On Monday, June 13th, the consejo regulador of the Cava DO held a press conference at a Barcelona landmark– el Palau de la Música Catalana (the Palace of Catalan Music)–to announce to the world their new category of Cava DO wines, Cava de Paraje Calificado (Qualified Single Estate Cava).
This new category of sparkling wines (within the existing Cava DO) is reserved for single-vineyard, estate-produced wines. The intention of the category is to bring prestige to meticulously produced Cava, crafted from grapes from a “smaller area approved especially as extraordinary and unique for its soil and climate conditions.”
Wines bearing the seal of Single Estate Cava will need to abide by all of the basic rules of the Cava DO in regards to grape varieties, production methods, sweetness levels and the like, and will have the following more specific qualifications as well:
- Vines must be at least 10 years old
- Grapes must come from a vineyard whose entire production is dedicated to Single Estate Cava
- Grapes must be hand-harvested and must be transported to the winery intact
- Maximum production of 8,000 kg per hectare (equivalent to 8.8 tons per hectare [as opposed to 12 tons per hectare for other categories of Cava])
- Musts may not be chaptalized or acidified
- Minimum acidity 5.5 grams per liter (per cuvée)
- Minimum of 36 months of sur lie (in-bottle) aging
- Brut-level sweetness or drier
- Complete traceability from vine to shelf
According to Pedro Bonet, chairman of the Cava Regulatory Board, Single Estate Cava “has been created in order to place cavas at the top of the quality wines pyramid and to do justice to its quality of this sparkling wine.” It not yet clear when we may expect to see Cava de Paraje Calificado on the shelf, but when we do, it will certainly be a reason to celebrate. Salud!
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