My readers know that I am a certified Champagne freak. American sparklers, Prosecco, Cava --these don't usually cut it for me. I like great Champagne from France.
But I love this Cava! I first tasted Gramona cavas at the Food & Wine Top 100 tasting a couple years ago and I had no idea there were Cavas that were out there with this level of quality and personality. The 2006 Gramona Imperial Gran Reserva is a blend of Xarel·lo: 50%, Macabeo: 40% and a touch of Chardonnay: 10% and you can find it in the US for around $30. It was 20 euros in Barcelona and I pounced on it! It has a complex nose with earthy, biscuit and stone fruit aromas. Very fine bubbles and at a price you can feel free to open a second bottle. Highly recommended.
I found it while I was in Barcelona for work last week and being the foodie, was the one in the group that usually found the good food and drink. The second night in Barcelona, I found a great place, Agut in el Gotic. It's in a historical building, close to the waterfront and has well-prepared, traditional Catalan cuisine with wonderfully fresh ingredients and an excellent wine list. For English speakers, they have an English menu and the owners both speak fine English.
These dishes I recommend highly:
Smoked Cod Carpaccio with tomato, delicate fried frog's legs, potatoes with ceps and sausage (layered like a lasagne with a boudin-like sausage, potatoes and porcini mushrooms. Yum!) monkfish stew with potatoes and langoustines, arroz sepia (rice with cuttlefish and ceps).
For reds on the list, I liked the 2007 Alcor, which is a very modern local Catalan wine with a generous dose of Cabernet, but I liked the Briego Crianza Ribera del Duero 2008 much more. Both are under 30 euros and are delicious.