13th May, 2014 by Lucy Shaw
The Cava regulatory board is to create a new “Single Estate” classification this autumn in order to highlight the Spanish sparkler’s quality credentials.
The new classification will be dubbed “Cava del Paraje Calificado” (Qualified Single Estate Cava), with only Cavas made from single vineyard sites eligible for entry.
Producers will also have to make their own base wines and will be subject to strict quality controls imposed by the Cava Consejo Regulador.
“With this new classification we are adopting the ‘château’ philosophy, which will give producers the opportunity to gain recognition for wines produced from a specific site within their vineyard,” said Pere Bonet, President of the DOP del Cava.
Grape pickers at Gramona
“We have received considerable interest from producers about this initiative and while it is a little early to say how many houses will participate, we anticipate that there will a number wanting to use the classification for their wines,” he added.
The exact parameters that will enable eligible producers to use the classification are yet to be decided but Bonet revealed that the yield and ageing restrictions will be in line with, or most likely higher than those used for Gran Reserva Cavas.
“The move is part of our strategy to communicate the amazing diversity of styles to be found within Cava and we hope that by creating this new classification we are helping producers to highlight this diversity and further promote the premium image of Cava in all markets,” Bonet said.
He went on to add that one of his key aims moving forward is to highlight Cava’s diversity in terms of price and styles in its leading export markets.
“From entry level Cavas right through to limited production Gran Reservas, we believe that Cava is unique in its range and variety of styles,” he said.
Bonet also revealed that UK Cava volume sales had dropped in recent years as a number of supermarket contracts have been discontinued in order to protect Cava’s image, with deep discounting and cheap own-label Cavas damaging the brand.
“It’s very bad for Cava’s brand image for it to be on sale at Tesco for £5. We’re seeking more distribution in high-end restaurants and specialist retailers in order to get the top Cavas into the UK to change people’s perceptions,” he said.