Spain offers many high-quality and budget-friendly wines. These are some of our favourite places to try Catalan wines without breaking the bank. Cheers!
Following a record harvest in 2013, Spain has overtaken Italy and even France in terms of wine production. Catalonia is a major wine-growing region, with 12 appellations of origin (Denominación de Origen) of its very own.
One of the best ways of discovering Catalan wine is by visiting some of the specialised shops presented in this article, rarely visited by tourists. Time for a trip off the beaten track!
Antiga Casa de Tesi Mascarell, a traditional wine shop
A short walk from the Parc de la Ciutadella, this shop offers dozens of different varieties, organised by appellation of origin (DO in Spanish) on high wooden shelves. The décor is simple and restrained, but staff will be more than happy to advise you in your choice of Catalan wines. Given the quality of the products on offer, the prices compare favourably to what you’ll find in a supermarket.
The family-run shop also offers a wide range of spirits, including whisky, vodka and rum.
Last but not least, it’s ideally situated in the middle of the popular Born quarter, making it the perfect place to stop off and choose a bottle for your evening drinks.
Why? For the variety of wines on offer and for its central location
How much? Between €2 and €30 a bottle
When? Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 1.30pm and 4pm – 8pm; Saturday, 8.30am – 2pm
Where? Carrer Princesa, 55 (Born)
Monvínic, the temple of wine
Big brother to Fastvínic (which specialises in top-quality sandwiches to take away), Monvínic is one Barcelona’s great wine destinations. Widely lauded by the press since its opening (Financial Times, Le Monde, Food & Wine and more!), it has become an international icon in the world of wine. We feel that this success has a lot to do with the originality of the concept.
Monvínic isn’t just a restaurant: it’s also a wine bar, a bodega which sells bottles to take away, and an information centre. The setting is truly exceptional, and has recently been renovated.
Push open the heavy door, and enter into the palace of wine! The décor is natural and focused on top-quality materials, right down to the gilded cutlery.
- Top tip: go to Monvínic for a weekday lunch. Behind the shop, you’ll find a charming terrace, a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city. The restaurant offers a lunch menu which is well worth the €19.50 price tag, including starter, main and dessert plus a glass of wine. There’s a choice of two starters and two mains every day. The food is of the “gastro-bistro” style: small servings of creative cuisine. The products used are all fresh and combined in new and surprising ways which will make you see them in a different light.
- If you prefer to visit in the evening, it’s best to book ahead to get a table in the restaurant, or simply opt for the wine bar, where reservations are not required.
For its sophisticated décor and the expertise on offer
How much? Lunch menu: less than €20
When? Tuesday to Friday, 1.30 – 3.30pm and 8 – 10.30pm; Saturday and Monday, 8pm – 11.30pm (no lunch service)
Where? Carrer de la Diputació, 249
Di-Vi, a friendly place to discover Catalan wines
Di-ví will take you off the beaten track. On the corner of Carrer Muntaner and Valencia, the shop is like a little world of wine in its own right, offering all of the different Catalan appellations from carefully-selected estates, and a remarkable variety of cavas.
Di-ví’s unique character lies in the original and well-designed layout of the shop, which gives it a friendly, approachable feel. The owner has managed to create an atmosphere combining simplicity and passion, and is on hand to respond to any questions you may have.
Don’t hesitate to enquire about the various tasting sessions (“catas”) held in the shop, popular with local residents: at least once a week, representatives from different estates come in to the shop.
Each time, a different Catalan grower is invited to present their estate and offer tastings of their wines. Learning about wine from the grower rather than from a sommelier is fascinating, and gives a far better understanding of the product’s character.
Maria, the owner, also offers cheese and wine, chocolate and wine or introduction to wine tasting events, sharing her passion for her products in a lively and friendly atmosphere.
Why? For the expertise on offer and the regular tasting sessions. Groups welcome (15 people).
How much? From €6 a bottle
When? Monday to Saturday, 10.30am – 9.30pm
Where? Carrer Muntaner, 92 (on the corner with Carrer Valencia)
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About the author
Léa is a journalist-in-training, always on the hunt for bargains. From her arrival, she fit right in with the "vida loca”, swept away by the seductive atmosphere of Barcelona. She also fell under the spell of Barcelona's cosmopolitan, striking and spontaneous architecture, a great reflection of her own personality!