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Vallformosa
by
Kathy and Terry Sullivan

VallformosaSummary: Vallformosa is owned and operated by a fourth generation family who began producing wine in 1865. This large production winery is located in the Penedès region of Catalonia. Wines and cavas are exported to many countries.

Visitors to Vallformosa will first see a long two-story building adorned with numerous arches. Look for the unusual decorative sign overhead that shows the development of cava from the vineyard to the riddling to the glass. On the other side of the street another large building is also part of the Vallformosa facility.

Tour

Tourists can view vintage winemaking equipment as they amble through the different winery buildings. Our tour began in a tank room where cement vats were built into the walls. There are also several large wood casks, one dating back to 1790. Outside a wall of oak barrels adorn a passage way while on the opposite side there are artifacts from vineyards. Many of the tools on display were used over the past centuries in the vineyards. One vintage item to see is the 1890 grape press made with thick rope wrapped around the body of the press. A 1920 cask for disgorging cavas is also on display.

Vallformosa     Vallformosa     Vallformosa

During the tour we learned that in 1865 the Vallformosa wines were sold as bulk wines. The first three generations of the family produced only still wines. Mr. Domench, 4th generation, added cava production to the Vallformosa portfolio. In addition he also makes grappa.

The next building on the tour was the production area. Although it was late in the day, trucks were bringing Parellada grapes to the winery. We observed the trucks dumping the grapes into large stainless steel distemmer/crushers. The large production facility was very active. Lab technicians were collecting samples of the wines in stainless steel tanks to run analysis of the wines in the lab.

VallformosaThe last building we toured was the event facility and cava aging rooms. The event facility has a cathedral atmosphere with marble walls and arched brick ceilings. Along one wall large paintings depict the cava making process. Some private events include weddings. We stepped briefly into the cava bottle aging area where we observed bottles in gyroplates and three yellow robots. Most riddling is done in gyroplates.

During the tour we learned that Vallformosa produces ten million bottles of cava and two million bottles of still wines. Vallformosa produces different brands of wines. The wines and cavas are exported to numerous countries on the continents of Europe, Asia, North America and Africa.

Vineyards

We made a brief visit to the vineyards as dusk was descending. Vallformosa has 317 hectares of vineyards planted in nine different areas of the Penedés. The varieties include Xarel-lo, Parellada Macabeo, Muscat of Alexandria, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling for the white grapes. Red grapes planted include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo, Monastrell, Garnacha, Syrah and Samsó. Harvest in the vineyards is by of hand and machine.

VallformosaTasting Room

The tasting room has a tasting counter towards one side and a large octagonal table in the center. Our attention was caught by the ceramic tiles lining the side of the tasting counter. The tiles tell the story of winemaking from the sun shining on the vines through the winemaking process. The tiles are very detailed even including the coopering of oak barrels. The large octagonal table has an outer edge, perfect for wine glasses, notebooks and cameras. An inner section has inlaid ceramic tiles. The triangular shaped inlays show maidens in a vineyard setting harvesting grapes and drinking wine. The wine glasses for our tasting were sitting on the tiles and between the tiles there were small dishes of olives, nuts and potato chips. In the center of the table there was a festive autumn bouquet.

VallformosaWines

While in the tasting room we tasted several still wines and cavas. Freyé 2013 Penedès DO was a blend of Parellada and Muscat of Alexandria. The yellow wine had 11% alcohol. The wine was very floral with notes of orange blossom, honeysuckle and roses.

Freyé 2013 Penedès DO, a blend of Merlot and Samsó had 13% alcohol. This pink with orange hue wine was crisp and reminded one of raspberries. Freyé 2012 Penedès DO was a blend of Syrah and Tempranillo. The 13.5% wine aged in oak was a dark ruby with notes of plum, blueberry, and cloves. The wine was full-bodied with mild tannins.

Brut Cava DO was a blend of Parellada and Macabeo. The wine aged in the bottle for one year. The yellow cava offered notes of citrus and floral. Brut Nature Reserva Cava DO was aged for 24 months. The cava was a blend of Xarel-lo, Macabeo, Chardonnay and Parellada. The light yellow wine, with 12% alcohol, was dry with citrus, floral and apple. The cava was crisp. Brut Reserva 2012 Pinot Noir Cava DO was 12% alcohol. The crisp wine was a reddish/orange color and offered notes of red berry fruit. Brut Reserva 2011, a blend of Xarel-lo, Parellada, Macabeo and Chardonnay was 12% alcohol. The cava was aged for 24 months. Notes include citrus and freshly baked bread.

When visiting Vallformosa plan to stay for a wine tasting and winery tour. During the tour look for the large cask with wooden hoops dated 1790.

Vallformosa
La Sala, 45.
08735 Vilobí del Penedès,
Barcelona, Spain

 

Article written October 2014


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