By Nancy Todd and Regina Winkle-Bryan Comments by The Blog Dog
In less time than it takes to drink a bottle of Spanish wine, we traveled to Penedès, the nearest wine region to Barcelona, one hour by train. Planning on cycling to different wineries, we Scoopettes knew there was a tough day of work ahead.
We met with Paddy Mannion, owner of El Moli Tours, a transplant from Ireland, and multi talented man whose heart and soul is in his work. He organizes bike tours, Spanish wine tours, events, tapas tours, calsotades, and bio-dynamic cooking experiences. He considers Penedès to be the most innovative wine region in Spain.
We traveled through misty rolling vineyards, old wineries, and sampled extraordinary organic wines. What stands out is the knowledge and passion that Paddy brought to our experience. He is knowledgeable not only of wine and every curvy bike path in the area, but of the history of Spain, food, and the culture and idiosyncrasies of the people. His articulate presentation was fresh, geared to our interests, and humorous.
Unfortunately, as it rained the day of our tour, we didn’t get to burn our thighs on the bikes. Bright green, rolling fields of grapevines were silloetted against a charcole sky. Award winning Albet i Noya vineyard was our first stop.
Established by the family in 1903, they produce over 22 kinds of wine and cava, a Spanish champagne, all organic. Actually, it is a young winery as the Romans made wine in Penedès over 2,000 years ago. Kenia, the family black lab, greeted us. The Noya family uses only concrete tanks rather than wood and they give the wine a different body and structure and keeps its flavor neutral. Paddy says their wines have a lot of “attitude.” And of course, we Scoopettes like anything with ‘attitude.”
Cava Guilera, a small, unpretentious bodega, also run by family, was our next stop. They have produced only cava, since 1927, with Belgium as their biggest customer. Their smooth, non-sweet cava was the perfect ending to our tour.
The weather continued to drizzle as we headed for the train laden with bottles of wine, and Paddy saying he wished we had stayed longer. Rain or not, everyday is a good day for a tour with Paddy. We will be back.
Related Spain Scoop: Paddy’s web address: http://www.elmolitours.com/index.html, Cava Guilera and Albet i Noya. The Spain Scoop was cordially invited by Paddy to attend his tour without cost. We gratefully appreciate the invite!
Comments by the Blog Dog:
“I am serving cava at my next birthday party and inviting that handsome dog in Penedès. Dahling, I have a thing for that black lab.”
How to get there: Easy. Take the Renfe train from Pl. Catalunya and Paddy will pick you up at the station.