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Penedès in pictures

db’s Lucy Shaw was lucky enough to spend three days in Penedès this week quaffing her way around Cava country. The first stop on her itinerary was family-owned boutique estate Torello, run by the affable Toni de la Rosa Torelló, who was excited about showing off his new 3D label.

Next up was an al fresco breakfast at Can Bas, which boasts a 9th century chapel within its grounds. The estate’s owner, Pere Ventura, wanted to pursue a career as a missionary but instead chose the path he saw as his duty: running his family wine estate before setting up his own in 1992.

After breakfast came a tour of the 123-hectare Can Bas estate in a jeep with winemaker Marta Sanvicente, who explained that they pay close attention to Parellada at Pere Ventura, using a larger amount than most in their blends as they feel it adds finesse. They also age their top expression in oak for 30 months.

Mid-tour, Marta graciously agreed to by photographed among the poppies

Estate owner Pere Ventura smiles in the sunshine outside the entrance of Can Bas. He told us he was happy to have achieved his dream of reviving the estate, which also produces still wines, to its former glory.

In the light of the Can Bas cellar, the liquid treasure appeared more like Sauternes than Cava with its gold colour.

db caught up with Freixenet winemaker Gloria Collell over lunch at the estate, where we were lucky enough to try her latest creation – Segura Viudas Reserva Heredad Rosé 2011 made from 100% Pinot Noir. Just 10,000 bottles of the onion skin-coloured fizz have been made, which are being sold on allocation in the estate’s key export markets.

During a tour of the Segura Viudas cellars, bottles were inspected to make sure the riddlers were doing their job properly. While the majority of the Cavas are riddled by machine, the top sparklers are still hand riddled.

Segura Viudas’ vast cellars reminded db of a desolate London Underground tunnel.

Historic Cava estate Juve y Camps proved it has a sense of humour with it’s eye-catching interiors, including this vivd tank that seems inspired by Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí. The winery was designed by family member Josep Juvé, who was given permission for his imagination to run wild.

After an epic seven-course dinner at Juve y Camps that involved seared foie gras and ceps, and sea cucumber paella, the next morning we headed to family-owned estate Gramona, where we were driven around by owner Xavier Gramona in his leather-lined four-by-four. After saying hello to hit pet ostrich, we paid a visit to the vineyards where these pruners were hard at work under the morning sun.

During the vineyard visit, Xavier Gramona explained his philosophy about letting his Cavas spend an extended time on the lees in order for them to achieve their full flavour potential. Ageing a large amount of his fizz for at least a decade, his latest release is a recently disgorged, 14-year-old Gran Reserva, Enoteca Finca La Plana 2000.

After Gramona, we headed to Cororniu, the oldest family-owned company in Spain. During a tour of the cellars in the Codorniu train, we stopped by a bust of Anna Codorniu, who tragically died in her early ’40s. As a tribute, in 1983 the company launched Anna de Cordorniu – the first Cava ever released to contain Chardonnay as part of the blend.

Lunch at Cordorniu was taken in the tower, which, we’re disappointed to report, didn’t contain roaming goats.

During a tasting of the Codorniu range hosted by the estate’s affable winemaker, Bruno Colomer Marti, we were particularly impressed by the Gran Reserva Blanc de Blancs and Blancs de Noirs, both of which fall under the Gran Codorniu brand, hail from a single plot, and spend 50 months in the cellar before release.

And finally… Lucy’s idea of perfect happiness.

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