Wine Tasting in the Penedès Region of Spain - Less than 1 hour outside of Barcelona | platingsandpairings.com

Wine Tasting in Spain – Penedès Region

Wine and Cava Tasting in the Penedès Region of Spain, located less than an hour from Barcelona.

Wine Tasting in the Penedès Region of Spain - Less than 1 hour outside of Barcelona | platingsandpairings.com

Wine Tasting in the Penedès Region of Spain - Less than 1 hour outside of Barcelona | platingsandpairings.com

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that this post is a looong time coming. Rick & I went to Barcelona, Spain for Thanksgiving… And I’m just now getting this post up about our amazing wine tasting that we took while on our trip.

The wine country of Penedès is located less than an hour from Barcelona and is one of the most exciting wine regions in Spain. A wide range of wine styles are produced here including the Traditional Method (sparkling) white and rosé Cava (made with the indigenous grapes of Xarel.lo, Macabeo and Parellada), dry reds, dry whites, and dessert whites. Winemaking in the region, as in the rest of Spain, dates back millennia and the Ancient Romans have left many vestiges of their wine production here. This area has a production rate of 380 million bottles per year. Cava alone accounts for half of this production. And I’m all about the bubbles!

Wine Tasting in the Penedès Region of Spain - Less than 1 hour outside of Barcelona | platingsandpairings.com

Unlike our wine visits in the United States (i.e. Walla Walla, Dundee, etc.) where we would typically just hop in the car and drive from stop to stop, in Spain we opted to join a half-day wine and cava bus tour which took us on a behind the scenes tour of three wineries, and also treated us with cheese and tapas pairings.

Wine Tasting in the Penedès Region of Spain - Less than 1 hour outside of Barcelona | platingsandpairings.com

We loaded into a comfortable tour bus which was definitely not very full. I would say that there were about 20 people on our tour, total. We were from all over the world, but fortunately, it was okay with everyone that the tour was navigated in English. It was about a 45-minute drive to make it to our first stop – Jean Leon. As I would learn after visiting our next two stops, Jean Leon was by far, the smallest production winery of our visit.

Wine Tasting in the Penedès Region of Spain - Less than 1 hour outside of Barcelona | platingsandpairings.com

Jean Leon made his fortune in Beverly Hills thanks to his restaurant, La Scala, where he served the likes of Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. He then emigrated to Spain in 1963 to produce wine and revolutionized local viniculture by producing the first Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines to come out of the region.

Read more

Lange Estate is located high in the Dundee Hills with an amazing view of Mount Hood on a clear day. It’s one of my favorite spots to have a picnic and enjoy the views in wine country | platingsandpairings.com

Dundee, Oregon Wine Tasting

Dundee, Oregon Wine Tasting | platingsandpairings.com

When I say I’m going wine tasting for the weekend, that typically means I’m headed for wine tasting in Dundee, Oregon. Just a quick 30 minute drive outside of Portland, Oregon, and with over 29 wineries to explore, it’s a great place for a spur of the moment trip to do some tastings.

Read more

Walla Walla - Things to Do & See platingsandpairings.com

Walla Walla Wine Tasting Trip – Days 3 & 4

Check out DAY 1 and DAY 2 of our Walla Walla wine tasting adventure.

DAY 3

A Walla Walla Wine Tasting trip not to be forgotten! An extensive overview of my places to see and things to do in Walla Walla, Washington. | platingsandpairings.com

The boys started the day off with golf at Wine Valley Golf Club. So for us girls, that meant time for breakfast and shopping … We took a stroll into town for the farmer’s market, browsed the local shops along Main Street, and spent this day tasting entirely in downtown Walla Walla.

Walla Walla Bread Company is a great spot to stop by for brunch – Not only do they have wonderful baked goods (perfect for toting along on a day of wine tasting), but they also have dishes like Breakfast Calzones, Corned Beef Hash and Sourdough Pancakes. This lively spot is a great first stop of the day. Be sure not to miss their Bloody Mary’s made with saké!

A Walla Walla Wine Tasting trip not to be forgotten! An extensive overview of my places to see and things to do in Walla Walla, Washington. | platingsandpairings.comA Walla Walla Wine Tasting trip not to be forgotten! An extensive overview of my places to see and things to do in Walla Walla, Washington. | platingsandpairings.comA Walla Walla Wine Tasting trip not to be forgotten! An extensive overview of my places to see and things to do in Walla Walla, Washington. | platingsandpairings.com

Our first wine visit of the day was to Doubleback. Doubleback is owned by former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe and you know what? He knows how to make wine! Offering only a Cabernet Sauvignon, Stolen Horse Syrah and Family Red – They were all excellent! You do need a tasting reservation, so be sure to call ahead. Before visiting, I had pictured this tasting room to be a bit uppity based on that fact, and the fact that it’s owned by a football player – But, the opposite was true. The friendliness of Walla Walla was evident, as it has been every place we’ve visited on our trip, and we were greeted with an beautiful cheese & fig plate to accompany our tastings. Be sure to check out the awesome walls which, from far away look like stone, but are really made from the slats of old wine barrels.

A Walla Walla Wine Tasting trip not to be forgotten! An extensive overview of my places to see and things to do in Walla Walla, Washington. | platingsandpairings.com

Charles Smith & K Vintners were next on the list. You may recognize their bold black and white graphic labels. The Charles Smith brand is widely available – Eve Chardonnay, Kung Fu Girl Riesling, The Velvet Devil Merlot and Boom Boom! Syrah are produced under their label. K Vintners wines carry over the same black and white theme, yet are less widely produced – We grabbed a couple bottles of The Boy Grenache to take home with us. Their tasting room is spacious and has garage door style windows which open wide in the summer so that you can enjoy the streetside patio.

A Walla Walla Wine Tasting trip not to be forgotten! An extensive overview of my places to see and things to do in Walla Walla, Washington. | platingsandpairings.com

By now, the boys were famished from a long day of golf – We headed to Brasserie Four for some bubbles, brews, AMAZING pommes-frites and artisan pizza. The summers are amazing in Walla Walla and, because we went for a late lunch, we we able to get a spot on the patio and do some Main Street people watching while enjoying our meal.

Read more

Walla Walla - Things to Do & See platingsandpairings.com

Walla Walla Wine Tasting Trip – Day 2

A Walla Walla Wine Tasting trip not to be forgotten! Extensive overview of places to see & things to do in Walla Walla, Washington & how to plan your trip!

A Walla Walla Wine Tasting trip not to be forgotten! Extensive overview of places to see & things to do in Walla Walla, Washington & how to plan your trip! | platingsandpairings.com

For DAY 1 of our amazing trip to Walla Walla, Washington, click here.

DAY 2

This place had been on our mind since we started the trip – Bacon & Eggs, our absolute favorite breakfast spot in Walla Walla! A Walla Walla Wine Tasting trip not to be forgotten! Extensive overview of places to see & things to do in Walla Walla, Washington & how to plan your trip! | platingsandpairings.comWhen you go to Bacon & Eggs, be prepared for a bit of a wait, but believe me, it’s worth it! We’re all a bit biased towards the migas. However, I don’t think you can go wrong with anything you order. They’ve got stuffed brioche french toast, chilaquiles, and shrimp & grits – Fair to say the menu runs the gamut. Don’t forget to select some hot sauce from their wall of choices (I’m always partial to the aardvark sauce).

After we refueled for the day, we were off to do some more imbibing. Based on the suggestion of our server at L’Ecole, we headed for Rasa.

A Walla Walla Wine Tasting trip not to be forgotten! Extensive overview of places to see & things to do in Walla Walla, Washington & how to plan your trip! | platingsandpairings.com

With a wide selection for us to taste ranging from Riesling to Syrah and Cab Franc and Cab Sauvignon – We really enjoyed everything that we tasted here. Like EVERYTHING. If I had to choose a couple of favorites – I’d go with The Composer Riesling and the 2012 Fianchetto. Casey (who arrived via motorcycle and would by looks alone appear to be more at home in a Gold’s Gym than a winery) made us feel totally relaxed and at home. We will definitely be back on our next visit to Walla Walla.

Read more

Walla Walla - Things to Do & See platingsandpairings.com

Walla Walla Wine Tasting – Day 1

A Walla Walla Wine Tasting trip not to be forgotten! Extensive overview of places to see & things to do in Walla Walla, Washington & how to plan your trip! | platingsandpairings.comOur weekend trip to Walla Walla, Washington was full of wonderful wines, perfect weather, good friends, and amazing food!!! We were spoiled all the way around. You may know Walla Walla for its sweet onions, but there is SO much more to this fantastic little town:

  1. Wine – Over 125 wineries and tasting rooms in the valley, with thousands of wines scoring 90+
  2. Food – In 2012 and 2013 Walla Walla was a runner-up in the best food category for the Best of the Road
  3. People – In 2011, USA Today selected Walla Walla as the friendliest small city in the United States

Located in the southeastern portion of Washington, it’s about 4 hours from Portland and Seattle. Over the last three decades, Walla Walla has seen a tremendous boom in its wine industry and has become a premier wine destination. I think that a huge part of this has to be contributed to the community – Such a supportive and tightly knit group of farmers and wine makers who really take an interest in what each other are doing and have no hesitation in promoting one another.

A Walla Walla Wine Tasting trip not to be forgotten! Extensive overview of places to see & things to do in Walla Walla, Washington & how to plan your trip! | platingsandpairings.comThe tasting rooms are laid back, relaxed and friendly. To me that is SO important. A fun environment where wine is meant to be enjoyed. I know so many people who feel intimidated to go wine tasting – “I don’t know what wines I like“, “I don’t know what to taste for“, “Why are there spit buckets“…? Just do what you want, taste the wines you think will be appealing to you, and maybe surprise yourself with some that sound out of your norm, pour out what you don’t like… You don’t need to pick up aromas of honeydew and band aids from a wine, maybe you’ll get cherry and pepper aromas. Everyone has a taste of their own. Oh, and those spit buckets…  I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone actually spit out a wine. It is however, perfectly acceptable to pour out what you don’t want after tasting. It’s a actually a good idea – You’re probably going to be doing quite a bit of tasting!

A Walla Walla Wine Tasting trip not to be forgotten! Extensive overview of places to see & things to do in Walla Walla, Washington & how to plan your trip! | platingsandpairings.comAnother great part about wine tasting in Walla Walla? The tasting room fees are REALLY reasonable. You may not believe this, but I have NEVER been to Napa. (I know, I know, I NEED to go… Someday – It’s definitely on the list). I do, however, know plenty of people who do go to Napa on the regular. I’ve heard rumors of tasting fees that run $30+. In Walla Walla, most tasting fees are $10, and that fee is refunded if you purchase a bottle of wine. We bought A LOT of wine, like a lot a lot. We planned ahead and ordered a couple of new wine coolers before the trip, but they’re full already. We need a couple more, we have a problem… #GoodProblemToHave #NotComplaining

Read more