Updated: Mar 14, 2021
Catalonia, in Northeast Spain, is one of that country’s most important and distinctive wine regions. Bordering France and the Mediterranean Sea, the region is fiercely independent, with its own language (Catalan) and cuisine. It’s also a terrific destination for wine touring.
But some of the Barcelona area wine regions are easier to get to than others; some are so small that organized tours don’t go there. The two most accessible Barcelona area wine regions are Penedès and Priorat. We used Barcelona, Catalonia’s capital, as our base for exploring the wine region.
To maximize your Barcelona area wine experience, concentrate on one particular experience each day rather than try to jam in too much at once. It would be overwhelming.
Here is how we recommend you prioritize your Barcelona area wine experience, depending on how much time you have.
Catalonia Wine Background
Wine-making in Catalonia dates back centuries, and some of the wines currently made are from vines that are more than 100 years old. There are many different terroirs. You’ll find both boutique, family-owned wineries and very large operations.
The most famous of its 11 Denominations of Origin is Cava, Spain’s sparkling wine, which is made in the same tradition as France’s Champagne. The region produces about 90 percent of Spain’s Cava. The Barcelona area wine region is also known for still wines. Some of its most popular red varietals are Garnacha (Grenache in French) and Carignan; its white varietals include Garnacha Blanca and Xarel-lo.
Where to go if you have only one day: A Small Group or Private Tour of Penedès
About an hour southwest of Barcelona, Penedès is the largest, most prolific, geographically diverse, and probably most well-known Barcelona area wine region. You also get to experience both still wine and Cava.
We suggest visiting this region by taking a small group or private tour so that you can enjoy a more personalized experience as well as a cross-section of some of the varied boutique wineries in the area. These include Codorniu, the oldest family company in Spain and the first winery to produce Cava in Catalonia, and organic, family-owned Albet I Noya, where we enjoyed our wine tasting on its terrace. We had a fabulous small-group day trip tour of Penedès with Anna, with Explore Catalunya.
If you have a couple of days: Priorat
For a very different Barcelona area wine experience, head out to Priorat, an unusual gem. I list it as the second area to visit only because it doesn’t produce Cava, and it’s farther from Barcelona, in Tarragona, about a 90-minute drive. If you love high-quality red wines with a big finish, this area is a must. It boasts a unique microclimate. It’s also off the beaten track, beautiful, and very hilly. The region produces wines of great quality, but in small quantities due to the harsher growing conditions and the older age of the vines.
Priorat is where to find different winemaking villages, home to wonderful, tiny wineries, such as Celler Pasanau and Clos Dominic. We had a terrific tour with Andrew, with Spanish Trails. We felt like we were discovering secret places.
If you have one more day: Visit the Big Players in Penedès
If you want to experience more of the Barcelona area wine region – and you’ve already seen all of the sights in Barcelona and taken a food/tapas tour – then head back to Penedès to taste the wine and Cava from some of the large, more well-known wine producers.
This won’t be a personalized visit, and some of these experiences can get kitschy, with light shows, trams, and movies, but the products are very good and worth checking out, such as the still wine from Bodegas Torres and the Cava from Freixenet. These wines are also available all over the world and easier to find once you get home. We had a nice tour with Alex, with Julia Travel.
We hope you find these recommendations helpful on your next trip! Please feel free to contact us and share your own Barcelona area wine experiences. Salut i força al canut! (to good health and strength to your purse, in Catalan).
Have any suggestions or feedback? Don’t hesitate to send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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