Introduction to Catalan Wines (And What to Order in Barcelona!)

When it comes to wine, Barcelona is the place to be!

Wine holds a very special place in Spanish and Catalan cultures. It’s the perfect mix of elegant and accessible, so you can be sure you’re enjoying a high quality vino with no trace of pretentiousness. And as home to several of Spain’s 70+ wine regions, Catalonia is one of the most diverse places to drink wine! In this introduction to Catalan wines, we’ll explore what makes these regions so special—as well as which wines to order in Barcelona!

Want to know everything about Catalan wines? This guide will tell you all about Catalonia's beautiful wine regions as well as which wines to try in Barcelona!

All about Catalan wines

Just as the Catalan people pride themselves on their fierce, passionate independent spirit, Catalan wines also stand in a league of their own. Most varieties forgo the tempranillo grape so common in other Spanish wines in favor of garnacha and carginan grapes. As a result, Catalan wines feature a fuller body and a higher alcohol content than their Spanish counterparts.

Another factor that sets Catalan wines apart is the beautiful coastal Mediterranean climate in the region. With a picture perfect setting between the mountains and the sea, the vineyards in the region are ideal for producing rich, varied wines, the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Catalan wines are produced in some of Spain's most beautiful vineyards!
In some parts of Catalonia, lush green vineyards roll right up to the Mediterranean.

All throughout Spain, locals tend to favor regionally produced wines, and Barcelona is no different. When it comes to drinking wine like a local here, Catalan wines are key! Next, we’ll take a look at some of the best Catalan wines to order in Barcelona.

Escape to Catalan wine country with us! Our Barcelona Winery Tour with Organic Wine Tasting & Farm-to-Table Lunch is a must for wine lovers. This day trip will whisk you away to one of Catalonia’s most idyllic vineyards (just a stone’s throw from Barcelona!) where you’ll learn the secrets of local winemaking. Of course, you’ll also get to sample some of the local food and wine over a leisurely lunch!

Regional wines to try in Barcelona

With nearly a dozen wine regions dotting the Catalan countryside, there’s no shortage of outstanding local wines to try when visiting Barcelona. One of the most popular varieties among locals is D.O. Penedès. With a winemaking tradition that dates back to the sixth century B.C., winemakers here have certainly perfected their craft. As one of Spain’s most prolific wine regions, Penedès produces mainly fine dry reds and whites, in addition to some of the best cava in the country.

Be sure to sample some Catalan wines when enjoying tapas in Barcelona!
Do as the locals do: order regional Catalan wines to go with your tapas!

Another standout among Catalan wines is the Priorat region. As home to just over sixty bodegas growing their grapes in less-than-promising soil, yield here is remarkably low compared to other Spanish wine regions. However, while the results are few, they get turned into some of the highest quality wines in Catalonia. Among the more expensive Catalan wines, Priorat varieties are a must-try for any wine connoisseur.

Excellent Priorat reds are some of our favorite Catalan wines!
Rich reds are very characteristic of the Priorat region!

Cava and vermouth

We can’t talk about Catalan wines without discussing two of the most popular! Although their production isn’t limited to any one geographic area in Spain, cava and vermouth form an integral part of the local wine culture.

As Spain’s contribution to the sparkling wine scene, cava is just as delicious as French champagne and Italian prosecco (and often much less expensive!). And as a bonus, more than 90 percent of cava in the entire country comes from Catalonia! With less pretentiousness attached to it than other sparkling wines, cava is best enjoyed at any time of day. You don’t need to wait for a special occasion to visit one of Barcelona’s numerous cava bars!

Cava is one of the most popular Catalan wines.
Cava turns any gathering into a celebration!

Finally, wine lovers can’t leave Barcelona without trying vermouth! (Yes, vermouth is technically a white wine, making it one of our favorite Catalan wines!) This classic drink is enjoying a resurgence in popularity all over Spain in recent years, and Barcelona is no different. Once thought of as something your grandpa might drink, it’s now a favorite aperitif for wine fans of all ages, who pack into Barcelona’s best vermouth bars to enjoy it.

Want to learn more about the Catalan capital’s famous vermouth tradition? Devour Barcelona expert guide Victoria tells you all you need to know in the video below!

Want to try some of the best Catalan wines alongside a local expert? Join us on our Evening Tapas & Wine Tasting Tour! Perfect for wine newbies and budding sommeliers alike, this experience allows you to sample the best of the best regional wines. Each is paired beautifully with some of the city’s best tapas at the family-run bars and bodegas locals love best! Salud! 

Life is too short to speak one language and stay in one place. In 2015, this philosophy took her from familiar Ohio to sunny southern Spain. Usually drinking tinto de verano, reading Lorca, or attempting to dance flamenco (not all at once). Follow her blog, Viatic Couture, for more.

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