Being big lovers of wine, we wanted to go on at least one winery tour (and tasting of course!) during our two-week trip to Spain in April 2016. Over the past few years, we had taken some fantastic wine tours in New Zealand, Italy, and Chile. After a bit of research we found the small town of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, which is the production centre for Spanish sparkling wine (cava). The town is accessible by taking a 40-min regional train ride (RENFE) from Barcelona. In our opinion, Sant Sadurni d’Anoia is the best Barcelona day trip for anyone interested in cava, or wine in general.
We decided to book tours at one large, well-known producer (Codorniu) and one smaller, organic producer (Recaredo). This would allow us to really learn the cava production process and give us the opportunity to taste a good selection of cavas!
The trip from Barcelona was very easy. We took the metro to Placa de Catalunya station and bought two return RENFE tickets from the ticket terminals at the station to Sant Sadurni d’Anoia (it cost about €9 each). The train was not very full around 10 am so we easily got seats. We were two of the only people to get off at the stop, and clearly the only tourists.
We decided to take a cab to our first stop, Codorniu, because the train had gotten us in a little later than expected and we didn’t want to risk being late for our 11 am tour. The cab ride took just a few minutes but it was pricey. We’d recommend walking the 30 minutes if you have the time and the weather is decent.
Codorniu is a beautiful, old winery and believed to be the first cava producer in Spain. They offer several English-speaking tours each day. We soon learned that it was a busy stop for both tourist bus tours and groups of schoolchildren on class trips. Don’t worry – they serve the kids apple juice at the tasting bar!. The highlight of the tour was taking the little train through the kilometres of underground tunnels where they store the cava. Afterwards, we tasted a couple of cavas in the underground bar.
After the tour at Codorniu, we walked the 15 minutes to the town centre. The town was pretty small and quaint, and it was very quiet given it was during the afternoon siesta. But what struck us the most is how empty of tourists it was. We were the only ones! We found a little restaurant to have lunch at – it was packed with locals and none of the staff spoke English. It gave us the chance to utilize the little bit of Spanish we knew.
After lunch, we realized we had a bit of time to kill before our appointment at Recaredo. So we walked back down the main road to a chocolate factory we had seen on the way through. Omigod!! If you go to this town, you have to visit the Simon Coll chocolate factory. Christine had not come across its existence in her research so we were not prepared for it. Unfortunately, we were too late to catch the English speaking factory tour that they offer daily. We still had a great time because the little store had an amazing selection of chocolates to browse through and had plenty of tasting samples. Yum!
We arrived at Recaredo for our 2pm tour to discover we were the only ones on the tour. Yes, a private tour! Our guide Mary instructed us that we could not take any pictures during our visit. The tour was amazing. She took the time to answer all of our questions and we felt like we really got a good understanding of how cava is made. We highly recommend taking a tour at a smaller producer because the big producers like Codorniu and Freixenet just don’t have the time to walk through things in detail. One of the highlights of our visit to Recaredo was the tasting at the end – we got to taste several different varieties including some aged cavas, which were amazing.
Overall, our trip to Sant Sadurni d’Anoia was fantastic and was one of the highlights of our trip to Spain.
Additional pictures are available in our Spain gallery (Click Here).
See our full article on our trip to Spain (Click Here).