On Friday the 15th of April we are moving to Spain’s Penedes region for another episode in Season 5 of our talk show Cellar Talks. Our guest is Leonard Gramona – Muellas who is part of the young generation of the famous Gramona family, known for their sparkling wines. In the north of Spain he is also running a new and upcoming project with his cousin Roc Gramona, named L’Enclos de Peralba, of which we will also learn more.
The Gramona family winery is one of Spain’s leading producers of sparkling wines and known world-wide for their excellent Cava’s (now Corpinnat). Since the early 20th century, Gramona has had the reputation for producing sparkling wines that have undergone the longest ageing on the market, from 30 months for the youngest, to the Enotecas, aged from 15 to 20 years. Over the history of the family, they have understood that “time” is the only common denominator between the world’s iconic sparkling wines. Time is precisely what allows wines to attain levels of complexity, balance, elegance and finesse that would otherwise be impossible, so long as you have the skill to keep the wine alive and fresh over the years.
The wines made at Gramona are sourced from up to 303 hectares of vineyards that are farmed at least organically as well as the family’s 72 hectares of vines that are farmed biodynamically. Gramona is located in the Alt Penedés region, 30 km south of Barcelona. The climate is typically Mediterranean, with hot, dry summers and mild winters. Their vineyards are protected during the harsher winters as they are shielded to the north by the majestic, rocky mountain of Montserrat.
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.
In 2017 Gramona received Paraje status for their vineyards clustered around Font de Jui, a spring located in the heart of their Domaine. After years of frustration and struggle to improve the reputation of Cava, they withdrew from the DO in 2019 becoming founding members of Corpinnat.
About Leonard Gramona – Muellas
Leo Gramona, is a member of the next generation of this family firm: Involved in the family business since his twenties, he officially joined it after studying engineering and working in corporate consulting.
After broadening his wine focus by studying with the WSET (Wine and Spirit Educational Trust), he’s taken up a role that focuses on the commercial side. This is stepping into his father’s shoes, because his dad, Xavier Gramona is the vice president and is in charge of the business part of the winery. Together with his cousin Roc, who is a similar age, he also runs the L’Enclòs de Peralba project.
Roc is a trained enologist with a clear passion and interest in vineyards. He is a director of the Acadèmia de Poda [the first Spanish school of pruning, teaching at relevant wineries such as Alvaro Palacios, Clos Mogador, Comando G, Mas Martinet and Vega Sicilia], and also works in the Gramona winery as manager R&D.
About L’Enclòs de Peralba
L’Enclòs de Peralba was started in 2017 by Leo and Roc Gramona. The project is named after the stony white calcareous soils of the Sant Sadurní hills in Alt Penedès, where the winery is located. Leo and Roc have sought out plots owned by experienced old farmers, whose knowledge and skill was in danger of dying out. These are growers who share their desire to work in a sustainable way, that is respectful to the environment. Penedès is a large region with a huge variety of terroirs, from the Mediterranean coastal vineyards in the south, to the steep slopes of the valley of Montserrat in the north. Soils range from stony calcareous clay to slate, so their focus is on making single-parcel wines with local grape varieties which express the mesoclimate and terroir of each individual plot, aiming to present the “distinctive flavour of their landscape”. They build on this by working with minimal intervention in their small cellar. They vinify each parcel separately and age it in either barrel or concrete tanks before bottling.
About the Tastings
In this episode we will not be tasting one but two wines. The wines that will be discussed are the Illusteros from Gramona and the El Tòfol by L’Enclos de Peralba.
III Lustros is a blend of the most age-worthy white varieties at Gramona, 70% Xarel.lo and 30% Macabeo found in their estate vineyards between La Plana and Font Jui. 70,000 bottles are released in an average vintage.
El Tòfol is a still wine coming from the like-named vineyard, a 1 ha parcel of Macabeu planted in 1969 owned by Leo & Roc Gramona. They farm this vineyard according to biodynamic principles to achieve an aromatic, well-structured, and nuanced style of Macabeu.
Both wines are imported in the Netherlands by “Wijnimport J. Bart”. More information (in Dutch) on Gramona can be found here. For L’Enclos de Peralba click here.
To taste along with us, you can order the wines online. Click here for Illusteros, and here for El Tòfol.
We are looking forward to talking to Leo and learning from his background, experiences and both wineries. Be sure to tune in on Instagram Live through our Dutch Wine Apprentice account on Friday the 15th of April, 19:30h CET.
Click here for instructions on how to follow a live show on Instagram Live. If you have questions for our guest you are welcome to prepare them and e-mail them to us or send them as a direct message on our Instagram account.
You can find a link to the recording of the show here.