The Holidays can be a fun time, but it can also be a stressful time dealing with family or situations that are uncomfortable, so here’s some Catalan wine choices to help you with the most challenging of holiday moments.
Okay so you have those relatives who are all about appearances and having the best of everything. They’re the ones who brag about their Gucci bags, or their latest artwork via some famous American artist from New York, or their best friend is (insert Spain famous actor here). What do we recommend? Catalan sparkling, but not just any Catalan sparkling.
Recommends: We recommend Loxarel’s 109, which comes in a PAPER wrapping, aged for almost 10 years and not disgorged. It screams elegance, plus you can tell stories about the winery’s history from the Spanish Civil War. The other? Mil•lenni by Maria Rigol Ordi which is aged up to 3 years, and comes in its own special box. You can tell stories about their family history, which dates back to 1897, and wax tales about their long historic cava making tradition.
Where to buy: Vins Al Quadrat – see more on this store here. Sam and Joan have a wide selection of fantastic wines just outside of downtown Barcelona. Plus you can have tapas while you shop.
Do we need to talk about the hipsters? Of course. Every family has one with the beard, the glasses, and the ironic trucker hats, or some sort of hat. Wealthy hipsters usually have a Land Rover (probably the Ranger Rover Velar), while less wealthy ones are all about their fixie. Okay, so what’s the wine choice for them? It’s all about Natural wines. Don’t mess with Mother Nature. Natural, natural, natural. But don’t go for the ones that have the taint of poo poo or that metal taste, because while hipsters think that’s the signature for natural wines, it’s really not. I mean hipster winers are all into big poo in their wine, but excessive Brettanomyces is really not something to brag about in wine. Not a fan.
Recommends: For the fixie hipster, for sure Tan Natural by Terra Remota. Grenache and Tempranillo and no metal taint, and no poo tones. One of my fave natural wines ever. It’s from alt Emporda, which is great for hiking and everything natural. For the wealthy hipster? Definitely 2010 Clos Lentiscus Sumoll Ferestec. It’s rare, runs 50€ a bottle and it’s 100% local grape varietal from the Garraf region of Penedes, plus it has spent 5 years on the lees (no Bretty issues either). A win-win – natural wine and you get to enjoy it as well.
The Wine Snob Relatives
Yeah, we can’t stand these guys. No offence to all of you who have WSET levels, and want to be “masters of wine” but a great bunch of you talk down to the rest of us, and pontificate ad nauseam about “notes” and “palate” and “terroir” and basically break down wines to the point it’s not enjoyable, because you like to hear yourself talk. These types are also the ones who like to be “movie critics” and ruin every popcorn film created. Hey, I like every Avengers film, and almost every Marvel film, so shuttup. For you “somms” or “wine educators” who actually make wine tastings fun, (LIKE WINE FOLLY YOU ROCK!!) thank you. Ok, soap box over. So what wines for these types? You have to either give them something they’ll rave about, or something that will shut them up, having them go “Mmmmmm ….. mmmmmm”, for hours. Maybe having them shuttup is the better option so here’s two for you:
Recommends: Go for some obscure grape varietal that is uber rare, and uber tasty. Sol i Serena from Cellers d’en Guilla fits the bill. It’s a local “rancio wine” which aged in glass jars outside in the sun for 2 years. Great for apertif or desert. Go for aperitif so they’ll stay silent for the dinner. Otherwise just go for Sant Antoni from Cellers Scala Dei, a single estate, single varietal wine from old vine Grenache. And the fact that Parker gave it a 95 means your Wine Snob will be happy.
Where to buy: La Vinicola on Carrer Girona usually have both. However, the staff there will give you other recommends, should there be a run on both wines, including several single estate wines in the Scala Dei repertoire. Cellers d’en Guilla also has a couple other rarities, including some with “Grenache gris” a local varietal indigenous to Catalunya.
Look, the bottom line is, wines are great for the holidays. For us “plebs” who just want to enjoy a quality wine at a great price, you’re in luck because Catalunya has a huge plethora of choices, since the availability of Catalan wines in local stores has also increased in the last few years, for a variety of reasons, including something that begins with an “I”.
Recommends: If you’re looking for affordable and tasty wines, check out Celler Mas Vicenç. Their white El Terrat, made with Muscat and Macabeo, is a young wine for under 8€. Their red, Nit de Lluna, a crianza of Tempranillo and Syrah, with barrel ageing for 10 months, is just over 8€. Best part is you can buy them online from the winery, or find them at several stores in the Barcelona area. Their labels are a conversation piece for dinner alone. Arty and tasty combined.
Where to Buy: You can buy at Tribut by El Petit Celler or here’s a link for online buy: https://masvicens.com/en/shop/
Happy Holidays! Enjoy your faves from Catalunya over the break!