With a reputation as one of the most exciting wine regions in Spain, and as wine lovers, it seemed fitting that the nearby town of Vilafranca del Penedès would be our next stop during our time in Catalonia. From Tarragona, we travelled inland by train to the capital of the Alt Penedès. Vilafranca has a rich history dating back to the 12th century, reflected in the historic centre’s architecture from medieval to modernistic. The Basílica de Santa Maria (s.XIII), built in the Gothic style dominates the Plaça de Jaume.
Directly across from the church is the Vinseum, a must-see for any serious wine enthusiast. The modern wine culture museum of Catalonia is housed in a twentieth-century building once occupied by the Crown of Aragon. Three floors of exhibits about the world of wine with a tasting after the visit.
The next day, with a rental bike from the local tourism office we set out cycling through the countryside. The landscape was mostly flat, with winding roads and paths through vineyards, farmhouses, wineries, and major wine producers such as Torres.
We particularly liked the unique building design at the Heretat Mas Tinell winery and hotel. Passing this tiny chapel, Gordon suggested, “looks like a castle up there, let’s check it out?” We cycled toward the castle, then hiked up to the abandoned Castellví de la Marca. From the hilltop ruin, we had a beautiful panorama of the Penedès region. Making our way back, we passed through the rural village of La Múnia, and hesitantly entered a place resembling a cafe-restaurant of sorts. We were instantly welcomed. The venue was comparable to a community centre, and the proprietors were setting up for the evening’s New Year’s Eve festivities. The kitchen was closed, but they offered us an assortment of cheese and Iberian platter.
Once the party preparations were completed, the crew sat down for a meal of their own. They offered us the most delicious endive and anchovy salad with a drizzle of homemade Romesco sauce. The chef even shared the family recipe.
The Penedès region is famous for its sparkling Cava; a wine for toasting and celebrations, and being that it was December 31st, we deemed our visit well-timed for tasting the local bubbly. Even the city’s holiday lights reflect the wine culture of the locality. Cava moments are always magical. Cheers to 2017!
8 thoughts on “Penedès: Catalonia’s Premier Wine and Cava Region”
Came across your blog and beautiful photos and description of this spot in Spain. Have never been to it specifically all though we have spent a lot of time in Spain. Thanks for showing me a new destination for next time.
Thank you! Barcelona was supposed to be a stopover after South America, and the relaxed lifestyle, tasty tapas, and Spanish wine kept us visiting the region for almost three weeks! We’re in Essaouira now, and like you did your second time around, we’ve decided to stay here longer than originally planned. – Ginette
Some really beautiful photos this time! I was particularly enamored with the photo of the old vineyard. Great job! –Curt
Thanks Curt! Gordon has wanted to cycle through vineyards ever since we missed out on a similar opportunity while in France. It was lovely!! – Ginette
What a lovely enticing area. Maybe we’ll get there next summer.
Alison, during the summer, I suggest trying to catch the Castellers…we didn’t see any but they are very much part of the local traditions. http://www.spanish-fiestas.com/festivals/castellers-de-vilafranca/ …and then I can read up about them on your blog:) – Ginette
OMG Yes – it looks amazing!
Pingback: Beguiling Barcelona | White Postcards