In the shadows of Montserrat and El Montcau massif lies the smallest DO in Catalunya, Pla de Bages, which was given official status by DO Catalunya in 1995. The region is only 600 hectares, but holds some pretty interesting wine history in the “Ruta de les Tines,” which has the remnants of peasant winemaking from the middle ages.
The name “Bages” is derived from the latin “Bacchus”, attributable to the extensive wine production in the area during the previously mentioned middle ages. Remnants of terraced vineyards still remain today around the region, many have been untouched for centuries and allowed to grow wild.
DO Pla de Bages centres around the city of Manresa. The city itself had a large and vibrant Jewish community up until 1492 when the remaining Jews left the area after the Spanish edict banning their religious practices. Manresa is the home of the basilica of Santa Maria de la Seu, known for the cave of St. Ignatius Loyola who is said to have prayed and meditated there for a span of one year.
Today, you can witness the history of winemaking in the region, as DO Pla de Bages has put together a tour of the “Ruta de les Tines” where you can walk or bicycle amongst the stone vats and stone homes where medieval peasant made wine. Due to some of the harsh weather, the peasant built stone houses where they could stay year round to make their wines. There are some 4000 huts around the Pla de Bages area, and the DO has put forward a proposal to maintain and restore the relics for future generations to enjoy.
Today, Pla de Bages has a vibrant enotourism trade, promoting their wine route which incorporates vineyard visits with historical elements, including a rebuilt Monastery Sant Benet, in the heart of current and historical wine country. While the volume of vineyards is limited, the experience in Pla de Bages is second to none, due to their use of modern marketing techniques, and active public relations in wine tourism.
The grape varieties are as follows:
- Picapoll, Macabeo, Parellada, Chardonnay
- Grenach, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah.
- Celler Abadal
- Celler Solergibert
- Caves Gibert
- Celler Cooperatiu d’Artes
- Mas de St. Iscle
- Mes que Paraules
- Celler el Moli
- Celler Cooperativa de Salelles
- Heretat Oller del Mas
- Fargas Fargas
- Vins Grau
- Can Serra dels Exibi