Cava producers gathered in London to launch the first release of wines under the new Cava de Paraje Calificado (Qualified Single Estate Cava) quality classification. The new classification, which was announced by the DOP del Cava back in 2014, was recognised by the EU in July 2016.
To qualify for the new single-vineyard classification, grapes must be hand-harvested from vines that are at least 10 years old, with a maximum permitted yield of 8,000kg per hectare. Fermentation must be carried out at the estate and have a maximum yield of must of 48hl/ha. The initial base wine must be fermented in bottle for a minimum of 36 months, and can only be made as ‘brut’ styles. The resulting wines are labelled ‘Cava de Paraje Calificado’ with the name of the estate on the front label and a quality seal.
The DOP del Cava announced in July that a total of 12 producers were eligible for the new classification, but only nine of these went on to receive the quality seal, following a blind tasting assessment by a panel of Spanish and international wine experts.
The nine producers have 15 top-tier cavas between them, accounting for just 300,000 bottles out of the region’s total production of 245,155,988 bottles.
The list of producers and their approved estates is: Alta Alella (Vallcirera), Vins el Cep (Can Prats), Torelló (Vinyes de Can Martí), Finca Sabaté I Coca (Terroja), Codorníu (El Tros Nou , La Pleta and La Fideuera), Freixenet (Can Sala), Juvé & Camps (La Capella), Recaredo (Turó d’en Mota and Serral del Vell) and Gramona (Font de Jui).
Imbibe’s top picks
Gramona Enoteca Font de Jui 2002
From a 22.5ha vineyard near the Anoia river, which is farmed biodynamically. This blend of Xarello and Macabeo has evolved savoury aromas, followed by a fruity, delicate and elegant palate with well-integrated flavours and lovely freshness that belies the wine’s age.
Berry Bros & Rudd, 020 7022 8973
Recaredo Turó d’en Mota 2005
This 100% Xarello comes from a tiny 0.97ha organic vineyard with very chalky soil, which was planted in 1940. In line with Recaredo’s house style, this wine is zero-dosage. A bananas and custard nose leads to a layered palate with fresh citrus, vanilla, macadamia nuts and a savoury note, bound together with a restrained seam of acidity.
Les Caves de Pyrene, 01483 538820
Freixenet Can Sala 2007
The Can Sala vineyard has 3ha of Parellada and 2ha of Xarello, resulting in a 60/40 blend in this wine. Aromas of Russet apples, sliced pear and peanut brittle lead to a palate with fine bubbles and flavours of ripe orchard fruit, nougat and biscuits balanced by crisp acidity. Incredible freshness for a 10-year-old wine.
Freixenet DWS, 01344 758500