Conca de Barberà is an area with a great winemaking tradition, thanks to its location and its land. To understand the present we have to take a leap into the past, and the evolution of viticulture in Conca de Barberà has been closely linked to the historical evolution of the region. Let’s go back to the Middle Ages, when two institutions, the Cistercian monks of the Abbey of Santa Maria de Poblet and the warrior monks of the Templars, passed on their knowledge and experience to the farmers in order to cultivate the vineyards and extract the best wines.
At the end of the 18th century and the middle of the 19th century, the export of wine and aguardiente to the north of Europe and America made vineyards practically the sole crop of the region. This accelerated the formulation of techniques adapted to wine production and, at the same time, the Reus-Montblanc railway line was built to transport the wines more quickly.
After achieving several successes and placing itself on the map, the phylloxera plague arrived, which caused huge economic losses and the obligation to start all over again. All this meant that Conca de Barberà ended up being a pioneer in Spain in the grouping of farmers in cooperatives linked to the wine sector. In 1894 the union was founded to produce wine jointly, under the influence of Joan Esplugas, an expert owner in systems to fight against phylloxera. Already in 1903, the cooperative winery was built in the village of Barberà de la Conca, considered the first newly designed building in Spain.
Leaving aside the origins and history, we must put special emphasis on an exclusive grape variety typical of the area. The trepat is a black grape variety native to Conca de Barberà, although it can also be found in the area of the river Corb, Baixa Segarra and Conca de Tremp. It grows best when the soil is cool and it is sensitive to drought, spring frosts and a fungus called excoriose, but resistant to botrytis. A friend of cold and damp soil, it sprouts early.
Focusing on the qualities that the trepat offers to wine and talking about rosé wines in particular, we obtain an outstanding wine that is light, fresh and fruity, with a pink, clean and luminous colour. Regarding red wine, we obtain a fresh, light wine and in the mouth we taste notes of red fruit, liquorice, and a touch of pepper and laurel. We also produce very distinctive and unique white wines and cavas, which stand out for their quality.
We must make special mention of the Trepat Festival, which takes place in mid-July in Barberà de la Conca, a tribute to the trepat vineyards and the science of those who have cultivated for centuries, and it is much more than this; this festival is also a tribute to the identity and culture of a land known for its wine. The Trepat Festival was born as a popular initiative of the people of Barberà in order to build spaces of economic and cultural development, where technical conferences with professionals of the sector, informative talks, guided visits to the vineyards, tastings, meetings of collectors, children's workshops, concerts and a wide gastronomic offer of tapas and menus are carried out.
The region is full of activities to do with the family, and in Espluga de Francolí we can find the perfect activity to spend a different and unique day, called Fassina Balanyà. A fassina or pot still is an artisan factory where wine spirit was distilled to make aguardiente. Today the factory has been converted into a museum-like space and is worth seeing in person. We suggest an activity where the little ones will be able to enter spaces that are inaccessible to the public and will be able to touch and smell different products that were used or obtained. You will be able to see a live distillation and you will finish the experience with a tasting session. Finally, you will have the opportunity to participate in a workshop where you will make your own perfume or hydrogel with fruits and aromatic herbs from the same garden. Come and discover how a distillery worked and how the remaining grapes were recycled and reused.
If you think that is not enough, we suggest you do a scavenger hunt in Montblanc. You will walk among the vineyards while listening to how the wines are made and you will also have to find where the bottles are hidden. These bottles contain some questions that you will have to resolve. Experience it first hand and discover the prize!
Enjoy a different and unique day out, discover the trepat in person and find out all the secrets that are hidden in the Costa Daurada and Conca de Barberà.
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