When we think about Catalan wines (which are perfect for enjoying at your luxury villa with private pool in Spain!), we tend to think about the major wine-growing regions such as DO Empordà from northern Catalonia and DO Alella wines from the Mediterranean coast. We rarely stop to consider one of Catalonia’s smallest wine-growing regions: Pla de Bages, located within the Province of Barcelona.
About Pla de Bages
Covering just 600 hectares, Pla de Bages is the smallest DO region in all of Catalonia, but despite its size it certainly has a lot to offer. Believed to be named after Bacchus, the Roman God of Wine, a large number of grape varieties are grown here, including the red varieties of Garnatxa and Ull de Llebre and picapoll for white wines. Boasting two different types of soil, Pla de Bages is renowned for its diverse offerings.
Right on Trend
Believe it or not, Pla de Bages is actually one of the oldest locations in Barcelona for wine growing, but its agricultural challenges of the past have made growth and development slower than other regions. However, thanks to the influx of ‘boutique’ wines on offer here, Pla de Bages is said to the ‘the next big thing’ in Catalan wines, offering trendier reds, whites, and sparkling cavas than their competitors.
Visiting Pla de Bages
There are a number of tours that you can take of Pla de Bages, which take you right into the heart of the 13th-century chateau where the magic happens, and demonstrate the processes that help this region offer the highest quality wines in Barcelona. For easy access to the region, rent a house in Barcelona and rent a car locally; it’s less than an hour’s drive from the city centre to Pla de Bages.
Italy has prosecco, France has champagne, and the United States has sparkling wine. Spain’s own version of this bubbly beverage — known as cava — rounds out the list as a sparkling treat to be treasured during your next visit to Catalonia.
The alcoholic drink grown from grapes can (technically) only be called ‘champagne’ if it is produced in the region of France with the same name. Thus, various countries in the world that bottle their own versions have also adopted their own nomenclature.
Catalonia’s signature beverage was first produced as a sparkling wine in 1872. It is grown and nurtured in eight different growing regions in northeastern Spain, including Catalonia in which there are 11 districts of origin. One of these districts, Penedès, is responsible for producing 95% of the nation’s cava.
Spain makes every attempt to produce its cava using only Spanish grapes, but French varieties make appeareances every now and then. The three grapes that are used in cava production are macabeu, parellada, and xarello, all of which are white grapes.
In order to be considered cava, the wine must be produced using the traditional méthode champenoise, (or in Spanish, the método tradicional) which involves a second fermentation period that takes place in the bottle.
The sparkling beverage — available in both white and rosé varieties, the latter of which is mixed with a darker Spanish grape called Garnacha — is often served at special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, and baptisms. Spain’s most famous cava producers are Freixenet and Codorníu, both of which offer tours and tastings at their facilities in Catalonia.
To learn more about these excursions and how to reserve your place on a cava tour, visit the Attractions page on our website.