Terra Alta D.O.
Terra Alta is the most southern D.O. in the Catalonia region of northern Spain. As its name suggests, the vineyards are at high altitudes in the foothills; a picturesque region often painted by Picasso. It has a rich history with grape cultivation dating back to the Romans and after them the Knights Templar. It is quite an isolated area and had rather fallen into abandon until the neighboring area of Priorat began its renaissance. Terra Alta has profited from Priorat’s fame and attracted many young and ambitious winemakers.
The climate here is one of very hot summers and very cold winters. These extremes are moderated by the El Cierzo wind that blows down along the Ebro River preventing disease and rot. The soils are well-drained clay and coastal limestone. The grapes grown here are a mixture of traditional Spanish varieties such as Tempranillo, Carinena and Garnacha mixed with international varieties such as Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot for the reds and Parellada, Grenache Blanc and Macabeo mixed with Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc for the whites.
Terra Alta is certainly a wine region to watch. With its experimentation and striking modern architecture, it looks poised to be the wine region of the New Spain.