An irregular wine travel article of Sant Sadurní d ?Anoia, Catalunya
Long, long time ago I used to be a school teacher of English. I remember the relaxed months when I was at home on child benefit with my baby son, and to keep my mind fit I watched the morning political discussion program on TV every day. After the end of the serious program I switched off television immediately because a Catalan soap opera (Nissaga de Poder) was the next program, and since I considered myself an intelligent woman, I despised the soap operas deeply. But days passed, the soap opera seemed less evil, and after a while I switched on TV after the political program, and was eager to follow the story of the Catalan cava producing families…
Up and down: from disaster to happiness
Life is unpredictable, my husband moved away, I was left alone with two kids in a rented flat. Future had seemed hopeless, but I managed to come over. I picked up the passion for ? moderate ? wine drinking, and soon I found an advertisment of my dream job: a new wine magazine was looking for an experienced editor. I was neither an editor nor experienced, but I was ambitious and desperate ? and I got the job! I became the editor in chief of the Hungarian edition of the British Decanter magazine, and with a lot of work this magazine became market leader and I turned into a real wine expert. I travelled all over Europe from Champagne to Tuscany, Russia to Spain and picked up as much knowledge as possible. Soon we created VinCE Budapest, the most prestigious wine event of Central Eastern Europe, which has been a success story since then. Meanwhile I bought a nice flat with a garden in the outskirt of Budapest, I met a wonderful man, married him, had a beautiful daughter. We also bought a tiny vineyard near lake Balaton, in one of the best volcanic soiled wine regions of the world. I was happy, successful, had a career that I had dreamt of.
Meanwhile my husband had opened a wine bar. We chose Spanish style furniture and thus Spanish wine list was an obvious choice. We travelled to Spain a couple of times, and fell in love with the culture. After these short trips it was hard to realize, that our little wine bar in a relaxed neighbourhood in Hungary is doomed to failure: Hungarian people do not go out in the morning for a coffée, they have coffée at home. When in the evening there was a fine crowd in our bar, the neighbours complained and even called the police. We envied the Spanish wine bars in the little villages, open and full after midnight not risking police attack… Then a friend took us to Barcelona, we tasted cavas and that was it. I always adored méthode traditionelle sparkling wine, and I found myself in heaven!
A place called cava
It took less than a year to arrange everything and moved to Sant Sadurní d?Anoia, near Barcelona. I quit my full time job at the dream workplace after 12 years to start another dream ? though I remained a kind of consultant editor of the magazine and professional organizer of VinCE Budapest Wine Show. We are after the first three months and we enjoy every moment of our new life. The kids started Catalan school, we write articles and started a travel project called Capital of Cava ? because our little town is really the capital of cava!
Our neighbours are cava houses on both sides, and you cannot buy a baguette without passing at least five cava houses. It is absolutely natural and acceptable to drick cava with your morning coffee in the tiny café bars, daily menus are offered with cava and even the pavement border stones are in the shape of cava corks. Christmas decoration of town? You bet! No Christmas tree, no candles, but huge lit cava glass decorations, bubbles, bottles shaped lighting installations.
A cava house for every taste
All the important cava houses situate in Sadurní or around including the first cava producing house, Codorníu and the biggest one, Freixenet. If you go for the biodynamic trend, Recaredo is your choice where everything is recycled, even the yeast, while the corks are built in the floor of Sagrada Família in Barcelona. Are you looking for the most stylish cava? Agustí Torello Mata is a nieche cava with unforgettable winery visits. Want to see the real artisan cava production? The tiny, super quality Rimarts is the best option. Elegant cavas with refined taste and lovely bubble? Visit Gramona, where you can see tradition and innovation side by side after visiting the two cellars of them. And so on, and so on, everyone can find his own choice, the selection is enormous.
Half an hour from craziness
Wonderful restaurants offer wine pairings, like Mirador with breathtaking view of the vineyards full of xarel.lo, macabeo and parellada, the three main grape varieties of cava. River, lake, hills, the majestic view of the Montserrat mountains ? endless natural beauty invites for hiking. The busy seaside towns of Vilanova and Sitges are less then half an hour from the capital of cava with all its advantages: you can enjoy yachting with plenty of cavas on board and then escaping back to the tranquility of Sant Sadurní, when the seaside crowd begins to be a nuisance. All in all ? we are happy with our new life in Sant Sadurní. Want to know more? Ask me and even better: let me show you the beauty of this unknown pearl!
And I have just realized, that I came to live the setting of that Catalan soap opera I watched almost 20 years ago…