Grand Tour of Catalonia | PS News

by John J. Williams

If you’ve ever been to Barcelona, ​​you’ll agree when I say that Catalonia has the best food and wine in Spain. For starters, it’s home to Cava, Spain’s superb sparkling wine. Second, it has 59 Michelin-star restaurants.

And something I didn’t know until David Miró, the regional director of the Catalan Tourism Office, Asia-Pacific, told me this week that it has the world’s oldest recipe book, published in 1324.

Singapore-based Miró was in Australia to launch the Grand Tour of Catalonia and demonstrate the Catalan Tourist Board’s partnership with FC Barcelona. The football club played (and won) its first-ever game in Australia last Wednesday.

Grand Tour of Catalonia |  PS News

The Grand Tour is a tourism initiative allowing tourists to discover Catalonia’s essence. It connects cultural heritage, natural landscapes, and food and wine experiences. The 2,000-kilometer route will be completed by car in 13 days or five sections of approximately 5 to 7 stages each. Sustainable and responsible tourism is one of the main pillars of the project.

Miró announced details of the Grand Tour over lunch at Parlar, a new Catalan restaurant in Sydney’s Potts Point. The food and wine at Parlar were truly sensational, and the space was beautiful, rich in marble, wood, and Alexander Calder tapestries.

It was a very long lunch (something the Spaniards do very well!) and hard to pick a favorite dish from the extensive tasting, but the anchovy scallops and manchego vol-au-vents were hard to beat; the crema Catalana was a fitting end to a grand meal, and what can I say about the lobster with smoked stamina (similar to ratatouille)…it was simply divine.

Parlar’s wine list tends toward the Mediterranean, and there is a good selection by the glass. The dishes were paired with whites and reds, and the Cava was offered on arrival. There was also a great Catalan cocktail – made with gin, green apple, cucumber, and a splash of pimiento – which looked and tasted beautiful.

Catalonia has one of Europe’s oldest wine-growing regions in Penedès, known for Cava and producing mainly white wines and some highly regarded red wines. The wines have the DOCa classification, the highest level in Spain (the only other Spanish region to have this is Rioja). In the southwest of Catalonia, Priorat, in the province of Tarragona, has a special terroir of black slate that produces powerful red wines.

Parés Balta ‘n Brut Nature Cava: A competitively priced, non-vintage sparkling wine that is both organic and biodynamic. Medium-bodied and aromatic with good acidity, young, fresh, and lively with notes of green apple, hints of yeast, and a long finish. It is made from the three traditional varieties of Penedès – Parellada, Macaeu, and Xarel-lo.

Parés Balta 2018 ‘Cosmic’ Penedes: This blend of Sauvignon Blanc-Xarel. Lo has juicy notes of peach, pear, and apricot with a citrus backbone—a lighter wine in the Sancerre style, fresh and aromatic with medium acidity. The name ‘Cosmic’ is a tribute to biodynamic viticulture.

Cal Tiques 2019 ‘Joanots’ Penedes: Located 17 km from the Mediterranean Sea, the vineyard of Cal Tiques is carefully maintained by Joan Rubio, a former technical director of the Cava house Recaredo. In 2015, he returned to the farm where he grew up and started making biodynamic wine. Made from the Macabeo variety, it is fermented in clay amphorae for two months and then kept in barrels for six months. Rich and expressive, it is a gold/amber with mineral notes of orangeange, almond, and cinnamon. flavors

Partida Creus 2020 ‘VN’ Penedes: This is an incredibly light red color, which is not surprising when you read that it is made from grape pulp and has an alcohol content of only 10.5%. Aromatic, with fine tannins and good acidity, it’s a bit funky and savory with notes of strawberries and cherries. Best enjoyed lightly chilled, it’s perfect for kicking back on a summer afternoon (although it paired beautifully with the Wagyu carpaccio at Parlar).

Terroir Sense Fronteres 2019 ‘Negre’ Montsant: This blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Carinena comes from organic bush vines from the mountainous Montsant region around Priorat. With licorice flavors and a little spicy/herbal, it has bright red fruits (raspberries, cherries, and cranberries) and is a pleasure to drink. It is fuller bodied than the previous red, but without oak, 12.5% alcohol, and fine tannins, it is very easy to drink.

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