Day 1, Sunday – Arrival In Barcelona
Fourteen members of the Harrogate Medical Wine Society arrived in Barcelona early Sunday afternoon and were driven to Hotel Platjador in Sitges, sipping Manzanilla Guita and Tio Pepe Fino on the coach (four members were already in Sitges). A cava reception was held at the rooftop bar of the hotel that evening.
(Click on any image to view as slide show)
Day 2, Monday: Tasting and lunch at Torres in Penedes
After a guided tour of the Torres winery, a tasting lunch was held at Torres Mas Rabel restaurant (Seared Prawn with Leeks & Sauce, Grilled Beef with Truffle & Glazed Onions, Cheeses, Creamy Dark Chocolate (64%) Mousse & Walnut Brownie). The tasting included a Mas la Plana vertical. An evening tasting was held at Cava Gramona with many rating Gramona Gran Reserva 2002 (€47) as the best cava ever.
Day 3, Tuesday: Morning visit, tasting & lunch at Clos de l’Obac in Priorat. Afternoon tasting at Torres Priorat.
At Clos de l’Obac, after a tour of the winery, Clos de l’Obac 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2005, Dolç de l’Obac 2006, Miserere 2005 and Kyrie 2008, the top wines of the estate were tasted. Lunch was in the Cellers de Gratallops restaurant with Clos de l’Obac wines. (Snacks, Artichokes Cream with foie gras foam and powder Iberian, Fresh black sea bass with noodles and creamy garlic mayonnaise, Lamb with seasonal vegetables and Desserts).
Salmos and Perpetual were tasted at Torres Priorat.
Tasting at Torres – Priorat
Day 4, Wednesday: Guided tour of Girona in the morning. Visit to Dali museum in Figueres.
Walking Tour of Girona
Lunch in Girona was at Restaurant “Casa Marieta” (Assortment of tapas,Veal Entrecote/duck/grilled cod, Crema Catalana) washed down with Casa Marieta Crianza, Emporda (a blend of Garnacha, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon).
Dali Museum, Figueres
On the way back to Sitges, Cava Gramona Gran Reserva 2004 was served on the coach.
Day 5, Thursday: Tasting at Pares Balta, Penedes at 10 am and guided walking tour of Tarragona in the afternoon www.paresbalta.com
Tasting At Pares Balta
Walking Tour of Tarragona
Wines Tasted at Pares Balta (9): RDR, GV5 2005, Absis 2003, Hisenda Miret 2011, Radix 2013, Cava Brut Selectio, Calcaris 2013, Electio 2010, Cava Blanca Cusina.
Day 6: Friday: Tasting and brunch at Torres Milmanda castle and visit to Poblet monastery
Days wines (8): Milmanda Chardonnay 2011, Milmanda Chardonnay 2010, Gran Muralles 2008, Gran Muralles 2006, Gran Muralles 2004, Gramona Imperial 2007, Albarino Filaboa 2012, Torres Iberico 2011.
Day 7: Full day guided Barcelona city tour with a break for lunch
Walking Tour Of Barcelona
Lunch at restaurant “Costa Gallega” at Passeig de Gracia (Assortment of tapas, Tapa (or small dish)of Fish Fideuà (Vermicelli pasta) cooked like paella, Orange cake or “cream canes””
Day 8: Flight home
The Group (18)
Stephen & Ann Cameron (Pick Hill) – Bernard & Ramani Dias (Harrogate) – Tony & Sian Gamble (Harrogate) – Jane Greenwood (Leeds) – Tony Lee & Rena Benson (Knaresborough) – Peter & Carol Murphy (Ackworth) – Rhiannon Owen (Huddersfield) – Tony Stanier & Jackie Lyles (Huddersfield) – Alisdair & Elma Stewart (Harrogate) – Les & Mandy Wilson (Harrogate).
(The tour cost €1570 pp and included 7 nights B&B accommodation in a 3 star Hotel Platjador in Sitges with optional sea-view rooms http://www.hotelsitges.com/en/hotel-platjador/hotel, all coach transfers, tastings, 6 lunches, entrance fees and English speaking guides in Girona, Tarragona and Barcelona.)
- “Pleased to read you are having a great trip this far and hope it continues for you all.”– Charles & Ann Joslin, 13th April
- “Greetings to you all on your return home. Have been thinking about you and hope you had a great trip.” – Charles and Ann (Joslin)
- “Thank you Bernard for arranging the top class tastings with Torres in Villa Franca and lunch at Torres Mas Rabell restaurant with 3 vintages of Mas La Plana. The man himself, Miguel Torres jr. appeared just like 10 years ago. What an end to the day! Then, Torres Milmanda estate tasting, drinking their top wine Grans-Muralles 2004, 2006 and 2008 and Milmanda Chardonnay. Finally, the trip and tasting at Pares Balta in Penedes, going up the mountain side in their 4x4s to reach the 700 mt high vineyard. What an enjoyment – so different, and not forgetting the wines at Priorat Clos de I’Obac – Miserere 2002 at £300 a bottle! That was very special for Mandy and myself.” – Les (Wilson)
- “Ann and I greatly enjoyed our visit to Catalonia and know the effort and care you put into making the trip so special. The tastings were all good and several outstanding. Possibly the most outstanding was our visit to Clos de l’Obac and the tasting of very fine wine conducted by the owner with humour and charm. The Torres tastings were all excellent and their vineyards in beautiful countryside and palatial buildings. The extended vineyard tour by 4WD vehicle with the owner of Pares Balta was greatly enjoyed by all. The final day in Barcelona with a very nice and knowledgeable guide, ending at the beautiful and spiritual S Familia will long stay in our memory. Birding was very limited but three highlights were the female Montague’s Harrier seen at Torres in Penedes, quartering over the vineyard slope, two, slightly out of accepted range, Nutcrackers in the National Park vineyard of Pares Balta and the Western Orphean Warbler seen at Priorat. Good accommodation, good food and good company completed our enjoyment. Again many thanks.” – Stephen (Cameron).
- “Just a quick message to say a very BIG thank you for such a wonderful experience. You never fail to delight and we feel honored that you have allowed us to share such a brilliant tour. I have rather a lot of photos, which I will endeavor to sort out. We will send a little written piece with foodie photos in due course. But here is one from the last night that seems appropriate! Lots of love.” – Sian and Tony XXX (Gamble)
- “THANK YOU, a well sited hotel with fantastic Buffet Breakfast, lovely coach driver, excellent guides in Catalonia’s lovely Barcelona, engaging Girona and historic Tarragona, excellent Tapas lunches, this alone makes the trip memorable but add the superb wine tastings at Torres in Penedes and Priorat, the lovely wines of Pares Balta, so many memories, even though I was not A1 I thoroughly enjoyed this fantastic HMWS tour. Many thanks from Jackie and Tony (Stanier)
- “What a privilege to be part of another memorable wine tour. The well-researched visits, tastings and lunches were a joy. There were many stars: – Torres in Penedés included a vertical tasting of Mas la Plana; Priorat Clos de L’Obac; Torres Milmanda and Grans Muralles tastings followed a visit to nearby Poblet Monastery – to name but a few. Chardonnay was top quality and the regional reds terrific. Cava can be an excellent sparkling wine if well made. Our professional city guides were first class. Anna in Girona and at the Dali Museum in Figueres was so enthusiastic and informative as was our Barcelona guide of the old city, La Pedrera, Park Güell and the spectacular Gaudi-inspired Church of the Sagrada Familia. An afternoon exploring Roman Tarragona was also interesting. The pleasant Sitges Hotel Platjador with its helpful staff made an ideal base for our week of wine, food and culture and we were fortunate to have such a good coach driver. As always, the party bonded well and the final night dinner at Restaurant Nansa in Sitges rounded off an enjoyable visit to Catalonia. Thank you Bernard.” – Alisdair & Elma Stewart
- “The Catalan trip looked amazing and I would so love to have been able to come. Well done Bernard for your organisation.” – Dr. Tony Coral, London, 25th April
- “This week seems to have flown and I have had very little time to say thank you for the wonderful trip, as usual I enjoyed every second, its so good to go away with people you like, and do things you like doing best, I thank you.” – Jane Greenwood, Leeds, 26 April
- The wines of Spain’s remote, rugged Priorat are winning fans around the world (miamiherald.com)
- Girona: An ancient town in Catalonia (drifterschronicles.com)