulatory body, the DO Cava, up 0.42% on the previous year.
July 17, 2017
Spain's government has approved 12 Cava grape growing sites to sit above all others in a new top-level classification designed to promote single-vineyard wines.
limestone, cava wine
Limestone pebbles typical of the Cava region. Credit: Gramona
First Cava ‘grand cru’ sites are chosen
The saying is that ‘good comes to those who wait’, and Cava producers and fans have had to be patient for official sign-off on the new premium classification, the Cava de Paraje Calificado.
Last week, Spain’s ministry of agriculture announced the first 12 sites to form part of the new classification at the top of the Spanish sparkling wine‘s hierarchy.
It’s part of a general shift in Spain towards greater recognition for specific vineyard sites, as seen recently in Rioja.
‘Cava has long needed this,’ said Sarah Jane Evans MW, Spanish wine expert and co-chair of the Decanter World Wine Awards.
Cava producers have faced stronger competition in foreign markets in recent years, notably from Prosecco. This has led to much internal debate about the future of Spain’s Cava DO.
Decanter.com columnist Andrew Jefford wrote of Cava last year, ‘The cheap fizz is world-famous. The fine sparkling wine, as yet, is not.’
Evans told Decanter.com that she was delighted to see the new classification approved. ‘This should be the beginning of long process to turn round the image of Cava.’ she said.
‘The wines in the list are really exceptional. The producers include family businesses such as the biodynamic producer Recaredo, with two Cavas listed, and Gramona. The largest names in the Cava business are also on the list. Freixenet, with its Casa Sala, and Codorníu with no less than three wines.’
The first 12 Cava sites, and their owners, are:
• Vinyes de Can Martí – Torelló
• Turó d’en Mota – Recaredo
• Serral del Vell – Recaredo
• Vallcirera – Alta Alella
• La Capella – Juvé i Camps
• Can Sala – Freixenet
• La Pleta – Codorníu
• El Tros Nou – Codorníu
• La Fideuera – Codorníu
• Can Prats – Vins el Cep
• Font de Jui – Gramona
• Terroja – Castellroig
Codorníu said that it only made around 300 bottles each of its three wines in the new classification, with a recommended retail price of 90 euros per bottle.
Pere Bonet, chairman of the Cava regulatory council, told Decanter in 2016 that ‘the wines that carry this seal will have been sourced from single estates in the very best terroirs of the Cava-producing region’.
Rules include a maximum yield of 8,000 kg/ha or 48 hl/ha, 36 months ageing in bottle, only vintage wines and only Brut styles. For more rules, see Jefford’s column on the new classification.
Comentario de / Comment Of Wines Inform Assessors:
No estoy seguro de que ésta sea la manera de mostrar los buenos cavas que se hacen en Cataluña .
Decanter informa de: "Codorníu said that it only made around 300 bottles each of its three wines in the new classification, with a recommended retail price of 90 euros per bottle." Esta cifra en una empresa que produce 45 millones de botellas muestra una acción de marketing no correcta y que a a larga no lleva a ningún lado
Se prima parece el lugar físico de producción y ello me parece un gran error . El primer valor son los productores -ayudados por tantos otros elementos necesarios: tierra, técnica, variedades de uva, ilusión, instalaciones adecuadas, ...-
Wines Inform Assessors
I am not sure that this is the way to show the good cavas that are made in Catalonia.
Decanter reports: "Codorníu said that it only made about 300 bottles each of its three wines in the new classification, with a recommended retail price of 90 euros per bottle." This figure in a company that produces 45 million bottles shows a marketing action that is not correct and that in the long run leads nowhere
It seems like the physical place of production seems to me to be a big mistake. The first value is the producers - assisted by so many other necessary elements: earth, technique, grape varieties, illusion, adequate facilities,...
Wines Inform Assessors
Origin information: The Drink Business