The second part of our wine adventure to seek out and visit the best wine-producing areas of Catalonia takes us to more superb wine regions of this very unique part of Spain. Located in the northeast of Spain, the focal point of the wine industry in Catalonia is the Comarca region. This region has a long tradition of wine-making and is the founder of Cava sparkling wine, the equivalent to the French Champagne region. By turn of the 20th Century, Catalonia represented the quality side of the Spanish wine making industry and its wines are highly regarded around the world.
Costers del Segre
The most arid region of Catalonia’s wine-producing areas is Costers del Segre. It is remarkable in that it was the first region in their prestigious wine region to introduce non-native grape varieties. Grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay were planted alongside the traditional Spanish varieties. The white wines made in Costers del Segre are full-bodied and have a deep complex flavor. While the reds are fruity with plenty of alcohol and almost blackcurrant in color.
Montsant is one of the new kids on the block as far as Catalonia wine-producing goes. It was not recognized as a wine-producing area until the early 2000’s, but its wine history far predates this as it used to be part of the larger Tarragona region. A special request from the mountainous region of Montsant to have its own denomination was agreed to and ever since this area has gone from strength to strength. Over half of the wine produced from Montsant wineries is destined for export. And it produces almost only red wines that are prized for their strength which are also are full-bodied and deep in flavor.
This Catalonian wine-producing area is probably the least known of all the wine regions of the northeast of Spain. Until the last couple of decades the wine made in Terra Alta was just for home consumption and rarely was exported to other areas of the country. Terra Alta means High Lands which describes the area to a tee as it is mountainous and hilly. The terroir produces a highly intricate type of wine and the most famous from this area is Terra Alta Garnatxa Blanca which has a rich golden color and if full of flavor.
Pla de Bages
Another little-known wine-producing area of Catalonia is Pla de Bages, in fact the whole growing area is just over five hundred thousand hectares in size. It was not until the early 1990’s that this tiny wine area had recognition as an official wine producer although its actual name is meant to come from the god of wine Bacchus. Unfortunately, like other areas of the Barcelona region, Pla de Bages suffered greatly from the phylloxera outbreak which spread from France. This small region did not recover until around two decades ago where wine production finally got back to normal.
Catalonia is sometimes overlooked as one of the great wine-producing areas of Spain. And although it does not produce large quantities for export, the wine made in this region is on the whole quality and is very much respected by wine connoisseurs.