‘To travel across Spain and finally to reach Barcelona is like drinking a respectable red wine and finishing up with a bottle of champagne.’ – James A. Michener

Catalonia is a complicated place. Catalan cultural identity is as strong as any in Europe, despite the region’s only occasional periods of independence from Spain. Geographically, the warm, dry inland plain depends on water from the Ebro River, while the long Mediterranean coast rises into a range of mountains almost from the water’s edge. Those jagged mountains comprise some of Spain’s most isolated country, while the great port of Barcelona has been among Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities since the middle ages. It’s impossible to sum up a place that is one of Spain’s most important regions, but often feels like an entirely separate country. 

This has always been a place defined by travel. As the smoothest road between Iberia and the rest of Europe, people have been crossing Catalonia one way or another for millennia, bringing with them food, language, goods and ideas from all across the Mediterranean. This has left Catalonia with an impossibly rich palate, with cuisine that takes the best ideas from half a dozen cultures, and combines them with its own native sensibility to create a culinary scene second to none. This applies to Catalan vineyards too. There are Rioja-style wines aged in shiny new barrels and the deep black wines of Priorat. There are Cavas that truly rival Champagne, and a host of high elevation red and white wines from the mountains that rival the crunchy, fresh wines of the Loire or northern Italy. If Catalonian wine flies under the radar because it comes in so many forms, perhaps it’s time to celebrate that diversity.

There’s a little bit of everything in Catalonia. We can’t possibly get to everything with seven glasses of wine, but we’ll give it a try on Friday night, April 21st.