Finally the day had come that I had been waiting for during the whole summer. It was Saturday 13th September and our trip to Catalonia was starting. A group consisting of 19 persons from the the food and wine association Sibbo Vin och Mat were travelling from Helsinki to Barcelona. A few had already travelled earlier, but the main group travelled from Helsinkin with the morning flight starting at 6.15 AM.
The trip started with typical Finnair food, but as we were starting our winetrip we decided to have a small bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Grande Reserve Champagne.
It is not everyday you start with champagne early in the morning, but as this was a special occasion we decided to start the trip in the best way as possible. The Champagne was a perfect start and it wa easy to forget to Finnair food. After 3.5 h flight we finally landed in Barcelona about 0.5 h earlier than planned.
At the airport we met our guide Felix. Most of the participants he already knew, but we had never met him as this was our first trip together with Sibbo Vin och Mat. The other people that had arrived eralier also came to the airport and after we all were together we moved to the bus that was going to be our ”home” for the whole week. We left the airport with direction to Falset were we were going to have the first ”light” lunch. We were going to eat lunch in Hostalsport in Falset. In the garden we started the lunch with Cava. This was Freixenet Brut Nature 2011. It was very dry as could be expected, but it tasted very good after travelling a few hours and it was a very good start promising good for the coming week.
After enjoying the Cava in the garden and when the time was 1 PM the lunch was ready for us. We tried to start the lunch a little bit eralier, but soon it was quite obvious that the Catalans do not eat lunch eralier than 1 PM. This was as mentioned above supposed to be a light lunch, but as I had already heard some rumours the light lunches with Felix are not always so light and this was no exception. This was a very long lunch that lasted about 2.5 hours and we had the possibility to drink some good wines as well and as no Grappa was available we tried the local one that was called Orujo. This was not really like Grappa, but after the lunch it made anyway good to the stomach.
After the long lunch we left the restaurant and headed to Gratallops where we were going to stay for 3 nights. Our hotel was located in the highest part of the village and the surroundings were really beautiful.
The first wine producer that we were going to visit was Clos de l’Obac. This is owned by Carles Pastrana who is one of the pioneers in Priorat. The winery was founded in the end of the 1970s and the first wine on the market was issued in 1989. Carles Pastrana was one of the first in the region together with Alvario Palacios, Rene Barbier and Josep Lluis Perez.
Carles gave a very nice presentation of the winery and we walked through the winery and we got also the possibility to visit the ”secret” room that they are not normally showing to wine tourists. After the cellar tour we got the opportunity to taste some of their very good wines.
The wines that we tasted were the following:
Clos de l’Obac 2006
Clos de l’Obac 2003
The Clos de l’Obac and Miserere wines are made from Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Tempranillo and Carignan varieties, while White Grenache, Macabeo, Xarello and Muscat of Alexandria are used to make Kyrie white wine.
The wines were very good although it was clear that especially the Clos de l’Obac would be even better after some years in the celler. This was a nice tasting and it was very interesting to see how passionately Carles was explaining details about the wines and the winery. After the tasting we headed to the restaurant Cellers de Gratallops where we were going to have dinner. The restaurant is owned by Carles Pastrana and we were also going to taste some other of their wines during the dinner.
The dinner consiested of several courses. The starter was Serrano ham together with melon. Together with this we were drinking white and red Usatges that are the wines from Clos de l’Obac that they do not normally sell anyrmore. The wines were quite easy to drink and they worked very well together with the food.
The dessert was a perfect end of the long meal and everybody was quite satisfied after leaving the restaurant.
After the dinner it was finally time to end the day and based on the first day the impression was that we were going to have a very good trip together.