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Gramona – Six generations of sparkling wine in Penedes

After an inspiring staff training session with Ana Lopez and sixth-generation Gramona, Leo Gramona, we would like to share briefly the fascinating story of Spain’s most prestigious sparkling wine producer.

Drive 45 mins from Barcelona, up into the hills of the Alt Penedés region, and there you will find Gramona. The climate is Mediterranean, with protection from the Montserrat Mountains in the north providing some solace from harsh winters.

At the end of the 19th century, as phylloxera was ravaging the vineyards of France and the rest of Europe, Pau Batlle and his family in Catalonia set about selling wine to French Champagne producers. Next generation, Pau’s daughter, Pilar, married Bartolomé Gramona, who was too a member of a great wine family in Catalonia. They began producing sparkling wine together under the Gramona brand name in the early 20th century.

Today, Gramona are known for their long lees ageing, creating wines with fine, integrated bubbles and a distinct autolytic character. This came about as Pilar and Bartolomé locked away their precious wines to protect them from looting during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). When they tasted these wines post-war, they enjoyed this style and continued the process of long lees ageing. Their signature wine today – Imperial – is aged on the lees for up to 60 months before being brought to market.

Corpinnat and Gramona are inextricably linked, it is difficult to talk about one and not the other. Xavier Gramona (fifth-generation) is in fact a founding member of Corpinnat. Translated from Catalan, Corpinnat means born (nat) in the heart (cor) of Penedes (pin).

Corpinnat wines are made under strict regulations. They are terroir driven, focusing solely on the Penedes region and on organic agriculture. Longer lees ageing, hand-picked grapes and favouring the use of indigenous grapes such as Xarel-lo are just some of the distinguishing criteria of a Corpinnat wine when compared with Cava DOC. Gramona are also one of the few sparkling wine producers in Spain who are biodynamic (first certified in 2014) and who have put sustainability at the centre of what they do.

As well as spectacular Corpinnat sparkling wines, Gramona also make still wines. Mart Rosé is a biodynamic rosé made from pink skinned Xarel-lo (Xarel-lo Vermell). Font Jui is a barrel fermented Xarel-lo which gives a distinct nod to Burgundy. The recent acquisition of vineyards high up in the Pyrenees has led to experiments in higher altitude viticulture, a possible response to the climate crisis. The quantities of wines being produced in these high-altitude vineyards are small and only available to drink in the region at the moment.

If you would like to find out more about the sparkling and still wines of Gramona, please get in touch.