If you are passionate about wine, you sure know about the most famous DO wine regions in Catalonia such as Penedes and Priorat. These regions are known not only for the proved quality of their wines, but also for ancient wine history and innovation. These are the regions where Romans produced wine for the Empire and where first stainless steel fermentation tanks were utilized (Penedes). But old veterans have to give way to the youngsters, the wineries of the new generations with equally exciting history but yet not highlighted on the map of the wine world are the new upcoming trend.
1. Pla de Bages
Pla de Bages is probably one of the most interesting to explore. Though, it is a small DO (Denominación de Origen) wine region, it has very interesting history and some uncommon local varieties, apart from international Merlot, Syrah, etc. It is located northwest of Barcelona and lies in the feet of the beautiful mountain peaks of Montserrat. This is where Romans used to produce wine for the mighty Roman Empire; Bages comes from the name Bacchus, a Roman God of wine. After phylloxera it was one of the latest regions to restore winemaking and to acquire DO status, in 1995.
Especially stands out an ancient chateau property, Oller del Mas, in this region that cultivates uncommon and rare verities Picapoll Blanc and Picapoll Negre; verities with heightened acidity levels that give balanced and crispy wines that perfectly complement your food. In this DO you will discover not only beautiful wines but also breathtaking views. This is your reminiscent of a classic French Provence Chateau cellars.
2. Emporda (cat. L’ampordà)
This DO soon will be catching up with famous Penedes and Priorat as its getting more and more attention from the enotourism. This is where apart from delicious red wines you will also enjoy a beautiful landscape of Costa Brava. This region extends to the French border, where wineries are now focusing on the smaller craft wine production, therefore attracting attention of wine novelty hunters. Also with a good share of ancient winemaking history this Mediterranean climate and strong wind region is perfect for modern organic farming; another bonus for modern times.
3. Costers del Segre
This region will appeal to the wine travelers from California; they will feel a little bit more like home tasting the wines of this region. Whilst going through various changes, this region adopted modern techniques of California, and is now producing lovely Cabernets. Costers del Serge though with quite tough climate conditions due to its inland setting and relative weather extremes, has the most versatile wine portfolio in the whole Spain, including Cava production, international, Spanish and regional varieties.
This DO is a great example of hard work of its members. Formerly part of the more famous Tarragona wine making region, it finally worked its way out to be an independent DO with its own specialties. Unlike Costers del Serge, Montsant region is only focusing on its local grape verities such as Carignan and Garnaxa.
The appealing trivia of this DO is its kosher wine production. A kosher is a wine made by Hebrew Laws, a process that must be certified by a local rabbi or a person authorized by Jewish community. It is purely conventional winemaking as no chemicals are added and only naturally produced yeast that is on the skins of the grapes is used for the fermentation, the whole process is thoroughly supervised. So this wines apeal not only to a member of the Jewish Community but also to environmentalists wine lovers.
Wouldn´t you want to use during your wine explorations an ancient road that in the times of Roman Empire used to connect Rome and Andalucía, and still winds through this unknown and small DO of Catalonia? Well here is your chance to walk the steps of Romans whilst sipping some local wines.
Located in the close proximity of the sea and the mountains, distinct climatic zones are characteristic to this DO. Mostly notable for its fresh and crispy whites, it also produces some cavas. This smallest of all DOs has both ancient history of quality and traditions and forward thinking approach, needs some more attentions from passionate wine lovers; exploring this region they could discover something very interesting.
Have you explored any of those wine regions? Do it before they become too trendy!