Catalonia, or Catalunya in the local lingo, is a fiercely independent region of Spain. Well, it’s not strictly speaking independent, but you know what I mean! It has its own customs, foods, and language. Any visitor to Barcelona knows, if you want good service and a smile, you use the Catalan words in the guidebook!
Catalunya has a generic DO for its wines from the whole area. A DO (Denominación de Origen) is a stamp of approval for wine from a certain area. In Catalunya it’s about a region wide quality. Anything Catalunya DO should be more than drinkable, which is useful to know!
But Catalunya itself is made up of just over ten separate wine regions going from the mountainous Terra Alta DO in the south of Catalunya to the…well…mountainous area of Empordá DO up by the Pyrenees in Southern France. The mountains are important, making specific micro-climates for grape farming, but there are also vast inland plains, and gorgeous sundrenched ocean areas too. There are just so many options if you want to grow some grapes.
Priorat is the most famous area. It’s one of only two DOCa’s (DOQ in Catalan) in the whole of Spain, with Rioja DOCa being the other. DOCa stands for Denominación de Origen Calificada. DO is the usual mark of quality, but if a wine region has had a DO for 10 years or more it can apply to be a DOCa. It’s that extra stamp of quality for the consumer. Long story short, you see a Priorat DOCa or DOQ on the shelf, you should (in theory) be onto a winner!
Maybe it’s the amount of different names of regions on the bottles that confuse wine drinkers? Maybe that’s why Catalunya doesn’t get the sales or the recognition that its wines deserve?
Well this week we’re going to change all that, right?
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