Spain’s third largest wine producing region, Catalunya is a near-autonomous region with its own language and culture. Located in the northeast of Spain, Catalunya, also known as Catalonia, is a stone’s throw from Roussillon, France, who they share a culture and lineage with. Viticulture has been present in Catalunya since 400BC, which is believed to have been introduced by the Phoenicians and Greeks through trade, but sometime in the 700s, during the Moors occupation of Spain, vines were neglected and vineyard sites were used for other purposes. It wasn’t until the late 1700s that viticulture made a resurgence. Now, Catalunya produces wines from varietals that we know and love like Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel-lo, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, Garnacha, Monastrell, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Mazuela (Carignan). These all thrive in Catalunya’s mediterranean climate, with warm coastal areas that experience moderate rainfall.
Some of the major subregions within Catalunya are: Cava DO, Penedès DO, and Montsant DO, which encircles Priorat DOP. Cava, Spain’s answer to Champagne, can be produced anywhere in Spain. Although, 95% of its production is in Cava DO, which focuses on the winemaking process that is similar to Champagne's but with different varietals. While Penedès DO produces some fantastic classic sparkling wines, their main focus is still wines, ranging in styles from red, white, and rose. Montsant DO is known for its high altitudes and producing focused, complex reds that are typically Garnacha based. In a similar fashion, Priorat DOP produces stunning wines that are reminiscent of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Priorat’s name is derived from “priory,” a reference to the monastery that was founded there in the 12th century.