Home Winners > Winners 2018 > SPAIN: Catalonia, Including Priorat

Winner Details

 Spain: Catalonia, Including Priorat

2018 Gold 4       Silver 5                Bronze 0             Commended 4
2017 Gold 1       Silver 9                Bronze 4             Commended 6

Our tasters often struggle with Catalonia. They seem to like the idea of it more than the actuality – an emotional love for places like Priorat, but a hard-nosed recognition that such massive, powerful wines can be of limited use to anyone who doesn’t serve half a tonne of rare beef every day.

It’s unusual for this region to get more than a couple of spaces on our Gold List. So to end up with four Golds, this year here was a pretty good result, suggesting that once the tasters had weeded out the less-impressive wines in the first round of judging they rather enjoyed what was left.

Sure, you need to pick with care – but commercially these wines have real merit. It’s a rare region in this competition where more than half the medals are under £10.


‘I was excited by the prospect of [the white] flight – you expect real sommelier wines here – but they were ultimately disappointing. The light, entry-level style isn’t great value for money, the aromatic wines were lacking in freshness, and those trying to use oak didn’t have enough fruit to balance.’ Raphael Thierry, Street XO

‘The reds were big and oaky. Those sound like negative terms, because we all like subtlety and acidity, but some people aren’t necessarily into that.’ James Fryer, Woodhead 17

‘The reds can be challenging, so you need to find the right customer.’ Sarah Jane Evans MW, team leader

‘A lot of the red wine producers have handled the fruit well, and there were also lots of herbal, black olive, secondary flavours coming through.’ Euan McColm, Beaverbrook

Award winners

Found 13 wines

Spain: Catalonia, including Priorat

Casa Mariol, Reserva, Syrah, Terra Alta 2012, Catalonia, Spain

Gold medal winner

This drew praise – and a Gold medal – from our judges, with team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW enjoying its ‘lovely aroma, even a touch volatile, with a lifted mid-weight palate, dark tannins and grippy length’, while for Woodhead 17’s James Fryer it was ‘super-dark and earthy, with dusty purple plums and white pepper notes with baking spice and velvety tannins, some bayleaf herbs and meatiness’. Meanwhile Alex Pitt of Typing Room appreciated its ‘tobacco and sweet red fruit characters’.

£10.30 Top Selection Ltd

Gratavinum, 2πr 2014, Priorat, Spain

Gold medal winner

This was ‘dark and charismatic’, said Beaverbrook’s Euan McColm, revelling in this Gold Lister’s ‘concentrated bramble fruits and black olives with huge intensity’, adding that it was ‘approachable now, but with great ageing potential’. Team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW concurred: ‘Supple juiciness is the hallmark, plump and fleshy with nicely balanced tannin, and plenty of life ahead.’ ‘Bold and concentrated, but not in your face,’ concluded Typing Room’s Alex Pitt.

£20.15 Top Selection Ltd

Raventos de Alella, Pansa Blanca 2016, Catalonia, Spain

Gold medal winner

Sumita Sarma of Sumilier enjoyed this Gold Lister’s varied dimensions, picking up on its ‘honeysuckle flowers, ripe lemons, passion fruit and mango, and potpourri essence with soft spices’, while finding it had a ‘strong personality, crisp and refreshing acidity, with harmonious integration of acidity and fruits’. ‘Great character, with camomile and stone fruits, and some tropical fruit too,’ thought The Pig Hotel’s Jacopo Mazzeo, appreciating its ‘full body and pronounced intensity’.

£9.47 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Cara Nord, Blanc, Conca de Barberà 2017, Catalonia, Spain

Gold medal winner

This Gold medallist’s ‘clean, fresh palate allows the fruit to glow unfettered’, thought team leader Angela Reddin, who appreciated notes of ‘wild flowers, quince and cooked apples’. Street XO’s Raphael Thierry heaped praise on this ‘fragrant, easy-going wine, with a very good aromatic profile, good freshness and a long finish’, while team leader Jade Koch highlighted its ‘intense, oily and rich nose, but lighter pear drops and sliced fresh apple on the palate’.

£9.05 Matthew Clark

Pinord, Chateldon, Reserva, Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Penedès, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Black olive tapenade, anis or tarragon aromas,’ began an enthused Euan McColm of Beaverbrook, loving its ‘chunky tannins and meaty finish, rich and fruity, and exciting’, with team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW highlighting ‘intense pure fruit, blueberries with citric/bramble freshness and punchy acidity’.

£10.13 Wine Poole

Castell del Remei, Gotim Blanc, Costers del Segre 2016, Catalonia, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Very quaffable by the glass with broad appeal,’ began team leader Jade Koch, liking its ‘elegant, refreshing, light and juicy style, lemon and peach fruit balanced and simple’.

£7.44 Boutinot

Codorníu, Vol d'Anima, Tinto, Costers del Segre 2014, Catalonia, Spain

Silver medal winner

‘Yes!’ exclaimed Beaverbrook’s Euan McColm, who’d found ‘one for the barbecue that could be drunk chilled, with concentrated fruits, plump and juicy, with very seductive, velvety tannins’. ‘Dark red fruit nose with some salami and bacon fat, bright red apple and baking spices,’ added Woodhead 17’s James Fryer.

£8.77 Matthew Clark

Pinord, +7 2012, Priorat, Spain

Silver medal winner

Woodhead 17’s James Fryer found ‘oak cedar and tobacco aromas, showing a little bit of age’ on the nose, followed by ‘dried plum fruits and oaky character on the palate, some touches of coconut and drying tannin through to the finish’.


Casa Mariol, Garnatxa Negra, Terra Alta 2016, Catalonia, Spain

Silver medal winner

Rita Kardos of Gauthier Soho highlighted ‘black cherry, plum, caramelised sugar aromas with smooth tannins, red fruit and good acids on a fairly light palate’, while Woodhead 17’s James Fryer found it to be ‘polished, with prune and raisin on the palate, sappy and liquorice notes, a big wine for the price’.

£8.64 Top Selection Ltd

Bonfire Hill, No Stone Unturned, Organic, Garnacha/Cariñena, Terra Alta 2015, Catalonia, Spain

Commended medal winner

£11.67 Boutinot

Cara Nord, Negre, Conca de Barberà 2015, Catalonia, Spain

Commended medal winner

£9.05 Matthew Clark

Tomàs Cusiné, Vilosell, Costers del Segre 2015, Catalonia, Spain

Commended medal winner

£12.11 Bibendum

Codorníu, Vol d'Anima, Blanco, Costers del Segre 2016, Catalonia, Spain

Commended medal winner

£8.77 Matthew Clark


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