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ibrant and cosmopolitan,
Barcelona is a bright jewel on
Spain's north-east coast. Many
Brits fall in love with this city,
seduced by its colourful art
and architecture, its unique
Catalonian culture and of course the local
food and wine. In fact, the region's most
famous wine embodies the spirit of Barcelona
perfectly: sparkling and delicious Cava.
There's no better example of this than
Vilarnau, a cutting-edge, premium producer
located near Barcelona in Penedès, the
traditional heartland of Cava. Visitors can stroll
among the vineyards planted with rare native
grapes such as Subirat Parent and Trepat,
alongside the more familiar Cava varieties:
Macabeo, Xarel·lo, Parellada and Chardonnay.
Against the stunning backdrop of the
Montserrat mountain peaks, the vineyard
team also pioneered plantings of Pinot Noir,
practicing precision viticulture to ensure that
each vine reaches its full potential.
There's no less attention to detail in the
winery, where winemakers Damià Deàs and
Eva Plazas Torné follow the traditional process
of secondary fermentation in-bottle - the
same way that Champagne is made. The
wines are then aged in-bottle, sometimes
for more than three years, to develop a
distinctively rich character with toasty and
biscuity notes. The range includes a classic
Brut Reserva, Rosé and Gran Reserva (see
box opposite for more details).
The winery itself is a work of art, a striking
modernist building designed by Catalan
architect Antonio Miró. Like the whole
winemaking operation at Vilarnau, the winery
has been designed to be as eco-friendly as
possible, with such clever ideas as recycling
the rainwater collected on its roof.
Miró's design also links the winery's stateof-the-art
technology with the heritage of
the Vilarnau family, which traces its roots in
the Penedès region back to the 12th century.
Vilarnau's close links with Barcelona are also
evident in the design of its bottle sleeves,
which feature the eye-catching 'trencadís'
mosaic pattern you can spot all over the city,
most notably in Parc Güell, famously designed
by Antoni Gaudí.
Feast for the senses
But Vilarnau Cava isn't just about good looks;
taste is equally important. At no time of year
is this more evident than in spring, when
Catalonia's crop of calçots come into season.
These sweet, mild, onions (pronounced
'kalsot') look like a cross between a leek and
an overgrown spring onion. Locals grill them
on the barbecue, then peel o the blackened
outer layers, dip the delicious hearts into
romesco sauce and dangle them into their
mouths. Naturally, this nger-licking treat is a
perfect match for the local Cava.
Vilarnau celebrates calçot season with
an annual 'calçotada' at the winery, where
diners tuck into handfuls of onions washed
down with Cava straight from the porrón - a
a true taste
Join Vilarnau Cava for the calçotada - a celebration of the spirit of Catalonia OF SPAIN