Located in southern Catalonia, Terra Alta is situated in rolling hill country. Until recently, due largely to its geographical isolation, Terra Alta primarily produced wine for its own local market, and it continues to preserve a variety of traditional winemaking methods. At the same time, small private wineries and larger cooperatives are now also producing very good Mediterranean red wines.
The first vineyards were most likely established during Roman times when a road from Zaragoza to Tortosa cut through this area. In medieval times the Knights Templar also planted vines in Terra Alta, but the distance from local markets and ports led to their replacement by olive trees.
Until phylloxera destroyed the vineyard the area was renowned for its ‘amber blanc’ oxidized wines. Today's vineyards were planted largely in the 1920s-50s. The cooperatives, many of which only began to bottle in the last two decades, played an important role in this rebirth of winemaking.
Climate: A mix of Mediterranean and continental with hot summers and very cold winters and an average yearly rainfall of 16 inches. The Cierzo, a dry wind from the Ebro valley plays a key part in keeping the vines and their fruit healthy.
Soil: Limestone and clay, with low organic content. A considerable portion is made up of larger elements that provide aeration and drainage for the vines.
Grape Varities: The primary varieties for whites are Garnacha Blanca, Parellada, Macabeo, Moscatel and Chardonnay. The main red varieties are Cariñena, Garnacha Tinta, Garnacha Peluda, Morenillo, Syrah, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo. Chenin blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Marselan are being grown experimentally.