Some say that the name 'Bages' comes from Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. Whether this is true or not, what is certain is that wine has been made in this region since Roman times and the Pla de Bages Designation of Origin (DO) is gaining new fans with every passing day. There are a dozen wineries in the DO, and we have lined up visits to a few of them today so you can learn some of their secrets.
Whichever winery you choose, each has its own particular charm. For instance, some have ancient stone vats that testify to the long-standing passion for winemaking in Bages. Such ¡s the case with Abadal in Santa Maria d’Horta d’Avinyó, set in a beautiful landscape. As well as discovering this winery, you're also off to the Wine Museum, located in a 12th-century country house, to see some of the aforementioned vats. There you're sure to hear about the picapoll, a variety native to the Pla de Bages, which grows a small green oval grape with a very thin, tender skin and the emblem of the DO. Once the tour is completed, you'll enjoy your first wine tasting.
Your next tasting will be when you reach Mas de Sant Iscle, within the boundaries of Sant Fruitós de Bages, where they've been making wine since the early 19th century. The farmhouse, which dates back to 950 AD, is close to the vineyards, so visits always start on the land and you're bound to see the labourers hard at work on some seasonal task. Then you can head to the winery, where you can have lunch, and which holds jazz and classical music concerts throughout the year.
When you've had your fill of food and wine, you can set off to Castellar Castle in the municipality of Aguilar de Segarra. On a guided visit, you'll discover this surprising Gothic site, which comprises the spectacular castle, the Sant Miquel Church, a rectory, and a mill. It's one of the few fortifications in Catalonia to have been both a military stronghold and home to tenant farmers.