Weekend in the Penedes

After all the fun we had in the Priorat and Montsant wine region two weeks ago, Brian and I are committed to following our handy-dandy wine book that our friend Jay gave us before we left.  Which meant another wine weekend of course! Well, wine AND cava weekend...

Which of course meant...another road trip! I still don't have the confidence to drive these little standard cars in the city with all the motos zipping around you, so we set off once again for the airport to rent our little car at Centauro. But this time we were surprised with a free upgrade! Goodbye Ford Ka...hello Opel Corso. That's right...four doors.  We're moving up in the world! Although I have to say that I kind of missed my little Ford Ka. She was much more forgiving on my rough shifting at times.

After only about 17 wrong turns, we arrived at our little bed and breakfast in the small village of Pac de Penedes just outside Vilafranca de Penedes. We successfully turned a 45 minute drive into a 2 hour 30 minute drive. No pasa nada! We arrived safely at

Cal Santi

with our sense of humor intact and checked into the Xarel.lo room, which is named after one of the staple grapes of the region.

The house had the most amazing terrace overlooking Vilafranca de Penedes and all the surrounding vineyards, which our hostess, Pepa, told us are all owned by the Torres family. They are a serious wine family. Check out the "Spain" section next time you're in Specs or Bevmo or whatever wine store you frequent, and you'll notice TONS of Torres brands. Yep, Amanda, Sangre de Toro with those cute little plastic bulls is a Torres family wine!

Enjoying the view of Vilafranca de Penedes. It's been really nice to retreat from the city for these little country getaways. We're planning to tour the major Spanish tourist spots like Madrid, Sevilla, and Granada in April once Brian is done with school, so for now we're having fun getting to know Catalunya better and finding time to escape and exhale on the weekends. Of course, it's not like our lives are too stressful, but it does wear on you living in a big bustling city.

Once we got settled into our room we came back downstairs to the 'comedor' (dining room) to plan our wine route for Saturday. The B&B had a map of the region that included a list of all the wineries and cava cellars, and we started sending emails to book our tours. The wine and cava gods were with us because in no time we had three tours booked...one at 10am, 11:30am, and 1pm. After our experience tasting in Priorat, we decided not to plan on visiting more than 3, especially with their generous pours.

There were three tables in the dining room, one for each room in the B&B. This became our cozy little meal spot for breakfast and dinner each day. Pepa was an amazing hostess. It was like living with a little Spanish version of Mema.

This is our new Catalan love...roasted red pepper and eggplant on toast with goat cheese. This is the same dish we had at Piro in Gratallops and it did not disappoint yet again.

Another dinner of mariscos for Brian. Pepa did it up with fish, gambas and clams. I had eggs and asparagus, which was a little odd. But that red pepper toast was so fabulous, I hardly had room for the eggs.

So what do you do in the middle of the country after dinner? Play cards, drink wine and take silly pictures of each other!

This is my serious Gin Rummy face. Ha! Brian and I have learned how to play Gin since we've been in Spain. We even have a tricked out (it's dynamic, Tracy!) spreadsheet that we keep track of our scores. What would we be, if not competitive?

We were the only guests in the B&B the first night, so we had the whole place to ourselves.

I love our little getaways because we seem to always have a lot of good talk time...the kind of conversations that for us have always flowed on vacation. Good, juicy life talk about where we're going, what we want out of life and how we think we'll get there.  I seem to remember dreaming about living in Spain one day on one of our vacations not too long ago...

I showed this pic to Brian and he had no idea what I was trying to accomplish. It looks like he's drinking my wine, right? Claro! I think it's funny!

If you can't be a complete nerd with the one you love, then who in the heck can you be a nerd with?

After a semi-stressful drive going around and around in circles, it was nice to be at the B&B, have a yummy dinner, drink some wine and be silly. And when I say around and around in circles, I literally mean it...this country is all about their roundabouts. I would love to have a euro for every roundabout we circled a complete 360 degrees before figuring out which way to go. But we made it! And we settled in and prepared for a great day of wine and cava tasting...  And did I mention that Brian gave his first go at driving standard this past weekend?  That story is to come!