Wine is an integral part of Spanish culture, and Barcelona is certainly no exception. Considering that you can order a good bottle for less than 20 euros in almost any restaurant in this city, it’s easy to understand why almost everyone drinks wine with their meals. Indeed, affordable wines are one reason behind the huge expansion of wine bars in Barcelona over the past decade. These new bars also celebrate a new generation of wine makers in Catalonia, creating an atmosphere where vino is part historic culture, and part fun. Some establishments specialize in natural wines, limited-edition bottles, or young creators experimenting with new and different grapes and flavors. Of course, there are some expensive bottles to be bought, but believe me, you don’t need to spend a fortune to taste an excellent caldo in this town, as the Spanish call their wines. Here are my five favorite places to explore the city’s wine culture:
Bar del Plà
Camila, the sommelier here, is one of the best in Barcelona, and many people come to this bar just to try their house wines. My favorites are the natural ones—no added sugars, no heavy machinery involved in the processing, and no chemicals. Try the Bassots (a dry, sumptuous white) or the Cosmic (a sweet, elegant red), and let Camila take care of the rest.
This bar only carries natural wines. The service can be slow—really slow—and the food is not excellent (too salty) but those wines make up for it all. Ask for the Partida Creus, a bottle of basic red that costs less than 10 dollars but tastes like it’s worth much more. Or, go for the Pur, a French wine (from Provence) that is both very difficult to find and to forget.
This is, quite simply, the largest and most ambitious wine bar in the city, in Spain, and possibly in all of Europe. They serve thousands of wines—just imagine the cellar—along with good food, all at reasonable prices. It’s difficult to tell you what to ask for here because they have practically everything.
La Vinya del Senyor
The wine menu of this bar is remarkable and—again—the prices are reasonable, but the real secret is its location: it's in the heart of El Born, the youngest and hippest neighborhood in Barcelona. Have a glass of Penedés or Costers del Segre on the terrace while eating some ham, and you’ll understand why this is one of the best spots in the city.
Bar a Vins Moritz
It might seem strange, but this beautiful wine bar is located in a beer factory. That is, no doubt, part of the charm to the place, which is always crowded with patrons who are (paradoxically) thirsty for good wine. Moritz serves 400 good caldos, all from Catalonia, and you can even buy wines by the weight. Try a Priorat—a classical and very rich wine from the Catalan.