Last updated on September 7, 2018
With guided tastings of 10 quality whites, reds, rosés and cavas at some of Barcelona’s best wine bars and backstreet bodegas, Devour Barcelona’s wine tasting tour is the perfect way to get acquainted with Spain’s fertile vines.
About Devour Barcelona’s Wine Tasting Tour
This fun and informative tour – no hoity-toity snobbery here! – is led by a passionate and knowledgable sommelier called Fintan and takes place in the suitably charming neighbourhood of El Born.
Whether you’re an experienced slurper or a complete noob looking to accelerate your wine knowledge, Devour’s wine and tapas tasting tour is sure to pop your cork.
Head over to Devour’s website to book your tour now or read on to hear more about my personal experience on the tour.
I met Fintan and my new friends-to-be at a family-run Spanish restaurant in the ever charming Born barrio. After a quick introduction we sipped on sweet vermouth – a type of fortified wine that the Spanish drink religiously as a pre-meal aperitif – and nibbled on spicy patatas bravas and crispy little croquettes made with acorn-fed black hoof ham. It was a good start.
Bright-eyed and barrel-chested, Fintan instantly made us feel at ease as he ran us through the list of vino venues we’d be visiting, positively brimming with passion and enthusiasm as he did so.
“I know there can sometimes be a lot of stuffiness surrounding wine tasting, but please don’t feel shy or like you have to act a certain way. We’re just going to sip and enjoy and I’ll talk you through everything. I’m the sommelier, which, although sounds a bit posh, is just an old French word for ‘wine steward’. I’m just here to pour the wine!”
The “Make sure you look up!” Moment
Barcelona’s famous sunshine was in hiding on this particular day, but the ancient streets looked every bit as beautiful as they shimmered under a fresh film of summer rain. We strolled casually, stopping occasionally for Fintan to tell us tales about the barrio’s history…
This long street was at the heart of the neighbourhood and they used to have jousting tournaments here. On horseback!
And as we followed him deeper into the heart of the neighbourhood, past the pot plant balconies and bustling bars, I was constantly reminded why this has always been one of my very favourite neighbourhoods in Barcelona.
The “Blue cheese and wine nirvana” Moment
Hidden away on a sidestreet leading off El Born’s main artery, Fintan introduced us to his favourite wine bar in Barcelona. It was chic and stylish, with walls of wine and chunky wooden tables. But in true Spanish style there wasn’t even the faintest whiff of pretentiousness in the air.
“I love this place,” Fintan gushed. “I’d come here three times a… day if I could!”
“They specialise in Catalan wines, which, surprisingly, is not so common in Barcelona. There are so many great wines from Spain that most bars will have a variety from all over the country. And the prices are very good, considering the high quality. Their top tier wines, the bottles that are €40 – €50, they don’t actually mark up the prices, so you really get a lot of value for your money here.”
After introducing us to the sommelier, Alex Sanchez, Fintan poured us two different Cavas – a 2012 Vendrell Olivella Reserva Brut and a Maspujado Gran Reserva Bruth Nature NV – and we sat contently, losing ourselves in the refreshing flavours of each.
“Cava is actually made using the exact same process as Champagne. It’s just that only sparkling wine made in France’s Champagne region can legally be labeled as Champagne. And almost all of it is made in a little region just outside of Barcelona, called Peńedes.”
Though I was already feeling quite satisfied with the tapas and tostadas we’d already eaten, another round came out. This time topped with a pleasantly stinky blue cheese and berry jam, which transported me to a world of gastronomical euphoria when I washed it down with the rosé (rosado in Spanish) and white wines that Fintan poured generously and with great gusto.
The “Drinking wine from barrels at an old bodega” Moment
Now in a suspended state of contentedness, we strolled even more slowly over to an important place for Fintan. Located at the end of his street, this ancient bodega was where he first fell in love with wine.
“I used to come here every night after work and try different wines. I got really friendly with the owner, Jose, who is the third generation of the same family to run the business, and he started teaching me a bit about Spanish wine. It was here that I decided I wanted to become a sommelier.”
Inside, Fintan bled a few barrels directly into our glasses. Vin negre was the first, which basically means black wine in Catalan (they don’t call it red wine in Catalonia, which is why you’ll get a confused look from your waiter if you ask for vino rojo), followed by a more refined red from the Reibera del Duero region. It was rough and ready but thoroughly satisfying and we all shook our heads in disbelief when Fintan revealed that the €2.30 price tag was per litre.
€2.30 for a litre of Spanish wine! And people ask me “why” I moved to Barcelona!
The “Can I ask a question?” Moment
As if all of this wasn’t enough – I for one was certainly feeling pleasantly fuzzy by this point – we moved a few doors down to a private tasting room, which Jose had converted from an old wine storage room.
It was here that we all felt comfortable enough to ask questions – questions I’ve had for years! – which Fintan graciously answered.
Nibbling on idiazabal and zamora cheese, as well as traditional Catalan fuet (sausage) and arbequina olives, the wine kept coming… Rioja, Monstant (Catalan), Ribera del Duero. And we finished off the enological tour of Spain with a a sweet wine paired with catanies (little chocolate covered nuts).
Ever the raconteur, Fintan kept the narrative flowing with stories about the experiences he’s had whilst studying towards his dream of becoming a Master of Wine.
I’m studying every day, every morning, blind-tasting wines from all over the world, making notes…
Feeling warm, fuzzy and well-fed, we said our goodbyes. One of the jet-lagged American couples headed home, whilst the other ambled back to the previous wine bar for more.
I cycled home on wobbly legs and indulged in a fantasy of being a qualified Master of Wine, jetting off to exotic wineries around the world and spending my days entrevinos (among the wines), dusting off old bottles and perfecting my palate. One day…
They say the best things in life are free, but as far as I’m concerned the best things in life can be found around the table: good food, good wine and good company. If you agree in any sort of way, it’s more than likely you’ll enjoy Devour Barcelona’s wine tasting tour every bit as much as I did.
It’s fun and upbeat and you’re pretty much guaranteed to learn something new about the Spanish wine world. The tapas we had were also delicious and generous, so it’s dinner as well as drinks.
Personally, I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening in the heart of the Catalan capital.
Make it Happen
- Head over to Devour’s website for more info and to book your tour.
- Tickets cost €109 per adult (and €85 per teenager).
- The tour lasts approximately 3 hours and runs most evenings.