With three and half days in Barcelona and another two in Sitges, we filled our vacation with all of the good stuff: exploring, relaxing, eating, and drinking. What else could you ask for? But it was our half day trip to the Freixenet vineyards in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia that really surprised us by being one of the most exciting moments of the trip!
In all honesty, Freixenet Cava has a sorta ridiculous place in our memories. All through college we made a point to drink bottles of the stuff at our parties because of the shelf popping (seemingly ridiculous) black bottle and the fact that it seemed like a classy upgrade from Andre. So when Em booked the tour we didn’t have any real expectations. In fact, even on the train ride out, we were laughing about how little we knew about what was about to go down.
With some Santa Caterina Market goodies in tow, we stepped off of the train to a view of the eye popping Freixenet entrance. The walkway lined with cork trucks and bottle motorcycles, with tons of potted planters packed with flowers, it somehow all resonated with that now seemingly perfect black bottle!
The tour was lavish and wonderful to say the least. Walking through the four levels of caves in the original building, the detail of the cava producing process and the sheer size of the Freixenet production was really remarkable. Little did we know the volume of Cava that Freixenet was producing annually; with close to 200 million bottles all produced at this family run producer, the tour was not only fun but it was extremely interesting.
For example, when Carlos, our amazing tour guide (who also happened to invite us to his towns celebration because he would be playing drums that night), explained to us the evolution of the yeast removing process. Back in the day, he told us, after almost a month of slight shifting to push the yeast to the head of the bottle, the sediment was removed by hand, with a quick motion releasing the cork and using the thumb as a stopper. Not so efficient and maybe a little messy huh? So when some smart dude invented a process to freeze only the small volume of liquid surrounding the yeast and to expel that “ice” by pressure, things got a whole lot easier. Fascinating!
I probably can’t do the whole tour justice without gushing for way too long. It was unlike any other vineyard visit we have made. Even the most educational tour in Sonoma didn’t live up to this over the top exhibition. We finished with a few amazing glasses of Cava, including a glass from one of their rarest bottles. Still hand made and available for limited sale in Spain; I absolutely loved it. Even more delicious was a sparkling rose that Em adored. With two bottles of the latter in hand, we made our way back to the train station, smiling wide, feeling as though we had just left the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. That is if you could get drunk at Willy Wonka’s!