Wednesday, July 11, 2012


My stomach is soo full right now. Not like the "I had a big dinner and need to lay down" kind of full, but rather the "If I even look at food right now, I might pass out" kind of full. I blame the cava. Or possibly the fact that we started drinking it at 11am.

So I did the tour I mentioned yesterday and it was hands down the best use of my money so far. The morning started by finding the office which just happened to be across from the Palau de la Musica.  I also came across Santa Caterina Market which I will be checking out tomorrow. According to a local, it's better than La Boqueria. Anyway, I met up with my "group" which turned out to be one other guy and our guide. The three of us piled into a van and started out for Sant Saudmí d'Anoia to begin the tours. 

The first tour was Freixenet. It's an internationally known company and the production facility was massive. Even the tour portion was strictly business.  They had a video screening room, large boards with timed-lights, and even a little tram.  Sorta kinda like an adult Disney World. This brand you can try anywhere therefore I didn't purchase any.
The products.

All the sizes.
They spend a lot on Marketing. Freixenet scooter!
The second stop, in the same town, was a family run business called Gramona. It's very old and they still do half of their Reserve and Grand Reserve production by hand.
3/5 of the productions staff cleaning the bottles.
The man in the video is one of the two remaining members of the production staff.  Here he is opening a six year old cava bottle to remove the sediments.  They have to do it by hand and he can do about 1,000 in a day. After he opened this bottle, he let us taste it! Our guide said that rarely happens and was a complete contrast between this small, family run company and the one before. It tasted delicious!
After all of these tours, I'm an expert in cava making.  And for those of you who are wondering, cava is really just champagne, but since it is not made in the Champagne region of France it has to have a different name. Cava = cave in Spanish.
Hey, I know her! She knows so much about cava.
The best part.
 At Gramona, they opened bottle after bottle for us.  Since you cannot buy this anywhere outside of a few places near Barcelona, I purchased one for myself of a dessert cava and a mini for my hosts.

After another menú del día of salad, salmon, roasted red peppers, coconut ice cream, and yes, more wine we were on to the last stop, Parés Balta.  This winery is 100% certified organic and again family run. The two sons are the business men and their wives are the winemakers. At this stop we actually went out into the vineyards to see the grapes. You can buy some of these wines in Whole Foods and I high recommend them!

The most homey tasting room, by far.
The goods - cava (x2), red wine, white wine (x2), the best olive oil I've ever tasted.
Afterwards, I went to Xampenyet for tapas and more bubbly drinks. Hence, the food coma. I completely adore this place and that old man.  It was crazy busy, but since I stood at the bar like a good Spanny, I was able to have conversations with the employees. Definitely the best part. 

To conclude this incredibly long post, I'm usually not a fan of pre-planned tours, but for something like a wine tour, it was awesome.  I highly highly recommend touring the wine country in Spain!

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