Here we find ourselves bumbling into the end of the year and, as I’ve done in past years, it’s time to take a look at the best wines in Catalunya that I’ve tasted in 2022.
As with previous Best Of lists, while I’ve made a very narrow selection of the wines, I’ve not gone and just picked the absolute top scorers off the list as that would be a bit boring. I mean, what was the highest-scoring wine from everything I tasted this year? I think few would be shocked to find out that it was this one.
Instead, this list is all about the diversity in the region of Catalunya, showing various styles and of course, prices. This year they range from 11€ up to 73€ and an average price of €29 so the idea is that there’s something for everyone.
Note that this final list of 12+1 wines are not in any particular order. It wasn’t easy to make such a compact list and I had to leave out countless wines for various reasons (like this Parés Baltà Forcada as it was a pre-release sample) in lieu of others. After this initial list that’s free to view, paid subscribers can see the full reviews, scores, and price/quality listings for all the wines. Enjoy!
- Pepe Raventós – Vinya la Plana 2021
This was one of the wines I tasted for the Malvasia de Sitges report and despite taking a low-intervention approach to the winemaking, it really opens up a different side and interpretation of this variety and is now one of my favorite wines in the Pepe Raventós series.
- Vall Llach – Porrera – Vi de Vila 2020
I fee like this Vi de Vila could be in any of these “Best Of” selections as it’s a consistently-excellent wine that always displays vintage, territory, and most importantly, village with great aplomb. If all the “vi de vila” wines were at this level, the classification would have some real teeth. While I tasted this for the yearly DOQ Priorat report, I was quite fortunate to do so as the snow storm in January, 2021 destroyed almost all their 2020 wines and this was from a mere three barrels that remained. Easily one of the finest vintages of this wine produced to date.
- Can Ràfols dels Caus – Sumoll 2020
A lot of people don’t view Penedès as a red wine region, but they can in fact produce fine red wines and they even have some of their own traditional varieties to work with. I tried this wine from Sumoll for the Penedès report and it really blew me away as while people have been making Sumoll wines that are quite alright for some time, this really raised the bar.
- Agustí Torelló – Esporreres 2019
This year’s DO Montsant report gave me the chance to taste the line of wines from Agustí Torelló who to date are probably more well known for their AT Roca white wines they make in Penedès. All these wines from the northern part of Montsant are outstanding but this Esporreres that’s 100% Grenache, is simply delicate and lovely.
- Família Nin Ortiz – Planetes Blanc 2021
Despite tasting Carignan Blanc from Southern France as well as from around Catalunya for many years now, I’ve not been terribly wowed by any of the wines. Fresh, yes, but often very reduced and funky with blistering acidity. Nin-Ortiz has however put all doubts to rest with this, the latest release of their monovarietal wine. I haven’t a clue as to how they pulled this off, but this is really a fine wine now and I have to give them tremendous respect for showing a way forward with a variety that it seems no one had really cracked to date.
- Celler Credo – Miranius 2019
If you don’t know this winery, it’s the still wine project from Recaredo and each vintage keeps getting ever-more excellent. This 2019 Xarel·lo wine was simply top, showing how well the variety can perform if the winemaking doesn’t get in the way. On top of that, it’s very well priced.
- Abadia de Poblet – La Font Voltada 2017
Much like Sumoll in Penedès, Trepat was a variety that didn’t have a great deal of renown. This has been rapidly changing in DO Conca de Barberà in no small part due to the work by a number of people including Ricard Rofes (of Scala Dei fame) and his team at the winery. This is the winery’s ‘Grand Cru’ wine for Trepat which I went and visited late last year. There’s a tremendous amount of depth to this wine and it just keeps growing each time I taste it, showing that Trepat should not be regarded as simply a blending grape for Cava.
- Alicia i Josep Viticultors – Tentiber – Vi de Paratge 2018
I’d been badgering AJV to taste their wines for awhile now but they weren’t ready to release them as they’re a very new winery in DOQ Priorat. What we have here is an excellent debut wine from what was not a terribly great vintage. There’s nothing crazy happening here and it’s a Grenache/Carignan blend but it’s clear to see that they understand their vineyards and I very, very much look forward to tasting their new releases from even better vintages.
- Acústic Celler – Negre 2019
Somehow I’ve never included this wine on any previous lists. In addition to rectifying that by celebrating a wine that emotes the essence of Montsant perfectly, this is a truly stellar vintage of the wine. While the 2018s were fine, 2019 has come back in real force, with a very reasonable price for the quality level, and availability in many, many markets.
- Vins de Pedra – Trempat 2019
This project of Marta Pedra is one that I’ve been following since they emerged a decade ago. Like the Font Voltada, this wine also celebrates the Trepat variety but in something of a younger, more immediate profile which shows the versatility of this grape in Conca de Barberà.
- Jané Ventura – Malvasia de Sitges 2019
Here’s a very different take on Malvasia de Sitges from the Pepé Raventós one and it is in fact what I’d call the ‘classic’ profile. So, if you want to know what this quite excellent variety can do in its purest form, I highly recommend this wine, especially as Jané Ventura have been working with it for some time now.
- Mas Martinet – Camí Pesseroles 2019
I seem to often put one of the Martinet wines in these lists as, depending upon the year, they’re able to produce a quality wine that frames the vintage exceedingly well. For 2019, this was a hotter vintage and here, the Carignan in this wine works really well to absorb that, wrap around the Grenache and reflect it back to the drinker, speaking about this specific vineyard while at the same time, keeping the alcohol at the very low 13.5%. If this bottle exceeds your budget, I’d recommend checking out the Bru 2019 which is a very different wine but still reflects the ethos of the winery and the vintage at 1/4 the price.
- Bonus Track: Alta Alella – Cau d’en Genís 2021
I’ve already covered this wine in detail but felt it should be added to the list as DO Alella is often overlooked, Alta Alella is a fine winery, and most importantly, they’ve done fine work with this wine based on Garnatxa Peluda aka Hairy Grenache.
Is this everything that’s amazing in Catalunya? Lord no! There are of course countless excellent wines not included here. But if you want to explore further and see all the wines I’ve tasted along with their corresponding scores, please have a look at the much, much lengthier Tasting Reports or my articles on Catalan wines.
Cheers and the best of future wishes to you!