Traveling down the winding roads in the Penedes, it is hard not to spot Vallformosa from a distance. With 397 hectares of vineyards, Vallformosa is the 4th biggest winery in terms of production. But, this winery offers much beyond its impressive structure and large production numbers. My tour guide for the day, Àngels Olivella, greeted me with a huge smile and a glass of grape juice. The juice was beyond refreshing and the taste gave me a wonderful preview to the grapes produced from the vast Vallformosa vineyards.
After we finished our respective glasses of juice, we began the tour by entering an old wine cellar. The cellar has been preserved since its founding date in 1865 by the Domenech family, the owners of Vallformosa. The family has maintained what used to be the primary wine cellar as a historic rememberance of the past and also as a museum to show the public its history. As I walked in, I smelled a rush of the lingering wine fumes from years and years ago. It was a perfect addition to my tour experience to see the old machines and grasp how the vineyard was when it started. Going from one wood and rope grape press to six huge automatic presses is quite a remarkable comparison. I think Àngels put it perfectly by saying, “In order to appreciate the present, you have to appreciate the past.”
After a walk through history, we headed to the newer part of production and I followed the full process of the wine and cava. As someone from the United States, specifically from Georgia, I am pretty unfamiliar with cava to begin with and so this was one of my first introductions to the full cava making process. I was shown where the the sugar and yeast are introduced in order to create more of a reaction and thus, more bubbles. I aso ventured down to the cellar where the cava rests for at least twelve months, but sometimes longer for the vintage varieties. Àngels informed me that the bottles are specifically designed so that they maintain pressure and control. They had a bottle for demonstration that showed the way the yeast collects and demonstrated how the bottle needs to be rotated by machines in order to upset the yeast.
The cellar space begins with a breathtaking room used for events with a dome where speeches take place during the various functions. This spacious room leads to the cava and wine cellars, which I was also able to explore. Next stop for me, and the cava, was the unbottling machines that remove the yeast and then put the cork and metal cap on and send them to the boxing machines, where they become ready for retail.
Afterwards, I was taken to their convention center, housing large rooms for conferences and meetings. We then ended up back where I had originally started the tour with that delicious glass of grape juice. Admittedly, I was ready to move on up to the cava. And, my wish was granted, as I noticed two glasses of cava on a large, tiled table in the tasting room. One was Brut Nature and the other Brut Rosado. I went for the Brut Nature first, a young cava made up of Macabeo, Xarello, and Parellada. The pale yellow liquid had greenish reflections in the light and produced small bubbles as it sat in the glass, tempting me. As I twirled it around to take in the full aromas, I noticed fresh and fruity scents with hints of apple and pear and notes of almond. It was very dry and left a strong aftertaste. They recommend serving this cava as an apertif and with most kinds of food but it can also hold its own and be served alone at any time of the day.
The Brut Rosado first seduced me simply by its light cherry color and persistent bubbles. The elegant aromas of flower and fruit, such as strawberry and raspberry, was even more enticing and the flavor did not dissapoint. Appealing to feminine taste, it has a rounded flavor that felt fresh and lively and gave hints of the fruitiness throughout each sip. This cava is also recommended to be served as an apertif and with light meals, or on its own.
Arranged visits to Vallformosa are offered Monday thru Sunday from 10:00-11:30-13:00 and include a free tasting of two products. You can book your visit and find out more information by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 93 897 89 99.