We started out our Catalunya explorations the day before the start of Alimentaria with a visit to one of the largest wine producers anywhere, Freixenet. This is without a doubt the largest winery I’ve ever toured, and as the largest producer of Cava in Catalunya, they have quite a bit of demand to keep up with.
Freixenet is famous around the world for it’s Cordon Negro and Carta Nevada brands, which are mass market affordable cavas. Their yearly New Years ads featuring movie stars and musical acts are well known in Europe, and the familiar black bottle of the Cordon Negro can be found all over the States.
But Freixenet owns many wineries all over Spain and other parts of the world, producing a wide range of still and sparkling wines. If you’ve traveled in the Sonoma Carneros region of California, you may be familiar with the Gloria Ferrer Winery, which is owned by Freixenet. The Ferrer family founded Freixenet, and continues to hold a stake to this day.
For lunch we tasted 6 different wines from their lineup, including a Rosé Cava made from Pinot Noir, an Albariño made in Rias Baixas, a Rosé from neighboring Montsant, A new wine, Oroya, made especially for sushi by a Japanese winemaker in Spain (composed of Airen, Macabeo and Moscatel grapes), and a 100% Malvasia Cava. The Malvasia is a dessert Cava with fruity notes, and a hint of maple and buttery pastry.
After lunch, we had a tour of their facility, with sections of the winery dating from 1914, and 4 subterranean levels where we got to see the ENORMOUS capacity of the facility, which produces 200 million bottles a year. The facility is so large, they take you around in a little “Cava Train” like at Hershey or a ride at Disneyland! Our guide was very knowledgable and quite charming. Here’s the video of the afternoon visit:
A production of the Culinary Media Network.