Tom is arguably the world's most respected authority on Alsace and Champagne. A multi award-winning author, he writes a column exclusively for us, but much more too.







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 tables 2002



The Performance Tables

Spain

There are Cava fans out there who think that I hate Cava unless it has been crafted in the style of a Champagne, but I'm a Cava-sceptic, not a Cava-hater and I am perfectly willing to acknowledge quality in a Cava produced from Parellada, Macabéo and Xarel.lo grapes. The fact that most of the very best Cavas have been produced from Champagne grapes, whether pure or blended, can easily be explained. These varieties have established their credential as the best for sparkling wine throughout the world, whereas Cava's so-called traditional grapes have not. I taste hundreds of Cava every year and inevitably recommend more traditional-based products than Chardonnay-based. If I didn't I would suspect myself of being biased because that's the way the dice is loaded. Now, however, traditional-based Cava has reached a milestone (as far as this guide is concerned) because it is the first time that I have found such a Cava to be equal in quality to a very good Champagne. I have awarded 85-87 points to Cavas in previous editions, but they were all pumped-up with Chardonnay to one degree or another, but the Torre Galimany 1998 is made exclusively from the Holy Trinity of Parellada, Macabéo and Xarel.lo, with the emphasis on the last variety. Furthermore, all previous high-scorers - Raimat Gran Brut (87 points in the first edition), Jaume Codorníu (85 points in the 2000 edition) and once again the Raimat Gran Brut (85 points in the 2001 edition) - were from the Codorníu stable, whereas the Torre Galimany 1998 is the first Freixenet group Cava to break the quality barrier.

Cava Brut Nature

Brut Nature is restricted to a maximum of three grams per litre of residual sugar. I have never recommended so many Brut Nature in any category of sparkling wine, including Champagne.

85 Torre Galimany 1998 Cava Brut Nature
80 Cristina Colomer NV Cava Brut Nature
80 Eudald Massana Noya NV Cava Brut Nature Mil.lenni
80 Gramona, III Lustros 1996 Cava Brut Nature
80 Gramona, III Lustros 1995 Cava Brut Nature
80 Gran Claustro 1998 Cava Brut Nature
80 Maria Casanovas NV Cava Brut Nature Gran Reserva
78 Signat 1999 Cava Brut Nature
78 Raventós i Blanc 1998 Cava Brut Nature Gran Reserva
77 Alsina Sardà Sello 1996 Cava Brut Nature Gran Reserva
77 Titiana de Parxet NV Cava Brut Nature
76 Duc de Foix NV Cava Brut Nature
76 Mont-Ferrant Blanes Nature 1997 Cava Extra Brut
76 Juvé & Camps, Reserva de la Familia 1997 Cava Brut Nature
74 Castellblanch Brut Zero NV Cava Brut Reserva
74 Bohigas NV Cava Brut Nature
74 Duc de Foix NV Cava Brut Nature Rosado
73 Marques de Gelida NV Cava Brut Nature
72 Joan Raventós Rosell NV Cava Brut Nature
70 Sumarroca 1997 Cava Brut Nature Gran Reserva

Cava Extra-Brut

Extra-Brut may have up to six grams per litre of residual sugar.

80 Torreblanca 1999 Cava Extra Brut Reserva
76 Masblanc NV Cava Extra Brut

Cava Brut

Interestingly the four highest scoring wines are all non-vintage, as were the three highest-scoring Cavas from previous edition (see the main Cava introduction above).

80 Torreblanca NV Cava Brut
80 Raimat Chardonnay NV Cava Brut
80 Jaume de Codorníu NV Cava Brut
79 Vallformosa NV Cava Brut
79 Gramona, Imperial 1997 Cava Brut Gran Reserva
79 Gramona, Imperial 1998 Cava Brut Gran Reserva
78 Gala de Vallformosa 1998 Cava Brut
78 Codorníu Cuvée Raventós NV Cava Brut
77 Freixenet Cuvée D.S. 1996 Cava Brut
77 Naveran 1998 Cava Brut Reserva
77 Sumarroca 1998 Cava Brut Reserva
76 Castellblanch Gran Castell NV Cava Brut Gran Reserva
76 Marques de Gelida NV Cava Brut Reserva
76 Agustí Torelló Mata 1998 Cava Brut Reserva
75 Torre Oria NV Cava Brut Reserva
75 Eudald Massana Noya NV Cava Brut Nature Reserva
75 Ferret NV Cava Brut Reserva
75 Paul Cheneau NV Cava Brut
75 Cuvée 21 de Parxet NV Cava Brut
74 Castell de Vilarnau 1997 Cava Brut Gran Reserva
72 Cristalino NV Cava Brut
72 Chandon NV Cava Brut
70 Castillo de Perelada NV Cava Brut Reserva
70 Castell de Vilarnau NV Cava Brut