D.O. Pla de Bages

Home to great red, white and rosés, as well as sparkling, naturally sweet and rancio wines, perhaps it’s a little early to try and pinpoint to classify what it means to be a wine from the DO. Pla del Bages. However, for now the region is known for their red wines, both varieties and blends, as well as their white wines produced with the Picapoll grape, a native variety to the region and used by almost all of the wineries.

In wine-making contexts the name of Bages is often said to derive from an otherwise unnoted ancient Roman city of Bacassis located in the area. Another, more popular theory is that the name “Bages” derives from the Latin “Bacus”, the roman god of wine. According to many historians, the Bages region had always been a region of good wine and strong viticulture, especially before the outbreak of phylloxera. Although Manresa, the capital of the region, was and remains the main town, it is Sant Benet de Bages that has been the spiritual, cultural and agricultural centre of the region for many years, where the presence of the clergy and monks was instrumental in the development of viticulture. It was here where monks acquired and held many hectares of vineyards situated near the monastery by the river Llobregat, with the Benedictine monastery dominating the Pla de Bages. 


The regions success in viticulture was later stunted by the outbreak of phylloxera, which forced growers and farmers to pull vines, cultivating more productive crops at that time, although this region never ceased to be the main supplier of wine to the Pyrenees. The outbreak of phylloxera arrived in the region in 1892, creating a deep crisis in viticulture. However, this period of stagnation was overcome, with the ´60’s seeing a period of transformations motivated by the efforts of a small group of vinters, adapting vineyards and cellars, culminating with the creation of the DO. Pla de Bages in 1995with only seven wineries, which over the years have expanded to twelve. Today, the viticulture and wine are the backbone of the region’s economy.


The DO. Pla de Bages is situated in the northeast of Spain, just north of Barcelona in the Bages region, just next to the eastern side of the central depression of Catalonia. The DO currently covers 27 municipalities, and is home to 450 hectares of vineyards (between altitudes of 300 and 650 metres), cultivated by 90 vintners and 12 wineries.


Although the region yearned for its past from before the phylloxera outbreak,  it was clear that the future was best dedicated to exports and bringing back the industry as soon as possible, since Bages was home to the ideal conditions for cultivating foreign varieties. And so it was done. 


The Bages zone probably cultivates Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines with best consistency and quality in Catalonia. Regarding their whites however, the registered Picapoll variety is dominant. Therefore, the Regulatory Council of the Pla de Bages has the merit of having been the first to claim and recover a native variety and put it at the same level as large foreign varieties. Today, all the wineries grown Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, but also work with the Picapoll grape to produce varietal of blended wines, becoming has become an icon of the identity of the DO. Pla de Bages.

Those involved in viticulture in the region have become aware that the great moment for international varieties has passed, and although their presence is still felt, there is gradual work to help with a gradual varietal change in the region, with the aim of recovering native varieties to give the modern market what they want, wines with personality that reflect the territory and variety they come from.


The DO. Pla de Bages is also known for their vats and barrels, constructed from dry stone in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, where vintners would store their wines. Coinciding with the notable expansion of vineyards in the region, many more of these were constructed, now with around 4,000 well-preserved. The DO. Pla de Bages promotes a path to learn about and see the original buildings up close, which also it became necessary so that the farmers could save so that the farmers could save the farm implements or protect themselves from the weather. Now it can be said that there is growing trend towards recovering this legacy of the Catalan landscape.



Climate, soil and varieties


The climate is Mediterranean with strong continental influences due to its inland location quite far from the sea. The average annual temperature is 13°C and average annual rainfall is between 500 mm and 600 mm. There is also a considerable temperature variation between day and night as well, and a great luminosity. This oscillation, along with the soil compositions, with clay-loam and sandy-loam soils, makes the area ideal for the cultivation of vines and the production of strong wines with big personalities. 


The Regulatory Council authorises a range of different grape varieties. In regards to white varieties, the region is home to Sauvignon blanc and Gewürztraminer, but recommends Macabeo, Parellada, Picapoll White and Chardonnay. Authorised red varieties include Cabernet Franc and Syrah, as well as Sumoll, Grenache, Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo), Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The grape variety of the region is the Picapoll, which produces a fruity white wine with a fresh bouquet, splendid texture and great personality. This kind of grape has become symbolic of the El Bages. Efforts are being made to recover other autochthonous varieties of black grape, such as the Picapoll negra, the Sumoll and the Mandó, all of which add to the unique profile of the region.



Wines and Wineries in the Pla de Bages.


Pla de Bages would be a small, nondescript region, if it were not for the Picapoll grape and Valentí Roqueta. The first is a white grape variety, as old as the Moscatel, and produces unctuous and structured wines with good acidity. The second is a man who helped drive the resurgence of the region with his winery Bodegas Abadal.


Valentí Roqueta comes from a family that has been linked to viticulture since the twelve century. Unfortunately his great-grandfather had to cease production after the phylloxera, moving to Manresa where set up a small business selling wine. However, the Roqueta family later returned to replant and recover vineyards, founding a wine company in 1898. In 1982, Valentí Roqueta (who has a degree in oenelogy), returned home to set up a new modern winery next to the families historic farmhouse. The new winery was inaugurated in 1983 and would go on to be named Bodegas Abadal. The winery works with most Picapoll and foreign grape varieties, as well as committing to the use of native varieties such as Sumoll, Mandó and Ull de Llebre (Tempranillo). Over the past 33 years, Abadal has managed to become a recognised brand, producing a wide range of youthful wines: with Abadal Blanco, a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Picapoll and Macabeo; Abadel Rosado, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sumoll; and Abadal Tinto, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo and Sumoll, aged for 4 months in oak. Then there is : Abadal Picapoll, a white wine which truly expresses this magnificent variety, fruity and floral on the nose, potent on the mouth, well bodied and fresh; Abadal Crianza, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, aged for 10 months in barrels of six different oaks, a fusion of power and elegance; Abadal Merlot, a blend of five types of Merlot grapes taken from different plots, aged for 12 months in French, Central European and American oak barrels. Their high end range includes the white wine Abadal Nuat, a single variety Picapoll, aged for 10 months on its lees, followed by an evolution in the bottle, and boasts a great structure, and is fruity and elegant. Then there is the red wine Abadal 3.9, a wine made with grapes taken from a single estate, an estate home to limestone soils on red clay, where Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grow on terraces, the wine is aged for 12 months in new oak barrels. Finally there is Abadal Selecció, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Mandó and Sumoll, taken from a selection of plots with the greatest expression of the territory, and aged for 14 months in European oak barrels of fine grain.


Another leading winery in the region is the Oller del Mas, whose red wine Arnau Oller was classified in 2015 as “Vi de Finca”, a classification which only 5 other wines have been awarded in Catalonia. With this recognition the D.O. Pla de Bages was home to the first winery to be awarded the highest category that can be awarded to a wine under the rules of the Generalitat. This wine is made exclusively with Merlot, although with a small touch of Picapoll Tinto taken from the Boïga plot. Boïga is actually a pre roman word that derives from “boud” which means “to win, to conquer”, because it is a plot of 2 hectares that won from forest. In order to be classified as a “Vi de Finca”, a wine must: come from a Denominación de Origen, come from vineyards that have a yield lower than 15%, score a minimum of 72 by the official tasting of the regulatory council, and have at least consolidated prestige and quality over a period of 10 years on the market. Another exclusive wine produced by the winery is Oller del Mas Picapoll Tinto, a single variety wine where only 380 bottles are produced, aged for 9 months in 300 litre French oak barrels, and later rests in the cellars of the castle. It is a fresh wine, with clean aromas of black fruit, elegantly spicy, balanced and a long finish that manages to reflect the terroir of a specifically selected vineyard, which has been organically cultivated. The harvest is carried out at night, with maximum attention being paid to the winemaking and ageing processes. The winery also produces Bernat Oller, a blend of the best Merlot and Picapoll Negro grapes from different plots of the estate. The same grapes are used to produce their other wine Bernat Oller Rosado, which offers fruity aromas of cherry, currant, cassis and spices, giving the wine a personality like no other. Then there is the Bernat Oller Blanc de Picapolls, produced with the best Picapoll Blanco and Picapoll Tinto grapes. To complete the list, we have two organic wines: Petit Bernat tinto, a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, aged for 3 months in second and third year French oak barrels; and Petit Bernat Blanc de Picapolis, a blend of Picapoll Blanc and Macabeu, offering a pleasant, fresh and fruity character.


Bodegas Piuggros. Although this winery was officially founded back in 2008, the family links to viticulture date all the way back to 1843. The winery is located in Cal Pau Palomas, in Òdena, Anoia. The winery cultivates a range of grape varieties, such as Sumoll, Garnacha Tinta, Garnacha Blanca and Cariñena. The range of wines produced by the winery include the white wine Sentis, a single variety Garnacha Blanca, made with grapes taken from vines that are over 80 years old, fermented in the barrel and aged for 4 months on its lees in new 500litre lightly toasted French oak barrels from Allier. This wine boasts a good structure and smoothness, it is complex and with depth. Then there is the red wine Signes, a blend of Sumoll and Garnacha, taken from old vines between 40-60 years old, aged for 12 months in French oak barrels. This wine offers a lot of character; it is fresh and powerful, while offering a good reflection of the terroir. Another wine by the winery is the Mestre Vilavell, made with Sumoll grapes taken from vines over 80 years old, aged for 12 months in French oak barrels from Allier. This wine serves as a perfect example of what the Sumoll variety can do, it is elegant, silky and fresh. Then finally there is Exedra, a single variety Garnacha wine that ferments in clay amphorae and malolactic conversion. The wine is aged for 10 months in (380-720l) clay amphoraes with its lees. It is a wine that expresses some minerality and freshness, with all its fruit and good acidity, it is fresh and elegant with notes of aromatic herbs and spices.


What was initially the Bodega Jaumandreu, with an estate of 500 hectares, of which 55 are vineyards, were recovered a few years ago and converted into the new brand: Més Que Paraules. The estate and the winery are located in the municipality of Fonollosa, about 18km from Manresa, the capital of Bages, around 70km from Barcelona. The winery produces only three wines under the Més Que Paraules label; a white wine, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Picapoll, worked for 3-4 months on its lees; a rosé, blend of Merlot and Sumoll, it is fresh and fruity; and finally a red wine, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sumoll, aged for 10-12 months in (225litre) French oak barrels.

Celler Solergibert. The Solergibert family, since they settled in Artés in 1730, have been working in the growing of the vineyards. In 1868 the family started building the wine-cellar in the middle of the village. In 1910, the cellar was enlarged; since then, Enric and his father Josep made different modifications. Until the 1960s, it was a great time for the vineyards around the village of Artés; there were vineyards everywhere. However, with the arrival of the industry many peasants abandoned the vineyards for a fixed monthly salary. Enric did not. He kept and even increased his vineyards; in 1973, he renovated the wine cellar extensively again, planting many noble grape varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, as well as the native Picapoll variety.  Over the years it has undergone several modifications until the current exemplary facilities that develop and treat the wines with the greatest respect. The winery began bottling their wines in 1988, producing one of the first reserve wines in the DO Pla de Bages. The winery is now in the hands of the ninth generation of the Solergibert family, who produce a single variety Picapoll white wine, from vineyards that are over 90 years old (Malla Vendrell) and another planted in 1997 with the four best clones of Picapoll in Artés (Tapiada).  It is a white aged for 3 months in new American oak barrels, which help give the wine an aromatic complexity and very interesting flavours. The winery also produces a collection of single varietaly and blended red wines, and a very special Sumoll varietal red.


 


 

Wineries belonging to the D.O Pla de Bages:

Outstanding wines from the D.O. Pla de Bages:

  • Exedra 2015

    Red wine Barrel. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Puiggròs. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Garnacha Tinta.

    • Peñin 91
    10,30 VAT incl.
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    9,75 €/u
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    Exedra 2015

    Red wine Barrel. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Puiggròs. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Garnacha Tinta.

    • Peñin: 91
    10,30 VAT incl.
    6x
    9,75 €/u
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  • Abadal Crianza 2012

    Red wine Crianza. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Abadal. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

    9,50 VAT incl.
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    9,05 €/u
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    Abadal Crianza 2012

    Red wine Crianza. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Abadal. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

    9,50 VAT incl.
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    9,05 €/u
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  • Més que Paraules Rosat 2015

    Rosé wine Young. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Jaumandreu. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Merlot.

    8,25 VAT incl.
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    7,85 €/u
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    Més que Paraules Rosat 2015

    Rosé wine Young. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Jaumandreu. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Merlot.

    8,25 VAT incl.
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    7,85 €/u
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  • Abadal 5 Merlot 2012

    Red wine Barrel. 12 months in French, American and Hungarian oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Abadal. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Merlot.

    • Peñin 91
    13,75 VAT incl.
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    13,10 €/u
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    Abadal 5 Merlot 2012

    Red wine Barrel. 12 months in French, American and Hungarian oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Abadal. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Merlot.

    • Peñin: 91
    13,75 VAT incl.
    6x
    13,10 €/u
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  • Més que Paraules Blanc 2015

    White wine Reserva. 4 months on lees in stainless steel vats. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Jaumandreu. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Chardonnay and Picapoll Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc.

    8,25 VAT incl.
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    7,85 €/u
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    Més que Paraules Blanc 2015

    White wine Reserva. 4 months on lees in stainless steel vats. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Jaumandreu. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Chardonnay and Picapoll Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc.

    8,25 VAT incl.
    6x
    7,85 €/u
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  • Abadal Picapoll 2015

    White wine Young. 3 months on lees in stainless steel vats. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Abadal. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Picapoll.

    9,55 VAT incl.
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    9,10 €/u
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    Abadal Picapoll 2015

    White wine Young. 3 months on lees in stainless steel vats. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Abadal. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Picapoll.

    9,55 VAT incl.
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    9,10 €/u
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  • Petit Bernat 2015

    Red wine Barrel. 3 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Oller del Mas. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Picapoll.

    6,75 VAT incl.
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    Petit Bernat 2015

    Red wine Barrel. 3 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Oller del Mas. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Picapoll.

    6,75 VAT incl.
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  • Bernat Oller Merlot 2014

    Red wine Crianza. 12 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Oller del Mas. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Picapoll.

    • Parker 90
    11,95 VAT incl.
    6x
    11,40 €/u
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    Bernat Oller Merlot 2014

    Red wine Crianza. 12 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Oller del Mas. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Picapoll.

    • Parker: 90
    11,95 VAT incl.
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    11,40 €/u
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  • Abadal 3.9 2011

    Red wine Reserva. 12 months in French and American oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Abadal. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

    18,95 VAT incl.
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    18,00 €/u
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    Abadal 3.9 2011

    Red wine Reserva. 12 months in French and American oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Abadal. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

    18,95 VAT incl.
    6x
    18,00 €/u
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  • Exedra 2014

    Red wine Barrel. 6 months in amphoras. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Puiggròs. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Garnacha Tinta.

    10,30 VAT incl.
    6x
    9,75 €/u
    Out of stock!
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    Exedra 2014

    Red wine Barrel. 6 months in amphoras. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Puiggròs. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Garnacha Tinta.

    10,30 VAT incl.
    6x
    9,75 €/u
    Out of stock!
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  • Abadal Nuat 2012

    White wine. 10 months on lees in stainless steel vats. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Abadal. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Picapoll.

    28,95 VAT incl.
    6x
    27,45 €/u
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    Abadal Nuat 2012

    White wine. 10 months on lees in stainless steel vats. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Abadal. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Picapoll.

    28,95 VAT incl.
    6x
    27,45 €/u
  • Més que Paraules Negre 2013

    Red wine Barrel. 11 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Jaumandreu. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Sumoll.

    8,00 VAT incl.
    6x
    7,60 €/u
    Out of stock!
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    Més que Paraules Negre 2013

    Red wine Barrel. 11 months in French oak barrels. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Jaumandreu. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Sumoll.

    8,00 VAT incl.
    6x
    7,60 €/u
    Out of stock!
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  • Més que Paraules Blanc 2013

    White wine Young. 4 months on lees in stainless steel vats. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Jaumandreu. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Chardonnay and Picapoll Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc.

    8,00 VAT incl.
    6x
    7,60 €/u
    Last 1 available!
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    Més que Paraules Blanc 2013

    White wine Young. 4 months on lees in stainless steel vats. Volume: 75 cl. Winery: Jaumandreu. Production area: Pla de Bages. Grapes used in this wine: Chardonnay and Picapoll Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc.

    8,00 VAT incl.
    6x
    7,60 €/u
    Last 1 available!
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