Spain wineries: the best of Catalonia
If you are on a trip to Barcelona, we highly recommend you take a wine tour. Wine is a big part of Spanish cuisine, and Catalonia is one of the best Spanish wine regions, producing 25% of Spanish wine. Out of the regions in Spain, Catalonia has a distinct culture and character, something that reflects in the wines. Catalonia has different wine regions, and most of them grow Mediterranean grape varieties like Garnacha, Carignan, Garnacha Blanca, and Xarel-lo, but they also grow Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Trepat.
Viticulture in Catalonia dates all the way back to the Romans, who first recognized how perfect the region is for growing grapes. They started the first Spain wineries here. Due to the warm weather and granite, chalk and fractured slate soils, you can taste the sunshine and minerals in Catalonian wines. Catalonian wines are often full-bodied and high in alcohol.
Aside from delicious reds and fresh whites, Catalonia is famous for one type of wine in particular: cava. Cava is a sparkling white wine, made in the same way as champagne. It was invented in the village of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia in 1870. Parellada and Macabeo grapes are perfect for making cava. The Penedès region in Catalonia produces 95% of all cava and cava accounts for 50% of all Catalonia wine export.
Winemaking is a family tradition in Catalonia, and most wineries are still family owned. A visit to one of these vineyards is a great way to experience the authentic Catalonian culture and learn more about wine. And of course, a wine tasting. To help you along, here are Feed Your Trips’ favorite wineries in Catalonia.
Visit the best wineries in Catalonia:
If you want to taste the best cava in Spain, Recaredo makes the best Spanish cava. This winery is a traditional cava house, founded in 1924, in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia. It is a family business, run by the descendants of the founder: Josep Mata Capellades. Here you can see how the grapes for cava are grown and turned into wine. The cava process is done in the traditional way here, and it is very interesting to see. At Recaredo, they use natural cork stoppers and disgorge each bottle by hand. Recaredo is also famous as a leader in biodynamic wines. The cava from Recaredo is so good because they are all vintage brut natural wine, with a long aging process.
In the same Spanish wine region, you will find one of the biggest Spain wineries: Familia Torres. This massive winery encompasses six different estates, all owned by the Torres family. One of those estates, Mas La Plana, is open to the public for wine tours and visits. As big as Familia Torres has become, it is still a family business. The current CEO is the fifth generation. The founder, Jaime Torres, started the winery with his brother in 1870. Unfortunately, it was all destroyed during the Spanish Civil War and not rebuilt until 1940. Since then, Familia Torres has grown into one of the biggest wine brands in Spain, exporting many types of wine to 140 countries.
We cannot speak about traditional wineries in Spain without mentioning Scala Dei. Viticulture has long been involved with Christian history, as is the case at Scala Dei. Scala Dei literally means “stairway to god,” and that’s how you might feel when you drink this wine. Scala Dei was originally a monastery founded by Carthusian monks in the 12th century in the Montsant mountains. The monastery and winery were confiscated by the Spanish government in the 19th century and passed on to private owners. That same family still runs the historic winery of Scala Dei. The wines from Scala Dei have won many awards, and they focus on indigenous grapes. This winery is worth a visit not just for the excellent Priorat wine, but also for the spectacular views.
Fame in the wine world can come in many forms. For Jean Leon, it came through friendship with stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood, such as Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. Jean Leon moved to the US as a young man and worked his way up to restauranteur. He returned to Spain and started a vineyard in 1962 and started earning awards in the ’80s. The winery still makes terrific Vino de Finca wines and is popular among tourists to visit. It is close to Barcelona, and Jean Leon winery offers very good wine tours.