Catalunya is an amazing region for wines!
Once you’ve lived here for a while, you take for granted the fact that Spain’s appellation system ensures quality wines as is the case in Italy’s well-known DOC and DOCG wines.
Catalunya features 10 wine sub-regions, all administered by a “denomination of origin” that makes sure kilograms per vine isn’t exceeded, only approved vines are used, and many other rules giving the consumer a well-produced product.
With over 800 wineries registered under a DO, and around 60% of them having some sort of tour programme, it’s hard to narrow down who are the best vineyards for experiences, plus everyone has different tastes, and loves. However, here are four wineries that stand out, and four I go back to time and time again.
The closest winery to Barcelona: Alta Alella – Privat
The closest winery to Barcelona, and with a front stage view of the Mediterranean, is Alta Alella.
The winery located 20 minutes north of Barcelona, is in the area that Pliny the elder directly spoke about when he raved about wines of the region during the Roman Empire era. Alta Alella is located within a natural park, and features several “amphitheatres”, all facing the sea.
Alta Alella is known for their critically acclaimed cavas, one of the best sweet wines in the world (Dolc Mataro), and a series of white wines as fresh as the Mediterranean which the vines draw life, and a minerality from the special “saulo” soil, unlike any soil you may have seen from other wine regions. All the wines from Alta Alella are certified organic, and in fact, with a new project, have released a line of “sulphite free” cava and wines.
Alta Alella has a fantastic enotourism programme, with a visit taking you not only through the winery, but also up to its top point that has panoramic views of Barcelona, the Mediterranean, and the various vineyards in its parcel. Alta Alella has lunch and tasting options, cycling tours, a helicopter tour from Barcelona to the winery, and loads of special events all year round. Plus the tasting room gives you a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean as you sip and swirl.
Learn more about this producer and their with Social Vignerons’ Alta Alella Winery Profile & Wine Reviews
The Rugged Beauty of Terra Remota in Emporda
With a foothills forest, and pristine views of the Pyrenees in the northwestern part of DO Emporda, Terra Remota features a rugged beauty within 25 minutes of the French border.
The winery boasts amazing mountain and forest views from the top of its living roof of the winery, built into one of the hillsides, and is one of the features of the tour itself. The building has won architectural and sustainability awards, and reflects the owners’ desire for minimal intervention and organic production.
Terra Remota is highly regarded for its red wines with Grenache, Syrah, Tempranillo featuring prominently, plus a highly regarded white and rose. However, hiking through the vineyards is special itself, as the winery will never plant vines in excess of 50% of the 40 hectares comprising the project. You can have a “pica pica” lunch for 21€ per person in the vineyard during spring, summer, and early fall, or in the winery during colder times.
A Winery with a History in Priorat: Cellers Scala Dei
If you haven’t visited the critically acclaimed region of DOQ Priorat, then you’re missing out on a special experience.
If you haven’t been to Cellers Scala Dei, first founded by the monks in the late 12th century, then you’re missing out on something else entirely. Scala Dei is located in the preserved village first established by the Carthusian Monks, and a kilometer away from the ruins of the Scala Dei Monastery, now a museum and point of interest. Scala Dei features a barrel room, which documents prove its existence in the 17th century, but destroyed records orally passed on say it has been around for much longer.
Scala Dei is known around the world for old vine Grenache wines, and produces three special wines from its oldest estates, located in vineyards above the monastery grounds. Scala Dei was the first to bottle under DO Priorat (prior to it becoming a “DOC”), in 1974. You might be able to purchase one of those bottles, as there is only a few hundred left at the winery.
You can hike above the vineyard on a trail touring ruins and history, to 600 metres, right below the Montsant Mountains, and look across the entire region towards Tortosa. Afterwards can lunch/dinner at one of three restaurants located steps away from the winery, and soak in the history, splash your face in a fountain a few hundred years old, and enjoy some of the top rated wines in the world.
Cava House in the Penedes Hillsides: Llopart
Last but never least is the cava house known as Llopart.
Unlike most of the cava houses of DO Penedes which are located in the town of Sant Sadurni d’Anoia, Llopart is on a hillside above and north of the town. It offers an incredible view of the plains of Penedes, and one of the best views of the Monserrat mountain range.
Llopart features a fantastic tour of the new winery building, and still uses the original masia, located beside the current winery, which has been in the family since the 1500s, and the family has been growing grapes since 1399. Llopart was also one of the first to produce cava, with their first vintage in 1887, and has some of the original Xarel·lo vines from the post phylloxera era.
Llopart has meal and tasting options on their tours, and features Mirador des Caves a just a walk away from one of their vineyards, and up the hill from the winery. If you want to get really fancy, they also have a luxury car rental/wine tasting option!
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This Guest Page was written by Tim Brown of Catalunyawine.com exclusively for Social Vignerons. This is not an endorsement but a content exchange collaboration.