When our small group tour bus started up the long road to Oller del Mas, we noticed a well-dressed man standing outside of his car. We learned the winery was having a private event, a communion celebration, and the man was the father of the child being celebrated. His car had broken down, so we offered him a ride in the bus. He gratefully climbed aboard and at the winery made quite the grand entrance.
The reasons for choosing this venue for a celebration became instantly obvious. We walked up to a medieval castle dating back to the tenth century with amazing views. Our tour guide explained that the same family has had the winery since 964 with ownership passing to the eldest son; currently on the 36th generation.
The Oller del Mas vineyards, part of the Pla de Bages wine area (about an hour outside of Barcelona), are organic with clay soils. Our tour guide indicated harvest is typically September to mid October. We tried one white wine and three red wines, and received an education on some grapes not well known in the US. Picapoll negre, for example, our tour guide explained, is a grape that was thought to be extinct but this winery discovered its continued existence.
We started our wine tasting with the white wine paired with cheese outside of the castle. We proceeded into the castle for a light lunch paired with the red wines, each a well-balanced blend of grapes. Our group sat at a long table overlooking a beautiful landscape. As we drank the fantastic wines, we learned a little about our fellow group members. They mostly hailed from various locations in the US; a trio of pharmacists, a gym owner, a singer, retired teachers.
After eating, drinking, and chatting, we headed to another outdoor area of the castle. The views were even more astonishing with lush vineyards, unique soil colors, and a mountain (Montserrat).
Just before leaving, we walked through the vineyards. I paused for a moment to take it all in. It was a cloudy day but I hadn’t missed the sun. The amazing setting and fabulous wines shared with friendly companions made for a day full of warmth and light.