- Penedès, Spain
The Gramona family traces their history as grape growers and winemakers back to 1850 when Josep Batlle managed the vineyard of La Plana for a local family. His son Pau, who was active in the wine cork trade was uniquely positioned to begin selling the wines made from La Plana to sparkling wine producers in France who were at the time suffering from the ravages of phylloxera. By 1881 Pau was in the position to purchase the vineyard of La Plana and to establish Celler Batlle. It was at this time that Pau realized that Xarel.lo, the indigenous grape to this part of Catalunya, was instrumental in his success selling wines to France due to its ability to make well-aged sparkling wines. Pau’s daughter Pilar married Bartolomé Gramona and together they continued to expand their vineyards and sparkling wine business and in 1921 “Gramona Cava Champagne ‘’ first began to appear on their bottles of sparkling wine. By 1945, Pilar and Bartolomé’s sons, Bartomeu & Josep Lluis took over the management of Gramona and began to elaborate the cuvées that the estate is known for.
Today the sons of Bartomeu & Josep Lluis, Xavier & Jaume Gramona manage the operations at Gramona. Each generation has brought something new to the estate with Xavier expanding the scientific understanding of lees aging and the inherent properties of Xarel.lo while Jaume has pursued the conversion of all their vineyards – owned and leased – to organic farming as well as converting the family’s vineyards to biodynamic farming as well.
The wines made at Gramona are sourced from up to 303 hectares of vineyards (35-75) year old vienes) that are farmed at least organically as well as the family’s 72 hectares of vines that are farmed biodynamically. The soils in the Alt Penedès, where Gramona is situated, are primarily clay limestone. Close to the Anoia river they become more alluvial and near the looming Montserrat mountain there are areas of slate. Their top sites: La Plana, Font Jui, Mas Escorpí, and La Solana, are all located close to Celler Batlle where the wines are made and aged. These sites are also distinguished by calcite formations known as têtes de poupées which slowly breakdown in the soils releasing minerals. Whether it is these unique soils, their location and a gentle rise between the Anoia to the north and several natural springs to the south, or the diversity of the massale selections of Xarel.lo and Macabeu found in these sites that makes Gramona’s best sparkling wines so unique could be debated. Combined with the generations of labor and talent the Gramona family has devoted to these vineyards is the bedrock on which their reputation has been established.
At Gramona time is never an issue. The wines receive perhaps the longest average aging than any other sparkling wines in Spain and are never released until they are perfectly mature. Eighty-six percent of the sparkling wines produced in Spain are released after only 9 months while at Gramona theirs are aged a minimum of 30 months, some even 15-17 years.
Long considered a pioneer for their work in the cellar and releasing sparkling wines only after extended aging, Gramona now farms their estate organically and biodynamically with certifications from the Consell Català de la Producció Agraria y Ecològica and DEMETER. They are also taking steps to promote sustainability in their production by reducing their carbon footprint – using geothermic energy and recycling all the water used at the estate.