For years That Guide used to rate Gramona as being among the best cavas, but never the best. The rule of the boss and taster at ‘That Guide’ was that cavas had to be young, fresh and fruity. No way could they attempt the exploit of long ageing like that of the iconic champagnes of France.
That Guide was the most recognized in Spain and those running it at the time did not attend our first vertical tasting by Gramona in Madrid, at which we shared our theory of cava’s ability to be a very fine sparkling wine. That was back in spring 2008. The presentation and tasting of various vintages of our Celler Batlle and III Lustros were a great success.
We were however needled by That Guide, so we called them up the following day. They agreed to find a slot for us in their busy diary and we met informally in their offices in Madrid. We had turned up with two bottles of our cava: a Celler Batlle from the 1997 vintage and another from the 1998. ‘Mr Peñín’ received us and quickly asked his team to set up a blind tasting with our cavas and some bottles of champagne that they happened to have in the fridge.
Our host listened to our thesis on why a cava could be capable of evolving over many years to become excellent. He heard us out, but it was the blind tasting that sealed it. ‘Mr. Taster and his tasting team preferred our Gramonas’ to the top-of- the-range champagnes, which unbeknownst to us, we had just tasted.
The following year, That Guide lauded us for the first time, ‘With a 10 year old cava, Gramona attains the expression of the best champagnes’. The trade press in Spain began to acknowledge the potential of cava, which we refer to as ‘the paradigm shift’. Since that meeting, the tasting teams at That Guide have changed and its management too. However, we remain the most highly rated cava in the guide. A break with the rule.