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Grandes Pagos de España Wine Tasting in DC: A Success

Barcelona Wine Bar in Washington, DC

Barcelona Wine Bar in Washington, D.C.

This week we had the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C.’s Barcelona Wine Bar  & Restaurant which was the site of a wine tasting of special wines from Spain. The wine bar and restaurant focuses on Spanish tapas and Spanish wines.

The Barcelona Wine Bar in Washington was the perfect place for tasting Grandes Pagos de España wines, meeting owners and winemakers from Spain as well as meeting wine enthusiasts and sommeliers for restaurants.

We discovered the Barcelona Wine Bar on 14th street, NW about a half mile from the U Street Metro. It was a cold walk but upon entering the building it was delightfully warm.

The restaurant has an outdoor seating area with a modern style fireplace. At 11am it was fired up

Outside of Barcelona Wine Bar

Outside of Barcelona Wine Bar in D.C.

but having a difficult time. No one appeared to want to sit in the bone-shivering cold. A spring or fall day would be a great time to take advantage of the outdoor seating and fireplace.

The  Washington, D.C. restaurant is one-story with several sections that give the appearance of being cozy. To the right of the door is long bar with seating. Across from the bar  were several tables for two.

To the left of the entrance is the open kitchen where tapa fixings are created. On display were a variety of cheeses, meats and large loaves of bread.

A Feast for the Eyes

A Feast for the Eyes

Across from the kitchen, tables lined the walls for Spanish wine exhibitors to showcase their wines. In the center of this area was a long table which eventually was set with a prolific amount of food. There was absolutely no skimping on the food. The colors and flavors all melded into one gastronomical feast for the eyes and taste buds.

At the far end of the restaurant, a smaller room was available for special events. This was the location of the Wine Tasting Seminar prior to the wine tasting of 24 Spanish producers.

Note: Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant has eight locations on the East Coast. Connecticut is fortunate to have six locations, Washington, D.C. has one and another is in Atlanta, Georgia. The restaurant also offers catering services.

Grandes Pagos de España Walk-About at  the Barcelona Wine Bar

We found the Grandes Pagos de España wine tasting to be very well organized. The planning was well done and everything appeared to go off as planned. Kudos to everyone involved in the planning and for the intense interest that the Grandes Pagos de España winemakers showed.

The Grandes Pagos de España walk-about was scheduled for 12Noon to 3pm. Twenty-four members of the 30 member Grandes Pagos organization each presented two of their wines. Many of the wines were produced with some of the international grape varieties including: Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Syrah, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Viognier, Pinot Noir and Garnacha.

Grandes Pagos de Espana seminar

Grandes Pagos de Espana seminar

After attending the seminar where wines from different producers were tasted, I decided to look for wines made with lesser known grape varieties. Some of these varieties included Macabeo, Cariñena, Albariño, and Verdejo. Another category I was interested in were the wines produced with grapes from “old” vineyards. Those wine enthusiasts attending the walk-about were provided with a booklet that depicted each participating winery, and the two wines they were presenting.

My first stop was at the Gramona table with D.O. Cava. Since visiting the Barcelona area of Spain, I have developed a fondness for cavas produced with Xarel-lo and Macabeu. These cavas were well made. My favorite was the Cava Gramona III Lustrous 2007.

Another winery I was interested in was Secastilla that produces wine with grapes from 100-year-

Secastilla, a member of Grandes Pagos de España

Secastilla, a member of Grandes Pagos de España

old vines located in a lost valley. When mentioning the lost valley, the winery attendee smiled and said how beautiful the valley is. The description in our booklet said, “Secastilla: one hundred year old garnachas in a lost valley, Secastilla is a small treasure which was discovered at the end of the 20th century; a beautiful valley in the high area of Somontano, known as the Valle de Secastilla. Due to the specific terroir, climate and characteristics of the Secastilla valley, the estate belongs to the prestigious ‘Association of the Great Estate of Spain.” The recently discovered old vines were growing among almond and olive trees.

Grandes Pagos de España’s beginning goes back to the year 2000 when winemakers from Old and New Castile who produced single-estate wine decided to promote their wines. The organization was named Grandes Pagos de Castilla (Great Growths of Castile.) A few years later the organization was restructured and allowed the inclusion of specific wineries from across Spain.

Qualifications for membership in Grandes Pagos de España:

  • Wine must come from an exceptional single vineyard
  • Winery should have attained  a demonstrable fame with at least five years of recognized prestige in the marketplace
  • High marks in national and international competitions
  • Winery must undergo a meticulous inspection
  • Wines must surpass the quality requirements set at a vertical tasting

What does Pago mean?

Below is more information from the Grandes Pagos de España website.

“Pago is a Spanish word for a single vineyard whose characteristics set it apart from others in the same area.”

“In Spain the legal definition of Pago is: `Pago´ is a plot of land or rural location with its own mineral soil and microclimate properties which distinguish it from others in the area. Wines from such single vineyards will be made and bottled by those with ownership title of vineyards located in the plot, or under special circumstances, in wineries situated within close proximity to that location. All the grapes used to make this wine must come from the specific plot and this wine must be stored and, if oak aged, so treated separately from other wines in such premises. Pago single vineyard wines must be made employing an integral quality system which should be applied from grape production through to selling the product.”

We discovered that the very enjoyable wines of Spain were enhanced by the location of the wine tasting at the Barcelona Wine Bar. When choosing  Spanish wines to enjoy with friends or family, look for producers who belong to Grandes Pagos de España.




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