Wine rating: Gramona Brut Imperial Gran Reserva 2004

by mary on May 18, 2009

Cava from Spain:  Gramona Brut Imperial 2004A lot of cava is aggressively bubbly and quite bitter but this cava shows Spain can give France a run for its money in sparkling wine.  Cava is the Spanish sparkling wine made in the champenoise method in Cataluña and some other regions in Spain.  The traditional grapes are Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo, but increasingly Chardonnay is being used in the blend.   Unfortunately many Spaniards and foreigners are only exposed to the cheapest of cavas, the under 8€ crowd from big producers.  Few of these are any good and most are frankly, quite bad.  Cava is a good value, if very different alternative to champagne, but I don’t understand how anyone thinks it should be that cheap.  The great cavas are between 12 and 25 euros…above 25 euros I find small producer champagnes better for the money….few of the really high end cavas really impress me either.  My favorite cava producers are medium or smaller outfits, my all time favorites are any cavas from Gramona, Raventos I Blanc and Sumarroca.  One of the frustrations of living in Madrid is that many smaller Catalan producers don’t have good distribution here…internal Spanish political tensions affecting the wine market.  Just today, I had one of my top picks…this is the cava I drink the most….it’s a top quality wine, good value and readily available in Madrid.  The Gramona Brut Imperial is a steal at about 15€. It‘s a wonderful, mellow, wine-like cava, where apply fruit mixes with leesy, toasted aromas.  The mouth is round, fresh and the carbonic is terrific, super integrated and not at all aggressive.  The finish is very persistent with a very slight, pleasant bitterness.  This wine is a great example of the quality Gramona offers…this Penedés-based company also makes great still wines, dry and sweet.  Read on for more information on the Gramona Brut Imperial. 

Wine:  Brut Imperial Gran Reserva Brut 2004
Winery:  Bodegas Gramona
Denominación de Origen (DO): DO Cava (Penedés, Cataluña)
Alc: 12%
Grape varieties: 50% Macabeo, 40% Xarel.lo, 10% Chardonnay
Aging:  champenoise or traditional method used, 36-48 months aging before disgorgement
Price:  about 15€ retail in Madrid

Tasting notes
Visual:  Pale golden color, very fine bubbles, medium vigor
Nose:  Very vinous nose, apple, lees, a bit of toast.  Attractive, almost sweet.
Mouth:  Medium intensity, round, smooth.  Wonderful carbonic, very subtle, well-integrated.  Very wine-like in mouth…fullish, fruity.  Apple, lemon, honey, toast…nice acidity, but not tart.  The finish is very long, apple and toast.   There is a final, slight bitterness that is quite refreshing.
Conclusion: This cava is in every way a wine, a versatile wine that can be drunk with many meals.  It is mellow yet interesting and offers a great balance between the freshness and fruit a young cava offers and the mellow, complex aromas that long aging bring.  I have yet to meet a client that hasn’t liked it….even some who don’t appreciate sparkling wines.  Great value wine.   

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