Located in the Mediterranean northeast of Spain, Catalonia a fascinating mix of nature, history, culture, gastronomy, and lots more. Home to twelve official wine regions or “Denominaciones de Origen” (D.O.s), it is also a wine-producing region to be reckoned with.
From vibrant Cavas, to high-end sparkling Corpinnats, and powerful, yet sophisticated reds from the likes of Priorat and Montsant, here are 11 great gift ideas from Catalonia for your favorite wine lover.
One of the founders of Corpinnat—a new classification that has separated a group of the most prestigious makers of organic Catalan sparkling wine from the broader Cava label—Llopart makes some of the finest bubbly there is. Its Llopart Panoramic recently won a gold medal and was recognized as the Best in Class Corpinnat at the Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships in London. Structured and full in the mouth, Llopart Panoramic is creamy with fine bubbles and the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.
Made in one of Catalonia’s lesser known wine regions, Conca de Barberà, Torres’ award-winning Grans Muralles is made from a blend of autochthonous grapes, including two ancestral varieties—Garró and Querol. Of the more than 50 ancestral grape varieties that Torres has recovered over the years, it is currently focused on the six with the best potential to make great wine that are also well adapted to climate change. A superb wine with a Mediterranean herbal character, Grans Muralles has won countless accolades, from high Parker points to gold medals from Decanter.
Vinya del Noguer Xarel·lo
This all-natural Xarel·lo by one of Catalonia’s top natural wine pioneers, Pepe Raventós, is the result of a deeply personal project that began in the winemaker’s garage. The fruit comes from a small 1.48-hectare plot planted in 1970 that is organically and biodynamically farmed. The result is a wine with fresh, intense fruity flavors, with no additives and no added sulfites, fermented in a French oak barrel and aged for six months on the lees.
Ferrer Bobet Selecció Especial Vinyes Velles 2018
For lovers of red wine, Priorat is the place to be—in Catalonia, and maybe even in Spain (although the people from Rioja may disagree!). The “Selecció Especial” 2018 vintage of Ferrer Bobet’s outstanding Vinyes Velles, made from pure Cariñena grapes, has been rated 96 by Wine Advocate, who described it as a “long-distance runner” with “notes of wild berries and flowers, graphite and smoke and spices after aging in 225-liter French barriques for 18 months”.
A Spanish sommelier once told me that, “Alvaro Palacios is a genius,” and, having tried his wine, I can only agree. The 2015 Decanter Man of the Year is credited with putting the Spanish regions of Priorat and Bierzo on the map internationally, so what better introduction to his brilliance than the first wine he launched in Priorat, Clos Dofí (later renamed Finca Dofí). Elegant and alluring, with silky tannins, and hints of blood orange and grapefruit on the nose, it is everything a Priorat wine should be—and more.
Venus La Universal
Catalans will tell you that, when you look at Priorat and neighboring Montsant on a map, they are like a fried egg. Priorat is the rich yellow yolk that is surrounded by the less exclusive Montsant egg white. While the two regions produce similar grapes, Montsant wines tend to be lighter and easier to drink, compared with their more powerful cousins. Mas Martinet winery offers the best of both worlds, making wines like Clos Martinet in Priorat and Venus in Montsant. The former is full-bodied and fruity, while the latter is elegant and rounded, with notes of minerals and Mediterranean herbs.
Alta Alella Mirgin Opus
The family-run and organically farmed Alta Alella winery belongs to the tiny Alella wine region, located just over a mile from the Mediterranean coastline and less than 10 miles from central Barcelona. The unique setting gives the wines from here a distinctive saline and mineral character, and this Mirgin Opus Cava is no exception. Aged for at least 36 months, this is an elegant, sophisticated sparkling wine with a pale yellow color and light bubbles, combined with aromas of apple and ripe stone fruit.
Cartoixa Scala Dei
Set on the site of the 12th-century Scala Dei Carthusian Monastery, today’s Cellers de Scala Dei winery was re-founded in 1974, although its bottles are still aged in a 17th-century cellar built by the monks. Scala Dei translates as God’s ladder and you may well feel like you are ascending to heaven when you taste this robust, supple, well-rounded Priorat, with intense aromas of ripe black fruits, plum and violet, along with spices like vanilla and pepper.
Vespres Josep Grau
Rated 92 points by James Suckling, Josep Grau’s Vespres is another superb red with a big personality from the Montsant region. Organic and biodynamic, Vespres is intensely flavorful and Mediterranean in its character, with aromas of red fruit and touches of berries and balsamic vinegar. Add a silky texture and fresh acidity, the result is an elegant and seductive red wine. Josep Grau is currently expanding its presence in the U.S. but, in the meantime, Vespres is available now.
In 1997, Tomàs Cusiné created Cérvoles Celler in the remote Costers del Segre wine region, seeking to reclaim Catalonia’s ancestral mountain viticulture practice. Today, the fruits of his labors can be tasted in Cérvoles Negre, a powerful, elegant red wine made from grapes grown at an altitude of between 2,300 and 2,600 feet. The elevation of the vineyards and the temperature contrasts impact the grape skin thickness, encouraging the concentration of anthocyanins and tannins, while enhancing acidity and freshness.
Juvé & Camps Reserva de la Família
For many Catalans, the name Juvé & Camps is synonymous with high-quality sparkling Cava, and this Reserva de la Família is no exception. The world’s bestselling Gran Reserva Cava Brut Nature and Juvé & Camps’ flagship, it is the embodiment of the family’s commitment to quality. Made from certified organic Xarel·lo, Macabeu, and Parellada grapes, hand-picked and sorted from the estate vineyards, this is an attractive and bright Cava, with tiny, plentiful bubbles, and notes of ripe white fruits followed by hints of fennel, toast and citrus.