If you think Spanish wine is all about fruity Andalusian Tempranillos, or structured Basque-grown La Rioja, then you’ve yet to discover one of the finest regions in Spain for cultivating wine: Catalonia. A region bordered by mountains, the fertile soils on the foothills of the Pyrenees are perfect for wine cultivation—it’s no wonder why some of the world’s most prestigious winemakers flock to the area, immersing themselves into Catalonia’s centuries-old enological traditions.
Have we uncorked your interest? Excellent. Pour a glass and read on to learn all about the best wines!
The Geographical Advantage
Catalonia has year-round warm climate temperatures, which can be tricky if you’re in the business of growing grapes. The good thing is that the region is hilly! Bordered by mountains, there is a significant amount of elevated areas—and you’ll find some of the best vineyards tucked away amongst the hills, some 2,000 feet above sea level. Here, the vines can benefit from fresh, moderate temperatures, including cooler nights and hot days. They won’t feel stifled by the heat and can take their time to grow and reach optimal maturity. The best spots are sun-facing slopes—giving the grapes a perfect concentration in flavour.
There is also a wide range of optimum soil types mixed with elements like alluvium and clay. Some of the most popular vineyards even grow their prized wine among scattered limestone, which stresses the vines and allows for maximum fruit expression.
Due to the ideal growing conditions, Catalan red wine has unique characteristics. Most of the grapes provide high alcohol volume, perfect for slow sipping.
Catalonia is made up of ten wine regions, and the most emblematic varieties you’ll find here are Garnacha and Carignan.
For lovers of medium-bodied, rich red wines full of flavours, Grenache is a must-try. The grapes are harvested towards the end of the season, giving the flavours full time to develop. Decant for thirty minutes enjoying notes of white pepper, strawberries and raspberries. Be warned — this wine packs a punch, with a high alcohol content of over 15% ABV. A light purple grape, its thin skin also makes it perfect for rosé.
An underdog variety in the wine world, winemakers are currently changing views on Carignan and making it a world-class grape. A blending grape in Côtes Catalanes, Corbières, Minervois, Fitou and Faugères, it’s experiencing a revival in Spanish vineyards to make incredibly bold red wines. Pair it well with bold or subtle meals while taking in the flavours of red fruit, spices, and even a touch of sandalwood.
Some other grapes you’ll commonly come across in the vineyards of Catalonia are Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Trepat.
Visiting Catalonia is not just about Barcelona bars or beach escapes! Journey out into the mountains and follow the roads that sweep between the slopes. We guarantee you’ll come across a winemaking region, where you’ll find vineyards both large and small. One of the most popular places to visit is the Ametller Winery. A small farm that dates from 1824, this winery has grown into one of the region’s most esteemed producers of Grenache, Carignan, and Merlot wines. The tour gives consumers a chance to try a Priorat, Penedés, or Montsant while enjoying fabulous views of the 90-year-old vines, surrounding cliffs, and streams.
This ancient winery is a must-visit when you are in the Catalonia region of Spain. At Castell Del Remei, you can enjoy a glass of Cabernet or Tempranillo while taking in the breathtaking sights of the vineyard, groves, and lakes. Why not even take home a bottle of Syrah or Merlot, which both pair perfectly with a decadent beef dish. Oh, and did we mention it’s all located in an actual castle?
A 90-year-old family-owned winery, Celler Cribelle I Valls is known for its Garnacha Tinta, Cariñena, and Syrah wines. Here, visitors can enjoy a tasting tour where you can experience each small work of art created. Take the flavours home with you by purchasing one of their signature ‘Lo Flipat’ red wines that pair perfectly with cheese. Limited production means these rare wines are highly sought after - so it may be worth grabbing a few bottles while you can!
Catalonia red wine has won some prestigious awards, including the Sommelier Wine Award in 2020. Taking home three gold medal winners, Catalonia won 21 awards in total, with the Priorat collecting more than any other wine. The 2016 Salmos from Familia Torres came out on top due to its velvety smooth drink filled with notes of spiced blackberries, plums, and coffee. Other highly-rated winners included McAlindon Wines, Creu Celta 2016, described as an intense leafy wine with sour plum and cherry notes and the Vall Llach, Mas de la Rosa 2016, which is an elegant yet complex drink with well-balanced fruity notes and a fine acidity.
The awards don’t stop there. Catalan’s Castillo Perelada 5 Fincas won the esteemed Grand Gold Medal by the Mundus Vini Competition. Deep cherry flavours and red fruit, and spiced aromas are what make this wine one to beat. Sipping a glass slowly will ensure you experience each note, and you’ll find yourself wanting to pour another straight after.
Experience The Taste of Catalonia Red Wine
With century-old traditions and profound wine heritage, this region is one of the world’s most exciting wine making areas in Spain. Whether you’re touring the foothills of the Pyrenees or enjoying a swanky Barcelona wine bar, ensure you make the most of the exceptional varieties this location has to offer. Sit back with a glass of these delicious drinks and enjoy each and every sip.
If you can’t wait much longer, head over to Terminal 42, where they serve a vast selection of different Catalan red wines. You’ll be in your element with the friendly welcomes and delicious bottles available.