Antoni Gaudi's Casa Batlló on Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona
A Cava Cellar
Antonio Gaudi architecture in Barcelona
Barcelona, Penedes & Priorat Wine Tour
10 - 14 September 2012
Visit Priorat and Penedès, the famous wine regions of Catalonia, on this Spanish wine tour around harvest time, when there will be much activity and news from the wineries. Stay in 4* hotels in the magnificent city of Barcelona and in the coastal town of Altafulla. Enjoy private tastings at top cava producers, with Spanish wine pairing at lunches and dinners. Arblaster & Clarke are delighted to offer these exciting regions “off the beaten path” for our Spain wine tours.
Our wine tour starts just outside Barcelona in the main vineyards of the Spanish sparkling wine, Cava. In Penedès this is made from Chardonnay and the local grape varieties of Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo. Despite the dominance of white grapes for Cava, Penedès also produces high quality still wines, both red and white, including from Tempranillo (locally known as Ull de Llebre). Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay too have been adopted and are often blended with local varieties. We have special visits to Torres in Vilafranca del Penedès and the traditional artisanal Rovellats estate.
We will be based in a central 4* in Barcelona for the first two days. On our return from the vineyards the city’s sites will be on the doorstep. After this, we move to Altafulla near Tarragona for two nights in a small, stylish 4* hotel.
The reason that we are in Altafulla is for Priorat, just north of Tarragona, one of Spain’s most traditional yet most vibrant regions, whose red wines regularly vie for some of the top prices reached for red Spanish exported wines. The terrain varies from craggy escarpments to lonely mountain valleys and the main grape variety is the Garnacha, although experimental plantings make it a very exciting time to be visiting the region.
We journey into the majestic Monsant Mountains. Sacred Mountains indeed; they still have the feeling of remoteness that must have attracted the early monastic orders who first planted vines and made the monumental wines that gave Priorat its reputation. Here we enjoy lunch at Costers del Siurana as well as other tasting visits.
During each visit there will be a tutored technical tasting and our lunches will be either at the estate, or at a favourite restaurant of our hosts. Our delightful 4* hotel in Altafulla is unique and stylish small hotel is in a building dating from 1746. The decor is modern and quirky. There will be a dinner included at our hotel’s renowned restaurant in Altafulla on our last evening together.
A delightful wine tour to one of Spain’s most diverse wine regions at an exciting time of year. Dependent on the conditions of the vintage in 2012, we may be there whilst the grapes are being in brought in. However, the condition of the grapes at harvest time is always interesting to see, even if they are still on the vine!
Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city and principal port, is the capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia. Fiercely nationalistic, most consider themselves as Catalans rather than Spaniards. Under the rule of Franco, the Catalan language was forbidden, until his death in 1975, but has since been re established, and the government has ruled that all broadcasting was to be at least half in Catalan. Famous for its artists and architects, amongst them, Picasso, Antonio Gaudi and Joan Miró, there is much to visit in this fascinating city. There is a wealth of architecturally interesting buildings from the Art Nouveau (Modernisme) explosion which occured in the 1900’s to the old town which has some wonderful medieval buildings. The Barri Gòtic (“Gothic Quarter” in Catalan) is the centre of the old city of Barcelona and some buildings date from the Roman settlement of Barcelona with a great number of these buildings also being UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The work of architect Antoni Gaudí can be seen throughout the city. One can visit the impressive Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s unfinished cathedral, the Miró Foundation’s gallery, which is particularly fascinating and of course – don’t forget the Picasso gallery. The most famous boulevard of Barcelona, Las Ramblas, is lined with cafes in which you can relax and people watch. It is also home to La Boqueria market with stalls of gleaming fresh produce.
We have chosen weekdays for the main tour, so that you may choose to spend the weekend before or after the tour staying in Barcelona, making this a particularly good value break. We are pleased to be able to offer you a very special price of just £55 per person per night in twin (£110 in double for sole occupancy) – staying in our chosen 4* hotel pre or post tour (providing that you confirm this to us at the time of booking & pay for the additional nights in full at the same time).