A few bottles of local wine are the perfect addition to your luxury villa holiday especially when Sitges is situated in the heart of the Penedès region. It is also an easy day trip to the glorious wine regions of Montsant and Priorat. We’ll share with you our favourite vineyards for wine tasting in these three areas.
The smaller wineries of the region are welcoming and interesting, but you’ll often need to book an appointment. Our guest relations team (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Utopia Villas will be delighted to arrange transport, tours, and tastings for you.
First a quick tip on how Spain classifies its wine regions. The “denominación de origen” is a system that Spain uses to regulate quality of wines, as well 3.as other foodstuffs. Penedès and Montsant are both classified as “DO”, the second highest category. Priorat is one of only two regions to have the highest ranking, “DOCa”. Interestingly cava, the beautiful sparkling wine which is synonymous with Penedès, is the only style rather than a region, that has “DO” ranking. Wines from the region need to meet exacting grape varietal, production, aging, and quality standards to achieve the coveted standard.
This region stretches from the coast between Castelldefels and Tarragona up into the hinterland around Sant Sadurní d’Anoia. The historic town of Vilafranca del Penedès is the heart of the area, and is home to the interesting Vinseum, a museum dedicated to the wines of the region. There are more than 140 wine producers in the region, with two of Spain’s largest, Codorníu and Freixenet calling Penedès home.
The area is famous for white varietals. Xarello dominates, with Macabeo, and Parellada the next most prominent grapes. There are also significant Chardonnay and Muscat vineyards, with a scattering of Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc around. Smaller qualities of reds are grown, predominantly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo.
Penedès is synonymous with cava. This beautiful sparkling white wine developed a bad reputation due to a flood of cheap exports. Nothing could be further from reality with top cavas challenging champagne for quality and beating it out of sight on price. Cava uses the same production method as champagne, with the bottle fermentation creating a beautiful, fine bubble. The grapes used are traditionally Xarel.lo, Macabeo, and Parellada but you’ll find some wine makers experimenting with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Subirat Parent with some wonderful results.
Cava ranges from very dry (Brut Nature at around 0-3g of sugar / litre) through to sweet (Dolce at around 50+grams of sugar per litre) and although the vast majority is white, there are exceptional pink cavas worth hunting down.
So, where should you go to taste what the region has to offer? Here are our favourite Penedès wine tasting venues.
This beautiful vineyard is housed in the original 18th century building. Along with the cellar door they have a lovely museum with that showcases the vineyard’s history with the 4th generation of family winemakers currently producing the wines. They offer a range of fascinating tours in Catalan, Castellano, and English – check their website for details.
100% organic, 100% manual harvest, 100% delicious the range of wines are all worth sampling. They have a range of reds, whites, and cavas on offer and available for tasting.
220 years of history lies behind a decidedly modern approach to making wine. Biodynamic, organic, and natural this amazing winery produces a range of wines, with a focus on some exceptional cavas. As well as tastings they offer a range of tours in a range of languages (see here for details), including a 4×4 tour of some of the terroir that sets the region apart.
A small vineyard that produces 18,000 bottles of cava per year. This vineyard has a range of intimate tastings and tours as well as some wonderful wines. They have a “make your own cava” workshop which gives you an insight into how this wonderful varietal is produced.
This small family owned winery is also worth a visit for a mix of setting, hospitality, and great wines. You’ll need to contact them to organise a tasting or tour as they don’t have a set schedule. Their historic underground cellars are stunning.
This upmarket winery produces cava and still wines of exceptional quality. The tastings are educational and paired with some local manchego cheese and fuet it is a great way to learn about the region.
The famous producers Torres, Codorníu, and Freixenet all offer tours and tastings at their impressive facilities. These companies produce wines that are sold globally as well as being enjoyed locally.
Perbacco and El Raco de Vi in Sitges are great places to taste a few wines from Penedès and further afield. Knowledgeable staff will be happy to talk you through the wines available for tasting at their bar and to offer suggestions for a bottle or two to take away. Wines Cellar also has friendly and knowledgeable staff as well as a great selection of excellent wines.
And for something a little different,
Wine bike tour of Alt-Penedès
This relaxed pedal with Easy Cycling Sitges along downhill or flat paths around the Alt-Penedès region takes in a winery and some stunning scenery. The knowledgeable tour guides give you a fascinating insight into the region and the vine-to-bottle process of its wines while you work up a little thirst!
One of only two regions in Spain to be awarded the prestigious DOCa classification the tiny region of Priorat is well worth a visit. It has a recorded winemaking tradition dating back to 1163. An hour and a half drive from your Sitges luxury villa this mountain top haven has shot to prominence through the reputation of its exceptional red wines. You’ll find predominantly Garnacha Peluda, Cariñena (or Samsó), Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah grown here. Four white varieties are also grown in much smaller quantities, Garnacha blanca, Macabeo, Chenin, and the famous sherry grape Pedro Ximénez.
Here are our favourite vineyards to visit to sample these famous wines:
Taste these exceptional wines in the beautiful surrounds of the mountains. A great introduction to the region’s wines. They offer a range of tastings both at the winery and at their wonderful restaurant that serves great local food.
This amazing building is surrounded by amazing views and is home to some wonderful wines. Tours and tastings need a booking but are well worth the effort. Fascinating, friendly, and memorable.
In one form or another Scala Dei has been producing wines for hundreds of years and their vineyards are, on average, more than fifty years old and are the highest vineyards in Priorat. They organise tours and tastings on request.
Another wonderful small Priorat winery that opens its doors to visitors by appointment. They offer tastings in their old vineyard in Grattalops, including a beautiful sunset tasting as well as food and wine pairings.
There are a number of specialist wine shops that will have a number of local wines available for tasting, along with some advice and information. Try one of Vinum in Porrera or Vins i Olis, Calaix de Sastre, or Lotus in Falset. All of these will offer wines from both Priorat and from Montsant.
The DO region of Montsant surrounds the hilltop Priorat and so visiting the two areas at the same time is easy. Finding time to give Montsant its due is harder, with all the attention that Priorat gets. But, take your time here because the wines and the wineries deserve your full attention. Less than 90 minutes from your Sitges luxury villa you can easily make this a day trip to remember.
Declared it’s own DO region in 2002, Montsant produces over 90% red wines, and over 60% is exported around the globe. Garnacha Peluda and Cariñena are the most prominent varietals, while you’ll also find Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot. For the less common whites look out for Garnatxa Blanca and Macabeu.
This impressive winery produces quality wines and some wonderful olive oils very much respectful of traditions of the area. It offers a range of tastings, tours, and meal options to cater for all tastes.
These producers are in perfect sync with their surroundings. They provide a range of tastings tours, partnerships with local restaurants, and experiences to really get a feel for what they are achieving in Montsant.
Celler de Capçanes
This cooperative winery produces some gems and interestingly about 5% of what they bottle is kosher wine. As well as the usual tastings of some wonderful wines here you can tour the vineyards, mix and bottle your own wine, or do a wine tasting course.
Cooperativa Falset Marça
Another cooperative house in an amazing Modernista building. They offer guided tours and produce vermouth and olive oil as well as some great examples of the DO Montsant.
Again, these stores stock wines from both Montsant and Priorat. They are happy to discuss either with you. Vinum in Porrera, or Vins i Olis, Calaix de Sastre, or Lotus in Falset.
Enjoy the wines of the region while you holiday in one of our amazing Sitges villas
The wines of Spain are justly famous worldwide. Your villa vacation in Sitges, Barcelona puts you right in the heart of three of the most interesting wine regions. With Penedès, Montsant, and Priorat on your doorstep you are guaranteed to find the perfect local bottle to accompany every moment of your holiday. To view our full range of villas click here.