Cava conspires in Barcelona to change its perception

Until today, Tuesday, the Cava DO held an international conference in Barcelona in which it has placed many hopes.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
27 November 2023 Monday 15:32
9 Reads
Cava conspires in Barcelona to change its perception

Until today, Tuesday, the Cava DO held an international conference in Barcelona in which it has placed many hopes. They intend it to be a turning point and a turning point for the future of the sector. The one baptized as Cava Meeting has brought together in the Casa Rius creative transformation center a hundred prescribers, some of the world's first level, with the aim of opening "a journey to the excellence of cava."

The president of the Regulatory Council, Javier Pagés, highlighted in statements to La Vanguardia that “we have to find how we change the perception of cava.” In this sense, he advocates strengthening the most qualitative segments of the sector to further differentiate them from the cavas of lesser aging and greater volume. He also believes in the importance of the territorial zoning that the DO has provided to increase prestige, and in the progressive professionalization of prescription.

And during the two days of the Cava Meeting, in which many cavas were tasted (more than 250 brands) and 25 wineries were visited, the urgent need to raise the price of both grapes and products was put on the table. elaborated and communicate more and better. Concern about the effects of the climate emergency has also become evident.

The Cava Meeting featured outstanding tastings (4,950 glasses were used) and presentations, which were opened yesterday by the Spanish Master of Wine Pedro Ballesteros. He led a tasting with some different products from the 15 integral producers (those who control the entire production process, from the vineyard to bottling). He was convinced that these cavistas will contribute to raising the price of grapes in Penedès.

The journalist Yolanda Ortiz de Arri moderated a debate about cava in the international media that showed that cava does not yet have the desirable international image. In fact, Jamie Goodie, columnist in The Sunday Express, said that it is very wise to segment the market, and acknowledged that he is “very encouraged” to see how cava is committed to quality. He believes that the essence of the traditional cava production method should not change. Doug Frost, Master Sommelier, Master of Wine and co-founder of Echolands Winery, lamented that “Cava is perceived, honestly, as cheap in the United States.” But he acknowledged that he was surprised by the quality of some cavas that he did not know existed before tasting them at the Cava Meeting.

Also Master of Wine Sarah Jane Evans highlighted that the sparkling wine market is diversifying. And the influencer Rafael Antonín pointed out that there is a lack of more cava culture, and that it is necessary to reach young people. The journalist Amaya Cervera has commented that “many people do not know that cava can be a wonderful quality sparkling wine capable of aging”, and that “a very strong point in our favor is that we have native varieties and a Mediterranean influence that allows us to make you dig dry.”

There have also been technical sessions, a tasting to make visible the diverse origins of the cava or an unrepeatable tasting of the top of the qualitative vertex (the cavas of Paraje Calificado), and those of third aging (including an absolutely surprising rarity from 1975 disgorged in 1978) . The sommelier Josep Roca offered a master lecture on cava pairing on Monday, stating that if the El Celler de Can Roca that he runs with his brothers were a wine, it would be a cava, and he valued the effort made by the producer Antonio Mestres to bring cava closer to gastronomy. He also stated that “there is hope for cava.” And the sommelier Ferran Centelles has also put the emphasis on cava as an ambassador of gastronomy in a round table in which cavas have been paired with tapas.

Of particular interest was a debate on Tuesday that analyzed how to generate value for cava. Meritxell Juvé, CEO of Juvé

The director of Lavinia Spain, Juan Manuel Bellver, has clarified that “it is difficult to sell qualitative cava at a fair price next to low-priced industrial cavas.” For his part, the commercial director of Mestres, Jaume Vial, points out that we must focus the communication message while warning that "we are at a decisive moment for what cava may or may not be in ten years, and we must reinvent ourselves."

The Master of Wine Álvaro Ribalta regrets that on restaurant menus “you can barely see cava,” and has advocated “pulling for excellence even if this means reducing production.” But the vice president and co-CEO of Freixenet, Pedro Ferrer, recalled that cava has great brands and that value must be generated for all quality segments. Ferrer is convinced that “if we are brave and innovative there will be a future for cava.” And Marc Morillas, CEO of the Morillas agency, believes that “more should be believed in the potential of cava,” although he does not stop regretting that it communicates little.

The president of the Cava Regulatory Council has highlighted the old history of the region that is the cradle of cava, with more than 2,300 years of history, and how the arrival of the devastating phylloxera plague changed the vineyards of Penedès at the end of the century XIX, betting since then on the trilogy of white varieties native to the Penedès and the basis of cava: xarel·lo, macabeo and parellada. And he has also highlighted the successful international expansion of cava, starting in the 60s of the last century. He recalled that it is a DO created in 1991 with strict regulation, following the traditional method of second fermentation in the bottle and whose production has become the most exported of Spanish wine. The cavas reach around 150 countries around the world. 70% of the total production (about 250 million bottles) is sold in international markets.

Javier Pagés has assured that the cava region is a region that is committed to economic and social sustainability with 38,000 hectares planted, mainly with unique varieties, and with “a unique culture.” And the growing emergence of organic cavas and Brut Nature (without expedition liquor), the diversity of the products sold by the nearly 350 producers, as well as the 4 territorial zones and 7 subzones and the segmentation by aging times also stands out as richness. .

The Cava Regulatory Council has taken advantage of the celebration of the Cava Meeting to pay an emotional tribute to the career of the president of Juvé