‘Hole in the middle’ of the Cava category

There is a “hole in the middle” of the Cava category at the moment with too much focus on the top and the bottom ends of the market, according to one producer.


Mid-priced Cavas like Anna de Codorníu have a chance to drive the middle of the market forward

Speaking to the drinks business during a recent visit to the region, Victor Sanchez, global communication and PR manager for Codorníu, said: “The single vineyard ‘Cava de Paraje’ classification is a great step in the right direction but as a region we need to be looking at other things.

“We need to tell the world that we have top Cavas that come from select vineyard sites, but there’s a huge difference between the very top and mainstream Cavas.

Codorníu's chief winemaker Bruno Colomer is trailing different shape and material fermentation vessels

Codorníu’s chief winemaker Bruno Colomer is trailing different shape and material fermentation vessels

“There’s a hole in the middle at the moment – we aren’t talking enough about great quality, mid-priced Cavas like Anna de Codorníu that can really drive the market and make a positive difference within the category.

“There is too much focus at the moment on the top and the bottom ends of the market. We need to explain to consumers that there is a huge difference in quality between a £5 and a £15 Cava and really own that middle market.”

Playing in all arenas of the market, Codorníu is set to release its most expensive sparkler yet – ‘456’, a blend of single vineyard Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Xarel.lo aged for a decade on its lees, which will cost around £150 a bottle.

Launching the brand with the 2007 vintage, just 1,000 bottles will go on sale. The single vineyard concept in Cava is a relatively new idea. Only 33 Cava companies make wines from their own grapes.

Codorníu’s chief winemaker, Bruno Colomer, is currently experimenting with different shaped vessels and materials for fermentation, from concrete tanks to clay amphora.

“The four shapes I’m trialing are square, rectangle, egg-shaped and pyramid. Concrete tanks give wines more body and less aroma. I’ve found so far that the egg is the best shape for fermentation,” Colomer told db.

He is also making an experimental sparkling Albariño and is exploring with fermenting the base wines in 10-year-old French oak, going back to the ancient way of making Cava.

Colomer told db that he was happy about the new single vineyard classification but was tentative about joining the select club at first.

“I wasn’t planning on becoming part of the Cava de Paraje classification but the consejo came to me and told me it was important for Codorníu to be involved. The problem right  now is that you can only call a wine a “Cava de Paraje” if all of the grapes come from a single vineyard,” he said.

“A better concept would be the Champagne method of classifying the different ‘grand crus’ and being able to label a wine a ‘Cava de Paraje’ when it’s a blend of the different grand cru sites.

“The consejo are developing this as the second stage of the classification – it will happen but it will take some time,” he added.

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