Story and photos by Dwight Casimere
BARCELONA, Spain--Less than an hour away from this bustling cosmopolitan coastal city lies one of Spain's oldest and most respected makers of Spanish Cava or sparkling wine. Gramona has been said to be equal in quality to Champagne. In fact, in 1921, Gramola, one of the mainstays of the Penedes region, was allowed to use the label designation "Cava Champagne." A family member has been involved in the making of Gramola since 1916, The estate is one of the few remaining family owned Cava producers in the region,
Gramona has won a number of prestigious awards and blind tasting competitions. A visit to their cellars along "Cava Row" is a crash course in quality and tradition. Besides the family members involved in the company, local residents are loyal, long-time workers. Down in the bottling room, one can see the elderly women of the village carefully hand-wrapping each bottle of Gramona Cava and packaging them for shipment. The loving care they employ with each bottle is a clear indication of their devotion to their jobs and the to family.
Xavier Gramona, the proprietor and winemaker, is proud of the stature that Gramona has maintained. and rightly so. The wine is served in the finest restaurants, hotels and wine shops throughout Europe and has been a mainstay at the great restaurants in every major U.S. city and on the shelves of exclusive wine retailers. One of the strongest selling points, besides its superb quality, is the price. Comparable Champagnes carry a far heftier price tag. The Grand Cuvee, for example, sells for just under $20. The Imperial Grand Reserva vintage is under $30. Of course, when one gets up to the Enoteca Gran Reserva 2003, you're talking $189.00. Still, its a steal.
A warm, mild Mediterranean climate works its magic on the grapes in spite of the poor soil, which is largely sand and clay. The fact that the vineyards are located in higher elevations, at least 700 feet above sea level, also leaves its mark on the final product.
The taste of Gramona is dry, with with hints of citrus, white flower blossoms and a faint whisper of honied fruit that gives way to a nice, clean finish. It is perfect as an aperitif or with assorted tapas, seafood, salads of soft cheeses. As a food wine, any light meats, seafood, salads, and variouss flatbreads and paella are perfect partners. This is the "go to" sparkler for a casual brunch or garden party. Dn't forget the Gramona III Lustros ($50) or the Gran Reserva for that special occasion or sharing with the special someone.
Gramona Gran Reserva