Cheryl Trenary experiences Can Bas Winery, a family-owned jewel outside of Barcelona
When my daughter, a professional ballerina, had the opportunity to perform in Barcelona, jumping on a plane to join her was a no-brainer. Once we arrived in the bustling city, I immediately chose to experience everything I possibly could in 8 days, the highlight of which was the jeep tour of Can Bas winery, a historical jewel just outside of the city.
Boarding our tour bus on a cool Tuesday morning, we traveled an hour through the lush hills outside of the city. Pulling up the drive, I was immediately struck by the beauty of the manor house and grounds. The golden, stucco sided house rose two stories with arched windows and stately trees perfectly manicured sweeping the sides. I stepped into the morning air a took a deep breath; cool, clean air infused with earthy scents filled my nose.
The Can Bas Winery is acres of beauty steeped with generations of history. Owned by Pere Ventura, a family-owned group of wineries, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to see, smell and taste both the wines and the cavas produced by this warm, welcoming family.
I walked through the door and was greeted with a low, glass-fronted fireplace, flames flickering behind the glass. This took the chill out of the November morning air and provided the ambiance of simple beauty. Our tour guide joined us and greeted the group with a smile and the warmth I soon learned to expect from the Catalan people who live in this Panedes region of Spain.
We started the tour descending down into the caves. As we walked down the steps, the air grew cool. Not for the faint-hearted, the caves contain miles of cement floors and cobblestone archways, each designated by a street sign. I took in the dim lights; bottles upon bottles of Cava extended away from me like a wall.
Underground warrens are bricked with street signs, lest an unsuspecting visitor gets lost. In fact, the cava producers themselves rely on the "street signs" to determine where each vintage is located. Tags around the necks of each bottle designate the date and time that vintage was produced.
We continued through the tunnels, the friendly, knowledgeable tour guide explaining the cava making process: pressing the grapes, bottling, allowing the sediment to settle to the bottom of the bottle, and the unique process whereby the staff freeze the necks of the bottles, uncork them and allow the sediment to be squeezed out the top of the bottle, before the amount of cava lost is then replaced and the final cork inserted for sales to the public.
We ascended back into the tasting room to experience the Cavas. Crystal decanters sparkled in the sunlight streaming through the tall windows. November is a wonderful time to take this tour; Pere Ventura had just released their Holiday Vintage, a special Cava of which only 10,000 bottles were produced. Bubbles tickled my nose as I sipped and munched on a plate of cheese and dried ham.
Exiting the tasting room, we jumped into jeeps for a four-wheeled drive through the vineyards. Sitting on the benches of the open vehicles, we were whisked away as the driver explained the generations of history that run deep in the land. For 2000 years, grapes have been grown here, and the natural growing process is experienced in every bottle of wine produced.
As the cross of an ancient church rose up in the distance, the driver stopped to allow time to explore the small, stone building. Built in 900 A.D., the church was a place of worship for the generations of workers who worked these vineyards, and every bottle of Can Bas wine has the steeple cross embossed on it.
Rounding the last bend in the dirt road, the smell of the earth was pungent and warm. Here, the vines are 99 years old, the "grandmothers" of the vineyard. Although they produce the smallest number of grapes, they are the sweetest and richest of all.
We exited the jeeps at the Can Bas tasting room, a wing of the ancient manor house. Aromatic cheeses, and ham drizzled with honey are presented as the dry, sweet and earthy wines swirled in our mouths. For the Pere Ventura family, wine and cava are not just a vocation, but an attitude of respect and love for the land which produces these unique offerings year after year.
- Story and photos by Cheryl Lynn Trenary
You can also check out the Can Bas Winery website HERE.
Can Bas Winery can be reached internationally at firstname.lastname@example.org, or +34 93 899 41 73.