The host: discovering the secrets of Bages wine
If you’ve lost the capacity for surprise and think you’ve seen all there is to see in wine tourism, then come visit the Bages region, with its unique wine-producing landscapes and wine-making history. Your host, the Abadal winery, awaits you.
Wine culture is part of Catalan culture and is nothing new in El Bages. At the end of the 19th century there were around 30,000 hectares of vineyards in the region, more than there are now in El Penedès. Today, only 600 hectares remain and the 14 DO Pla de Bages wineries work fervently towards returning the region to the top of the wine-making world. Leading this work are the people of the Abadal winery who, with meticulous dedication and a spectacular natural and architectural heritage, have invested in modernity.
Walking among the vines
The route of the wine huts will take you on an hour-and-a-half-long walk through the wooded plots of the winery, where you’ll discover the 19th-century drystone huts of the plot owners. The route also includes a wine and food interlude of the highest order. Abadal offers a ‘taste of the landscape’ with the products of its land: wine, oil and honey.
Savour the wine, honey and oil
With the wine, you’ll be tasting local grape varieties such as picapoll and sumoll. With the oil, the juice of the corbella olive, also from El Bages. And with the honey, the finest texture of the golden liquid produced by the bees, whose hive is just a few feet from the main house. To round it off, some excellent bread, spread with tomato and served with cold meats, will provide the perfect lunch for a day outdoors full of the delights of El Bages.
If you want to discover the wines of El Bages, here are a number of useful addresses for organising your visit:
If you’d like to go on another wine route in Catalonia:
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Things to do
Reliving Cardona’s mining past
The walls look like decorative ice made from that spray-on snow used to decorate Christmas trees. It’s not decoration, nor is it snow. It’s the remains of potassium salt still preserved in the Cardona Nieves Mine. This old mining area, which for years was one of the most important in the world, has been brought back to life as the Muntanya de Sal Cultural Park. The guided tour will take you 86 metres underground to relive the Cardona mining activity in its tunnels. If you are visiting with kids, there’s a dramatised tour with the Bartomeu brothers, two descendants of the medieval alchemist Guillem Bartomeu, author of Liber Salis (Book of Salt).
Montserrat Explained by a Biologist
Looking to get off the beaten track? This alternative route will take you to the highest point of the mountain of Montserrat, Sant Jeroni. Have your camera to hand for the picture-postcard views. Your walk up will be guided by a biologist with detailed knowledge of the massif; in all, the hike lasts six hours, and is suitable for all the family. Along the way, you’ll discover the aromatic herbs that grow there; you’ll pass little chapels and some of the most emblematic peaks of the area, such as Cavall Bernat and La Prenyada. Remember to book your walk in advance by phone.
Although Manresa is not on the coast, they are experts in cod dishes. They cook it without much complication, boiled in water, but like everything that looks easy, there’s a trick to it. The great secret is the quince ailoli sauce that accompanies it.
To cook Manresan-style cod, first boil some potatoes and, when half cooked, add the cod. Cover the pot and leave it to finish cooking all together, so the potatoes absorb the flavour of the cod. When cooked, drain the cod and potatoes and serve with the quince aioli. For the sauce, boil the quince to get all the flesh without the peel or pips. Next, finely crush the garlic in a mortar with a pinch of salt. Add the chopped quince and stir with the pestle while slowly adding the oil.
- 800 g of soaked salt cod.
- 1 kg of chopped potatoes.
- 1 garlic clove.
- 1 quince.
- 15 cl of olive oil.