Gramona has achieved spectacular results in aging cavas for extended periods and stands out as Spain's leading producer in this field. The winery celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2006, even though its cava was not produced until the first quarter of the 20th century, under the direction of Bartomeu Gramona and Pilar Batlle. The first bottles date from 1921. Gramona strengthened its brand in the 1940s; the fouth generation created the III Lustros and Celler Batllé labels, based on long aging periods, and the fifth generation, led by cousins Jaume (winemaking) and Xavier Gramona (management), are in charge of strengthening their cava style and developing a wide range of still wines.
The company owns 38 hectares of vineyards and has recently acquired an extra four, yet still buys grapes from local winegrowers. Despite their vines being organically grown, in 2014 Gramona started to apply biodynamic techniques in the plots destined to their top Cavas as well as a couple of their still wines. The shift came after Jaume Gramona attended a course conducted by Claude Bourguignon in Burgundy and asked the French microbiologist to consult for them and bring life back to their soils. They are now encouraging grape suppliers to follow their steps through Alliances for Earth, an association which provides advice on biodynamics and buys their grapes well above market prices. Gramona is also creating its own animal farm and expects to start ploughing with horses within three to four years.
Gramona has taken steps to promote sustainability ever since the construction of their new winery in 2001, built mostly underground as it seeks to benefit from naturally low temperatures and to reduce their environmental impact using renewable energies. As well as its own water treatment plant, Gramona reuses rainwater and has installed solar panels and geothermic energy for its cooling equipment. Latest advances include the replacement of traditional lighting by LED systems and the use of electric vehicles on the vineyards and winery.
Gramona's prestige rests on cavas with an aging philosophy similar to Champagne's. Most of them could belong to the “Gran Reserva” category, which requires a minimum aging of 30 months, but they thoroughly surpass it. The winery favours the use of cork stoppers for cavas aged for three or more years as the most effective method to combat oxidation. Xarel.lo forms the backbone of their cavas. It is one of the white grape varieties with higher resveratrol content, according to a study published by the University of Montpellier and mentioned by the family in all presentations. Numerous vertical tastings carried out by the winery in the past years prove the good bottle evolution of long-aged cavas. This led to the creation of Enoteca, a new Gran Reserva range launched in December 2013. The two initial Brut and Brut Nature cavas, both from the 2000 vintage, have been in stacks for 160 months and retail at around €120.
Their highest producing Gran Reserva is Gramona Imperial (around €17 and 300,000 bottles). It is aged for three to four years and is a blend of Xarel.lo and Macabeo plus roughly 20% Chardonnay. The amount of Xarel.lo increases up to 70% in the longest aged cavas. The blend in III Lustros (€24, 50,000 bottles, eight years in contact with the lees), Celler Batlle (€50, ten years in racks) and Enoteca (€120, aged for 14 years) is exactly the same in every new vintage. In fact it is the same wine, although it’s not always able to reach the latest stages of aging. The rest of the blend is usually Macabeo, but Jaume Gramona likes to have the flexibility to make changes based on harvest conditions. These Cavas are marked by their creaminess and volume in the palate, two regular features in Gramona’s style. The three of them bear the new single-vineyard Cava de Paraje Calificado designation.
Presented in a minimalist, elegant packaging, the Argent Cava range includes a single-varietal Chardonnay aged for over 55 months and an extremely pale Pinot Noir rosé aged for over 42 months. Both of them cost around €29 in Spain.
Gramona also produces some easy-to-drink semi-sparkling wines. Still wines start with Gessamí (under €10 in Spain), an aromatic blend of Moscatel, Sauvignon blanc and Gewürztraminer, followed by single-varietal wines like the slightly oaked Mas Escorpí Chardonnay (€10), Gramona Sauvignon Blanc (15 €) and a Pinot Noir called Bru de Gramona (€21). The Xarel.lo collection is particularly interesting given Gramona’s deep knowledge of Penedès’ most distinctive white grape. Each of the three wines in this range is raised in different containers: Fontjui (€12), the first wine to carry the Demeter label for biodynamic wines in the 2014 vintage, is fermented and aged in barrel, while Ovum (€14) uses concrete eggs and earthenware vessels and Roent (€13) is placed in large oak vats.
Their sweet range is divided into “hot” and “cold” wines. The first ones, called Gra a Gra, come from late-harvest grapes which are fermented and aged in barrels and demijohns: there’s a Pinot Noir (€17) and blend (€20) of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and small grain Muscat. The Muscat grapes are frozen to -15º C with the aid of liquid nitrogen in order to produce an ice wine style. The so called Vi de Glass includes a Riesling (€15) and a Gewürztraminer.