Because the Spanish wine country is not limited to Rioja!
The Barcelona vineyards are a hidden gem. Last week I had a really interesting conversation with the Chelsea, who own a wine store in their town near Chicago. The had had a food tour and were enjoying some wine in one of my favorite tapas bars, and we ended up discussing the Spanish wine country areas.
Turns out we agreed that most people tend to think Spanish wine is all about Rioja, when there are so many other areas whose wines are starting to stand out… yet the main stream doesn’t know about them yet. There are 66 DO (Origin Denomination) wine regions in Spain, and today I want to introduce you to my six favorite Barcelona vineyards areas with DO.
These are our favorite vineyards near Barcelona:
Penedès. Less than one hour drive from Barcelona, this region is famous for their cava (local sparkling). Interestingly enough, there are separate DOs for the Penedès wines and for the Cavas, as Cava can be produced anywhere in Spain as long as the product matches certain characteristics. As for the wines, they are specific for this area and they are mostly whites, fruity but not sweet, and their reds and rosés are starting to rise the interest of the experts. They combine many different varieties of grapes, but their local ones are three: Xarel·lo, Macabeu and Parellada. Check out our tours to the Barcelona vineyards in the Penedes.
Empordà. Located between the coast and the border with France, you’ll often find here vines 30yo or more, but you’ll also notice in its people the will to renovate and combine tradition and modernity, and this savor-faire is reflected in the quality of their vintage years, that has reached high levels these last 15 years. Rosés are big here, as well as sweet wines that benefit from the warm temperatures of the region.
Alella. These are the closest vineyards near Barcelona: less than half an hour north, between the Serralada Litoral hills and the Mediterranean sea. The Barcelona wine from Alella is light, young and fun, inviting to enjoy life and friendship. Local varieties such as the Pansa Blanca are lovingly combined with international grapes such as Chardonnay for whites and Merlot for reds.
Priorat. The smallest DO region in the Spanish wine country, its wines show the personality of the geography of this mountain area with slate instead of earth. A soil very difficult to work, where vines produce much less fruit than the average, wineyards in steep hills that force wine makers to crop by hand… too much hard work to produce just cheap wine: that’s how the locals have learnt to focus in high end products of rich mineral flavors and lots of personality. Here you’ll find some of the best red wines from Spain, intense and alcoholic. We also organize Barcelona winery tours to the Priorat vineyards.
Costers del Segre. These inland vineyards extend from the Ebro river to the Pyrenees, with upto 7 subareas each one with its own geographic personality that also influences its wines. Despite its long wine making tradition, much of the vineyards were destroyed by the phylloxera plague in the 1800s and never replanted, and the ones that were recovered took the opportunity to pioneer introducing French varieties, almost unknown in Spain by then. Their reds are powerful and well balanced, and their rosés and whites fruity and fresh. A lot of the white grapes are used to produce Cava, as well.
AND BONUS! There are seven more DOs in Catalonia, for other wonderful areas with vineyards near Barcelona. Share this post clicking below and I’ll tell you the very best place to taste them all, right in the heart of Barcelona!
MonVínic. Taste the best of the vineyards near Barcelona without leaving the city, in this cool wine bar that according to the Wine Magazine is one of the 5 best wine bars in the world. All their waiters are trained sommeliers that will be glad to make recommendations, and if you ask them, they’ll be proud to show you their private cellar, too. Plus they are not only a wine bar: they also serve tapas, they have a fine restaurant at the back, they run a research center for wine specialists and organize professional wine tastings.
So what about you? Head to the comments below and tells us: what is your favorite Spanish Wine Country?