Sunday, 28 April 2013

'Torre del Veguer' - Wine, Vineyard Visits, Events and Conferences in Garraf (Barcelona)

I would never claim to know every corner of the wine region Penedès but, up until a week ago, I actually thought that I had already discovered everything worth visiting at least in our absolute neighbourhood. Therefore, I was quite surprised when I arrived at the impressive Catalan country house Torre del Veguer, from where you have a wonderful view of my town, Vilanova i la Geltrú and the Mediterranean. Although you are just 30 minutes from the Airport of Barcelona,  thanks to the surrounding vineyards you still feel that you are out in the countryside.

The center of the estate is a building with a long history and the word veguer in the name reveals that a few governors of the historic Vegueria the Vilafranca del Penedès had their residence here in the late Middle Ages. These were members of the family Avinyó whose coat of arms can still be found over the original Romanesque portal. Before them, in the 15th century, the house had been owned by the monastic Order of Saint Jerome (the Hieronymites), of whose era the cloister on the first floor is a reminder, and these monks were first to plant wine grapes here. The oldest parts of the building are from the 14th century and reveal that, originally, it was a fortification. The tower (torre) which is mentioned in the name is, if fact, what we now see as the main building, while the square tower with battlements was a late addition, made after 1878, when the entrepreneur Josep Ferrer i Vidal from Vilanova i la Geltrú bought the property and remodeled it to look like French medieval castle. Add to that a chapel from 1896 in Neo-Gothic style and you get the eclectic, mixed architecture which we see today.

Nowadays, Torre del Veguer is primarily known as a winery within the Garraf subregion of D.O. Penedès. The character of the location is shaped by the proximity to the sea in the south of and the shelter given by the mountain Montgrós in the north. The bedrock consists of porous limestone and is very rich in minerals because at one time in history this used to be a seabed, of which the many fossils testify. The property comprises 18 hectares and the grape varieties being cultivated are, above all, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and muscat, but also petite syrah and xarel·lo, the unique variety of Penedès. The wine production relies solely on the own harvest and the grapes are always picked by hand. Among the wines which have recently received international awards we find Torre del Veguer Muscat 2012, Torre del Veguer Xarel·lo 2012 and Torre del Veguer Eclèctic 2009.

As a side activity, the premises are being rented out to anyone who wants to organize conferences or parties in a historic setting, or, literally, in the midst of the vineyards. In addition, guided wine tours can be offered in English, French, Catalan and Spanish, but these have to be booked in advance (the usual routine on all small wineries in Penedès). However, at any time you can pass by on the gravel road outside, in order to see in which phase the vines are in or just to remind yourself that Sant Pere de Ribes, by far, is the most scenic part of the comarca Garraf.

Swedish version of the same text

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