A wine tour was not originally on the Barcelona agenda but the forecast called for rain and our dreams of a day basking in the Spanish sun was quickly slipping away…
The Penedes region of Catalonia is home to the majority of all wine originating from Spain and about 75% of the country’s Cava production. The region has 11 appellations with a history of wine dating back over 2,000 years.
Lucky for us, a 40 minute car ride out of the city was all it took to escape the dreary and overcast weather…nothing but sunshine in wine region.
Our first stop was Bodega Jean Leon. Jean Leon, whose real name is Ceferino Carrión made his fortune in Beverly Hills after being a taxi driver in New York City. He began as a waiter in a Beverly Hills restaurant and through his wit and charm eventually partnered with some of Hollywood’s elite to open his very own restaurant, La Scala. La Scala was an immediate success and served many of the celebrities of the ‘Golden Age’ including Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Paul Newman. But Jean Leon’s viticulture claim to fame was not his success as a restaurant owner but rather he was the first to grow and produce Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon in Spain.
Our next stop was Miguel Torres Wineries. The Torres family wine history is three centuries deep and spans several wine regions in Chile and France.
The Torres winery is highly dedicated to the preservation of the land it farms. It is bio-dynamic and currently about 80% self-sustainable through the use of solar panels and basins for rain water collection.
Naturally, a wine and Spanish cheese pairing was in order. I particularly liked the Muscadet that showcased a floral bouquet and pronounced melon flavors – great summer sipping wine.
Off to Freixenet – the largest producer of Cava. The grape varietals used to produce Cava include Macabeu, Xarel-lo and Parellada.
If you love Champagne or sparkling wine, give Cava a try. Perfect as an aperitif or as a pairing with meals, it can be brut, dry, semidry or sweet – depending on the sugar levels in the topping off liqueur.
I personally love sparkling wines with creamy cheeses…but some pane con tomate and chorizo will do the trick in a pinch.