If you’re a wine lover and culture enthusiast then look no further. We have found you the best place to visit this summer… CATALONIA! This amazing region offers an abundance of sun, sea, food, culture and most importantly Catalan wine!
Catalan wine is overlooked by most people outside of the region. When people think of Spanish wine, their thoughts are ‘Rioja’, then perhaps ‘Ribero Del Duero‘. However, Catalonia is an incredible wine region, with very high quality wine coming out of the regions of Priorat, Montsant and Penedès .
HOW TO GET TO CATALONIA
Catalonia is located on the north eastern coast of Spain, just under the French boarder. The quickest and easiest option to get there is to fly into Barcelona. Barcelona is a very accessible city to get to, with flights from all major airports across Europe. For those flying out of the UK, prices typically range from £95-£150* return, which is very reasonable. The flight time from the United Kingdom to Barcelona is just under two hours. Use websites like Skyscanner or Jack’s Flight Club to find the best current flight deals and monitor prices across a number of airlines.
WHERE TO STAY IN CATALONIA
If you are planning a holiday in Catalonia, then a few days in Barcelona is a must. There is so much to do and see, not to mention some amazing wine bars and places to eat. The city itself is worthy of a whole article so read our blog on ‘The Best Wine Bars in Barcelona’. It provides great recommendations on where to stay, how to get around and what to do and see whilst you are visiting Barcelona.
There are a lot of vineyards that are within one hours drive of Barcelona. However, depending on how many wineries you want to visit in the space of a day, it may be good to stay somewhere a bit closer to the vines, like Sitges or Tarragona.
Sitges is smaller than both Barcelona and Tarragona, coming to life from May through to October. If you decide to stay a couple of nights here, then we would recommend you go for dinner at Factor Vi. Their wine list is a thing of beauty, as it focuses on predominantly Catalan wines, however they have wines from all different areas in Spain, so if you fancy a change then this is the best place to go! You can drive from Barcelona to Sitges in roughly 45 minutes. There is also a train which takes about 40 minutes. A return trip on the train should cost less than €10. Renfe are the train operators. Tip: Visit Stiges in October and go to the annual film festival.
Tarragona is a lovely old Roman town, which is a little bit more relaxed than the hustle and bustle of Barcelona. The old amphitheatre (pictured) is well worth a visit. When you’ve finished taking in all the sites we recommend you head down to Bar Cortijo for some authentic small plates, but more importantly, a glass (or two) of natural wine. You can get to Tarragona from Barcelona by car in about an hour and 20 minutes. Train time are just over an hour. As above, check Renfe for times.
WEATHER IN CATALONIA:
Catalonia has a Mediterranean (hot) climate. The climate varies slightly between the coastal and inland vineyards, with the coastal sites being slightly cooler as they benefit from the sea breeze. Average temperature ranges are between 6°C – 15°C in the winter months (November to March) to 16°C and 26 °C in the summer months (May – September). The best months to visit Catalonia are in late May / June or September / October. This way you miss the bulk of the crowds and still get very sunny and pleasant weather, without it being too hot.
CATALAN WHITE WINES
Catalan white wines tend to be very dry, crisp, high in acidity and full of citrus fruit. The best known wine region is Penedès, which is where they make the best Cava (a Spanish sparkling white wine) in the world. The main Catalan white grape varieties are macabeo, parellada and xarel.lo.
CATALAN RED WINES
Catalan wed wines tend to be powerful, fuller-bodied, higher in alcohol, tannin and have darker fruit flavours. The best known Catalan regions for red wine are Priorat and Montsant. The main red grape varieties used in are grenache, tempranillo and monastrell.
MOST WELL KNOWN CATALAN WINES
Cava is the most well known wine to come out of Catalunya. It’s made using the ‘methode traditionelle‘, the same way as Champagne, however it doesn’t spend as long ageing. There’s different classifications for Cava which we you will see in the image below!
CATALAN WINERY TOURS
If you want to visit few vineyards when you are in Catalunya then you have to either hire a car or join a tour. There are many rental car providers in Spain, just make sure you read their reviews first to ensure they don’t have hidden fees. The Savage Vines team have previously hired cars in Catalonia through ‘Do you Spain’ which worked out well for us.
Depending on your budget is and what type of tour you want, there are plenty of options to join a wine tour. Below are a couple of the best wine tour operators for you to look through.
- Venivinum offer a range of immersive Catalan wine tours. Prices start at as little £49 per person if you’re providing your own transport to the agreed meeting point. If you really want the convenience factor (and who doesn’t) then they will pick you up from your accommodation in Barcelona. For a Bio-dynamic wine tour from Sitges, for four people, with pick up from your apartment, it will cost €304 (~£260). That works out to be £65 per person.
- Wine Tourism Spain offer a very good full day excursion. Prices start at €66 (~£56.82) per person. They pick you up from a location given to you in central Barcelona (exact address given upon booking confirmation) and take you to three wineries, including Freixenet, the largest traditional method sparkling producer in the world.
BEST NATURAL WINERIES IN CATALONIA
If you plan on driving yourself around Catalonia and would like to visit some natural wineries, then see our recommendations below. Venivinum offer customised wine tours, so if you wanted to plan a visit to the vineyards listed below then they would be more than happy to make it happen!
Must try Catalan wine: Avi Ton. A white wine made from a native grape to Catalonia, Xarello. Pale gold in colour and packed from of floral, citrus and tropical armoma’s. The wine has spent time in oak barrels as part of the fermentation process so it has great structural depth. Overall, an amazing organic wine.
#2 Mas Tuets
Must try Catalan wine: Petrea Chardonnay. Only made in the best vintages. 2018 was a great year for European producers so we would expect Mas Comtal to release a chardonnay in the summer of 2019. All previous vintages have sold out so if they have some available get your hands on as many an you can fit in your suitcase!
Must try Catalan wine: Pares Balta – Cuvée de Carol – Cava Gran Reserva. Prosecco is so 2017. It’s all about Cava people. It’s crisp, dry and deliciously acidic. You will want to keep this bad boy flowing all night. It will age well to, if you are into that kind of thing!
BUY CATALAN WINE ONLINE
If you are into your wine and looking to discover new regions and producers then Savage Vines is for you. We send you wines from independent producers from all over the world, directly to your home or office. Prices start from £29.95 a month including delivery. Subscribers’ receive 25% off all the wines on our website.
The idea is we introduce you to new wines so that you can start to get an appreciation for the different regions and styles. Join the subscription or our mailing list to keep up to date on things wine and travel.
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