Forget sangria, in Barcelona it’s all about the life-enhancing, sparkling beauty of cava.
The Penedès wine region is located less than an hour outside of Barcelona and produces 95% of Spain’s cava. It’s the world’s largest cava producer and, as you may imagine, home to some of the most magical vineyards on the face of the earth. This sophisticated sparkling wine may not come with the price-tag of France’s Champagne, but rest assured, mon amis, it is made in exactly the same way and tastes equally as wonderful.
A friend of mine, Inma Lopez, and her family own and run Cava Berdié, a small and breathtakingly romantic cava winery in the heart of the Penedès region. I asked her a few questions to find out more about their sparkling goodness and the sacred land on which they make it.
Ben: How would you describe what Cava Berdié represents as a cava brand – what values do you live by?
Inma López: The Cava Berdié Project was begun by the three Jovani siblings: Montsa, Robert and Sergi. Their passion for the world of wine came from their father, Robert Jovani Mor, who submerged himself in this captivating and passionate world. Each one of them comes from different professional backgrounds and they decided to unite to share their efforts and knowledge, to realise the dream begun by their father and made reality at Cava Berdié, the family’s winery in the Penedès region.
Our values represent passion, love, unity and family.
Ben: What’s it like to be a modern-day cava producer in the Penedès region?
Inma: Cava Berdié is situated in an incomparable setting, above a sea of vines in the Penedès. We have had the great fortune that life has placed this winery and this land in our path. It provides the fruit to create our Cava Berdié and it is on this land that our home vines grow and ripen – all traditional grapes of the Penedès region – until they reach the optimum point of ripeness.
It is a great honor for us to work surrounded by these wonderful views and we feel privileged to work doing what we love and making our dream come true. And although it is an idyllic and romantic place, it is important to emphasise the hard work that all the members of the family put into this project and the sacrifices that we are making for the company to make the dream a reality.
Ben: What in your opinion makes a truly excellent cava, and how do you pursue it when producing Cava Berdié?
Inma: There are many factors that are important to keep in mind in order to make high quality exclusive products, starting with the vines. They should be treated with care and affection by professional experts. During the elaboration process, it’s important to respect the traditional method sand the strict regulations required by Spanish law. And ultimately, we work really hard to make sure the company’s philosophy is reflected in the final product.
Ben: How was your harvest this year?
Inma: In general, the harvest in 2014 was around 20% below average, but this depends on the area. We had a good harvest this year and the health of the grapes is acceptable. We are happy with the result.
The quality has been positive but we experienced an irregular and slow ripening time due to the climatic conditions of spring and summer: lack of sun in the last few days, little rain at the beginning and excessive rain at the end of the process.
Each time we smell or savour a glass of Cava Berdié, we find the aromas of the landscape, the aromatic herbs of our forest, the influence of the Mediterranean sea, and the rays of sunlight that have caressed each one of our grapes. We also find the love and effort of a family that, day after day, makes of their vocation an art and a different way of seeing the world.
Ben: Can you tell us a bit about the places where we can find your cava in Barcelona?
Inma: Yes, here are a few excellent places to start.
Specialist wine stores in Barcelona that stock Cava Berdié:
- Verema I Collita (Pl. Joanic)
- Art de Vins (C/ Villarroel, 18)
- Casa Bardella (C/Entença, 64 )
- El Magatzem Escolà (Carrer Comercial, 13 – Born)
- Wine Palace (Avinguda de Sarrià, 28)
Bars and restaurants in Barcelona that stock Cava Berdié:
- Ocaña in Plaça Reial
- 17 Graus in the Born
- Tapeo in Carrer Montcada
- Fábrica Moritz in Barri Sant Antoni and Mercat del Born
Ben: And do you recommend any good places to drink cava in Barcelona?
Inma: There is an endless list of good places to drink in the city but just to mention some I would recommend Bar Ocaña in Plaça Reial since it’s one of the trendiest bars in Barcelona and a place with a lot of creativity and personality. The vermut and tapas in Bar Calders is a must with their outdoor seating and Bar Quimet & Quimet in Poble Sec is a very authentic tavern run by a family with a lot of history.
Ben: Do you recommend any other independent cava producers from your region?
Inma: There are many good independent cava producers or family-run wineries like us in the Penedès region, but probably the one that share the same philosophy would be Jané Ventura.
Ben: Do you offer tours of your vineyard?
Inma: We do offer the Sensory Experience. Our suggested itinerary gives the client an enjoyable sensory experience via the tasting of 3 different cavas.
Upon arrival, after having gone around the winery, you will see a striking sea of vines at your feet. This is where Montsa, one of the siblings and sommelier of the family, will welcome you and where you’ll get to know her. She will explain who the three Jovani siblings are and how they combine the art of traditional viticulture with modern enology to create cavas of full new sensations. A cava that gives a more modern vision of the gastronomic jewel of our region, the Penedès.
Montsa also shows you all the nooks and crannies of the winery and explain the process of producing cava. At Cava Berdié we want to make every moment of the visit special. That is why, at different moments of the tour, you will be presented with a glass of cava accompanied by a taste experiment – a small introduction to the art of wine and food matching.
– Sensory experience: food pairing and cava tasting
– Personal attention by a member of the family and wine connoisseur
– Amazing views of the Penedés landscape from out terrace lounge area
Ben: I also heard that you are working on a cava tour in Barcelona. Can you tell us anything more about that?
Inma: Yes, we are working on designing a Wine & Cava tour in Barcelona along with our sister company Mandala Tours Barcelona, led by experts in wine and gastronomy. Since all the wineries are located outside of the city and maybe not accessible to everyone, we thought that it would be a great idea to share our passion and knowledge with those who love learning more about our products and how to ‘marry’ food with certain wines or cavas of Cava Berdié and Origami Wines.
We will visit some of the best bars and restaurants combining a walking and cultural tour with a few stops to enjoy food and cava or wine tasting in the Born and Gothic quarter. We hopefully start these tours the next season in 2015.
Ben: Thanks again for your time. I for one am looking forward to trying this year’s vintage and will be checking out some of your recommendations very soon.
Inma: Thank you very much for your interest and it’s been a pleasure to open the doors of our home to you.
Find out more on the official Cava Berdié website