Catalunya, the supra-appellation of origin

Vineyards in Catalonia

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Today we publish for all our subscribers Online Peñin Guide the latest tastings carried out by our team in the areas of D.O. Catalunya (63 wines), D.O. Costers del Segre (63 wines) and D.O. Conca de Barbera (51 wines). In total, more than 170 brands that give us a current portrait of Catalan wine in this part of the map.

As far as the style of Mediterranean wines is concerned, Catalonia has a lot to say. This autonomous community is the one with the largest number of appellations of origin, up to eleven, including the inter-community Cava and Catalunya, a supra-appellation of origin and the protagonist of today's article.

What's new about this 41,426-hectare appellation of origin?

It is striking how static this great appellation is in terms of year-to-year variability. The novelties here usually come from wineries present in other Catalan DOs that have decided to create a line of new, simple and inexpensive wines, such as Domenio Wines, which has incorporated a new line of wines of this profile called Capvespre, six wines between 4 and 5 euros, all of them acceptable but without great ambitions.

However, this reading of the simpler wine and its relationship with the DO would not be entirely fair, as from time to time there are also products of a higher level and price, even if they are minor in number. For example, the same winery we have just mentioned, Domenio Wines, has also presented this year a new, more ambitious wine, Domenio Sumoi Negre 2016 (16.49 euros), a red wine from the indigenous Sumoll grape that has obtained 91 points in Peñin Guide and is in line with the fresh, easy-drinking wines that are so much in demand nowadays, a great success that left a great taste in our mouths.

Only 9 wines scored 90 points or more, which should draw our attention to the overall level reached by the wines of DO Catalonia today. The DO's greatest value, as every year, comes from Clos d'Agon, responsible for the three best wines tasted by the team in our recent publication. This year's top-scoring wine was Clos D'Agon Selección Especial 2018, a blend of cabernet franc, petit verdot and cabernet sauvignon that sells for 80 euros, the highest selling price by far in the whole DO.

The fact that Catalunya has a wine and a winery of this level in its ranks adds vital value to the whole, as it shows that this label is not only linked to economic and "adequate" wines, but also has the ambition to incorporate premium wines among its ranks. In this line of wineries that build value around the Catalunya brand is also Mas de la Pansa, a small project from Conca de Barberà that has bottled a Parellada, Mas de la Pansa Parellada 2017, which has become the fourth best wine of the session, with an elegant and mineral style that seeks to give prominence to a grape that we are used to seeing accompanied in traditional Cava blends, and which sells for 22 euros. The Mes que Paraules winery, with its single varietal Cabernet Sauvignon, Molt Més Que Paraules 2013 (21.50 euros), a wine with a few years behind it that retains a subtle and elegant reduction.

Missing opportunities

Catalunya has been on the scene long enough to have made clear its commitment to the future. It is a D.O. that allows a wide range of varieties to be produced, including those native to Catalonia, but so far it has not wanted to champion this local movement, not realising that time is passing and opportunities are being lost.

It also happens, and to a certain extent it is logical, that wine projects imposed by humans on the basis of political arguments, which, it must be said, are not subject to the variables that matter most here, such as the soil, the climate and the grapes, usually do not end up succeeding.

Catalonia faces a major challenge: to give content and value to its wines, or let it follow a course aimed at marketing the brands with the highest volume, which could lead to significant losses among its ranks that would detract from the value of its wines.

The best wines of Catalunya

Wine Winery Type Varieties Points Price
Clos D’Agon Selección Especial 2018 T Bodegas Clos d’Agon Red Cabernet franc, petit verdot, cabernet sauvignon 94 80€
Clos D’Agon 2018 T Bodegas Clos d’Agon Red Cabernet franc, syrah, petit verdot, cabernet sauvignon 93 37€
Clos D’Agon 2019 B Bodegas Clos d’Agon White Viognier 93 27€
Mas de la Pansa Parellada 2017 B Mas de la Pansa White Parellada 92 22€
Molt Més Que Paraules 2013 T R Celler Més Que Paraules Red Cabernet sauvignon 92 21,50€
Domenio Sumoi Negre 2016 Domenio Wines by Cellers Domenys Red Sumoll 91 16,49€
Mas Picosa de Flor en Flor 2020 T Celler de Capçanes Red Garnacha, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, tempranillo 90 -
Maset del Lleó Syrah 2017 T R Bodegas Maset Red Syrah 90 11,50€
Vins de Taller Geum 2020 T Vins de Taller Red Merlot 90 13€
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