In the vicinity of the massif and the “Parc rural de Montserrat” can be found very high quality products, among which wine and olive oil stand out.
Talking about olive oil in Catalonia, the predominant variety is called Arbequina, it is a small olive from which an oil with a very Mediterranean character, smooth and fruity, is extracted. This variety accounts for 50% of the total production of olive oil in Catalonia.
However, in the surroundings of Montserrat, very interesting native varieties are grown in small quantities. From the gastronomic point of view, the most characteristic are the Vera Montserratina (A:K.A. Verdal de Manresa) from which an oil with unique character is extracted. Intense, with a marked bitter, spicy and astringent, but balanced with apiece of sweetness. High in oleic fatty acid.
Tasters say that Vera del Montserratí oil has secondary aromas of the mild green type, with a predominance of fennel and dried fruit notes that contrast with the power in the mouth. The set is aggressive but balanced in aromatic intensity and the softness of the nuances.
Due to the small production, the farmers have opted for a local market and a production of the highest quality.
Palomar and Corbella
Just as interesting are the Palomar and Corbella varieties, the most characteristic of these varieties is their low amount of polyphenols that make this oil unable to be exported due to its short life. So it is very difficult to try it outside the area.
On the other hand, polyphenols are responsible for bitterness and astringency in olive oil, so the little amount that we find in these varieties makes this a very special and smooth oil. The impossibility of exporting it makes it difficult to obtain.
- Palomar oil tasting note: Medium fruity, with green and ripe notes. Secondary retronasal aromas, with hints of grass and ripe and green fruit such as banana, sensations of vegetables, sweet in the mouth, with a certain spicy and bitter character of slow progression. The whole is balanced and especially interesting on the palate, where aromas and flavors are complemented.
- Corbella oil tasting note: Very aromatic oil, with connotations of ripe fruit, apple and herbs. In the mouth it is very sweet and smooth (due to the low content of polyphenols) slightly bitter with a slight spiciness and without astringency. It can be used to soften bitter oils, adding color complexity.
There are two designations of origin in the surroundings of Montserrat, the D.O. Bages in the north side and the D.O. Penedes in the south side.
The Bages region is known for its vineyards since very distant times, so much so that the origin of the place name that designates the region would derive from the word Bacchus (the Roman god of wine). The Bages wine-making tradition goes back more than 2,000 years.
Today, the cellars in the area are small due to the impact that the industrial revolution had on the area making this D.O. one of the smallest on the peninsula.
The importance of the D.O. Bages is given by its wineries that have lovingly cared for and preserved the native varieties of the region, such as Picapoll, Sumoll and Mandó, among others that are better known. Giving a special character to its wines that have been echoed by gastronomic critics and restaurateurs from all over the world.
The D.O.Penedés with a winemaking tradition that dates back more than 2,700 years, includes a large area that goes from the south of Montserrat to the coast. Unlike Bages, this is an area with great wine production, highlighting the whites and Cava in which, together with Chardonay and other more widespread varieties, native varieties such as Xarel·lo, Macabeu and Parellada predominate.
In recent years, the most modest wineries have made a commitment to quality, distancing themselves from the macro wineries that, according to small producers, have made the D.O. Penedés loses prestige. If we want to verify that Penedés has always been associated with very high quality wines worldwide, the best way is to stop by one of its small wineries and try a white wine or a cava. It is not surprising that this area exports cava to countries like France that is beginning to see that in Penedés wineries you can be found excellent quality sparkling wines at a very affordable price.
Recently the reds and rosés of the Ull de Llebre, Garnatxa and Merlot varieties have been gaining importance in the area, with great personality, we also find the presence of Cavernet Sauvignon among others.