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Spain as a country and as a culture has a lot to offer, it can be overwhelming on what to do and what to see when traveling to Spain however. Barcelona, of course, should be a priority on anyone’s list. It’s the capital of Catalonia and right on the Mediterranean Sea, a perfect place for a summer getaway.
On this summer getaway though you are going to need to drink something and one thing you should drink in copious amounts is Cava. Would you travel to France and not drink Champagne or visit to Italy and not drink Prosecco? Of course not, it’s a must do while visiting those countries. When you visit Spain and are in the city of Barcelona, you should take a day trip outside the city and head to Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, the capital of Cava.
Ashley and I had been in Barcelona for two weeks when we decided to head out and explore Cava country. We’d been drinking enough of it already and Sant Sadurni d’Anoia was just a thirty-minute train ride away. Ashley and I had lived in Sonoma County for a year so we loved going wine tasting. However, we’re not sure how it works in other countries or even other states for that matter. In California you drive to one after another and just stop in. Only a few places require a prior appointment but that is the minority. We tried look up a little online but we did not find much. We were not really worried so we don’t not research much. Ashley’s best friend Christopher was in town with his friend Rebecca and were going to join us on our Cava adventure.
We unfortunately slept in (shocker, I know) and got there at noon. At the time we did not know that most places close at two. We walked off the train and were greeted by one of the biggest Cava producers estates, Freixenet, which we could find all the way back in California. We decided to bypass the large estate however, and head into town in search for smaller known producers. As we crossed the bridge into town on the corner we found a mom and pop tasting room, Castell Sant Antoni, which was a wonderful little shop. The shop functioned as both a tasting room as well as storage for all their Cava. There was one table for tasting and one man working. He was the youngest brother of the family, who was helping the family out over summer.
He explained how they do tastings at the shop as they do not always get walk ins. Here you buy a couple of bottles sit down and drink, while having the opportunity to learn about the wines, their production and the family who produces them. It was not your standard tasting but more like a wine bar set up in the shop. We decide to try their Brut and their Brut Rose. Both of the cavas were delicious and perfect for a hot summer afternoon which it was being the middle of July.
Our host was friendly and very knowledgeable on his family’s winery which made for a very welcoming atmosphere. The four of us easily sat and drank for a couple of hours talking to the youngest son and while not a “typical” tasting it was a very pleasant time.
After two bottles of Cava we needed lunch; unfortunately it was two in the afternoon and the majority of the town was shut down. We were the only tourists in town anyway and the streets were quiet as we searched to fill our impatient stomachs. We found a lone kebab stand still open and went in for a quick bite.
After lunch we went exploring and tried to find a place that our previous owner said was his favorite, Recaredo. Recaredo is a well established Cava house that was founded in 1924. We arrived right when they were closing down but lucky for us Rebecca spoke Catalan and got to talking to the owner. The owner took pity on our tardiness and allowed us to have a single glass. His reasoning was, “If I make you go, you would miss out on the most beautiful thing in the world”.
They stretched their hours for another 45 minutes for us and made us instantly loyal. They were so welcoming. We however, learned that you need to make an appointment normally to taste here and at a majority of the Cava houses in Sant Sadurni. We had a lovely tasting of their Gran Reserva Brut de Brut, 2006 vintage. It was delightful and was filled with fresh and light citrus notes that played on our palates. After the tasting we bought a bottle of their Terrers to go with us and drink later on the beach.
On our way back to the train station we found a small chocolate shop that was calling our name. We were greeted with friendly faces that told us all about their chocolate. Espai Xocolata Simon Coll was the name of the shop and it was just wonderful. They had all the free tasting you could want and the chocolate was top notch. We bought an assortment of sweets for later and headed back to the train. Even though we had problems with finding places open we still had a delightful and leisurely day.
Ashley’s sister, Hailey, was in town a couple of weeks later and we all decided to go back out to Sant Sadurni d’ Anoia. This time we wanted to be prepared, and get a solid day of tasting in. Proving to ourselves once again however that we could not get up early, we arrived around noon… again. This time we had an appointment at Recaredo for 1:30pm. Our first stop was at a wine shop that has a variety of local Spanish cavas located just up the street from Castell Sant Antoni.
The three us grabbed a couple of bottles and began our lazy afternoon. The store was closing soon as it was a Monday and not very busy. It was fine with us as we wanted to eat lunch when the the cafes were open. We had a quick lunch that included some sausage bocadillo and tapas and after we filled our stomachs we were off to our appointment.
Recaredo offered four different tour and tastings options. We went with the second tasting called the Leaf Visit which is 15 euros per person and includes a personalized guided tour of the cellars and a tasting of their Terres 2008, the Subtil 2007, and Brut de Brut 2006. It took about an hour and a half. Their tastings range from 10 euros per person to 50 euros. You can find all of their options on their website.
Our lovely host tooks us down to the cellars and told us about the family and the process of making their Cava which is all done in the traditional method, meaning that first and secondary fermentation are done in bottle. Our tour guide was friendly and filled to the brim with knowledge as I totally geeked on on the whole cava process. We even had a special treat where the owner came down and showed us how they self disgorged each bottle by hand after riddling is done.
*Riddling is where you store the bottle in a downward angle to let all the lees (or dead yeast cells) and sediment settle in the neck of the bottle while rotating the bottle daily. Disgorging is opening the bottle to let the lees be discharged out while not losing any of the liquid. The bottles are then topped off and corked, leaving them ready for aging and then drinking. Self disgorging is not easy. Take it from my experience. However the old owner did it perfectly without hesitation.*
After the tour we sat down to taste three wonderful cavas. All of them were unique and of high quality which showed off the local varietals like xarello, macabeu, and parelloda. Again our host shared her knowledge with us which only encouraged me to buy more of their cava for later. And that is exactly what we did. We bought three bottles including a bottle of a new project of still wine and seriously, we wish we had some now!
Due to our tardiness after our appointment most places were shut down. So we stopped by Espai Xocolata Simon Coll for more chocolate and then back on the train.
Sant Sadurni d’ Anoia is now a must visit place. I recommend going to the tourist office in town because they will let you know what places are open and help you with acquiring appointments. Most of the appointments can be done online pre-trip if you like being prepared. I would recommend arriving earlier than we did and on Thursday or Friday as they are busier and most places will be open. After 2pm, things began to shut down and only a few places reopen in the evening. Ash and I had a wonderful time but next time will be more prepared when it comes to making appointments and making sure places are open because it is a really lovely and quaint town that has unbelievable Cava at every corner.
How to get to Sant Sadurni d’Anoia: From Placa Cataluyna take the R4 commuter train to the Sant Sadurni d’Anoia train station. When you exit the train station you will immediately see Freixenet. Instead of turning left to reach Freixenet continue down the hill and cross the bridge to reach Sant Sadurni d’Anoia.
Castell Sant Antoni: Passeig del Parc, 1
Recaredo: Tamarit 10, Apartat de correus 15
Espai Xocolata Simon Coll: Carrer de Sant Pere, 37
We hope you enjoyed this post about Cava tasting in Sant Sadurni d’ Anoia. Do you have any suggestions or tips on Cava tasting in Spain? We would love to hear. Thanks for following and reading.
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