Aug 21: A unique blind tasting of three Cavas from Gramona, one of the top Cava producers of Spain, pitted blind against five premium Champagnes, threw up quite a few surprises at an event organized by the Wine Park at Mezzo Mezzo in JW Marriot Mumbai last Wednesday when Rishi Vohra CSW of delWine was invited along with a few select journalists to taste them blind
Cava is sparkling wine from Spain, most of which is produced in the Catalonia region. The most popular grapes used to make Cava are the indigenous Spanish Varietals – Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarello. These wines are produced in the traditional method- like in Champagne. Based in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, near Barcelona and in the ‘center’ of Cava production facilities, Gramona is a fifth-generation family owned winery producing world class Cava since 1850.
Vishal Kadakia of Wine Park conceptualized and hosted the event on August 13, 2014. He chooses his wines with passion, and spares no effort in promoting them in the Indian market once he imports them. He has now set his sights on Cava and believes that these Spanish sparkling wines could find favour with Indian palates given the recent rising popularity of bubblies in the country. This time he chose to test the market first.
A flight of eight world class sparkling wines (including three Gramona Cavas) were poured out without revealing the wines, with just a number attached to each of them. The wines were served in white wine glasses rather than champagne flutes, so it was difficult to guage the bubbles but drinkers were able to judge aromas better. Guests were then asked to provide an overall rating based on four factors – appearance, nose, palate, and finish – and of course, on personal opinion related to taste. A form was provided on which each guest was asked to write his/her rating.
At the end of the tasting, Kadakia revealed the eight sparkling wines along with their MRPs. The wines were:-
- Cava Gramona Gran Reserva 2008. MRP Rs. 3630/-
- Moet Chandon Imperial Brut NV. MRP 7135/-
- Champagne Phillipe Gonet Blanc de Blancs Signature Brut NV. MRP Rs. 7758/-
- Cava Gramona Imperial Gran Reserva 2007. MRP Rs. 4705/-
- Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve. MRP Rs. 8995/-
- Champagne Veuve Clicquot Brut NV. No MRP provided.
- Cava Gramona ILLUSTROS Gran Reserva 2006. MRP Rs. 5988/-
- Champagne Dom Perignon 2004. MRP Rs. 21,117/-
During the tastings, everyone was encouraged to discuss the wine and compare notes. And a majority of the guests favoured wine numbers 1, 4, and 7, with a few rating 8 positively. The others got comparatively low ratings!
The invitees were not as surprised on their high ratings of the three Gramona Gavas as they were on learning of the universally favourited and higher priced wines pitted against them!
On being asked as to how he plans to use these results, Kadakia says, “We haven’t decided yet on how we plan to compute these results. But the feedback gives us confidence that these Gramona Cavas will be accepted in the Indian Market.” So far, Cavas have received a poor response from Indian sparkling wine drinkers. Kadakia says, “We plan to redefine the Cava space.”
Kudos to Kadakia for organizing such a novel event and involving key decision makers in selecting wines in his portfolio! It goes to show that the man takes his portfolio of wines seriously. Given the success of the event, one hopes that there are many more of such events from Vishal and other importers follow suit.
Given the reasonable MRPs and high quality of these three delicious Cavas, it may not be long before people start asking for the Spanish bubbly by name. And Kadakia’s prowess in promotions could have a huge part to play in that! GO CAVA! Go Gramona!
Rishi Vohra, CSW
Rishi Vohra is the Mumbai Correspondent of delWine and is a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) from the Society of Wine Educators - USA. He has done an MBA in Sustainable Business from San Francisco State University and a Masters Diploma in Environmental Law from WWF-India. His debut fiction novel, ‘Once Upon the Tracks of Mumbai,’ is a bestseller and was recently awarded an honorable mention in the General Fiction category at the Hollywood Book Festival, and was the only book from India to be awarded at the festival. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.