Catalonia

D.O. Montsant
[official D.O. website]

Montsant

> Joan D'Anguera

Officially approved by Madrid in August 2001, this area was previously known as the Falset sub-zone of D.O. Tarragona. The new D.O. was established with good reason - Montsant is more similar to Priorat than Tarragona. In fact, it’s named after a mountain that lies within Priorat. While similar to Priorat, there are a few differences. Loose red sands and limestone are found here instead of the black slate of Priorat. The region boasts dry reds that are concentrated, deeply colored, and have high alcohol content. Along with old vine Carignan and Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot are also planted.

D.O. Penedès
[official D.O. webpage]

Penedes

> Avinyó

Penedès is a large viticultural region with wide-ranging climatic differences. It is home to the Cava denomination of origin, where 90% of the wines designated “Cava” originate. There are three separate microclimates: the Baix Penedès lies close to the Mediterranean Sea and has a hot climate with low-altitude vineyards. The Mitja-Penedès is a higher-altitude area (250 to 500 meters) where most of the high quality grapes originate. The Alt Penedès (500 to 850 meters) is the best growing climate due to the coolness at higher elevation. Many delicate grapes such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc are planted in this sub-zone. The main grapes used in Cava are Macabeo, Xarel-lo and Parellada. Due to its proximity to France (an hour and half by car) many foreign grapes are being planted and added to the cava blends. In addition, there are red still wines being made that display stunning elegance and quality.

D.O. Cava
[Cava D.O. webpage]

Cava came about as a designation when the European Union enforced a law that only sparkling wine from France could be called Champagne. Cava (meaning cellar) became the name for a traditional method sparkling product originating in Spain. Cava must go through secondary fermentation in the bottle and must be aged a minimum of six months on the lees before being disgorged and sold to the public. In addition to the three above-mentioned grapes, some foreign grapes have been approved for use in Cavas, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

D.O.Q. Priorat
[official D.O.Q. webpage]

Priorat

> Costers del Priorat

Priorat is a small region 150 kilometers southwest of Barcelona with a harsh climate. The region is made up of old and dark stones, known as Llicorella, covering an irregular combination of hills and ravines of a multitude of exposures and elevations buffeted by the intense sun and the northerly Cierzo wind.

On the northern horizon, the cliffs of the Sierra de Montsant loom over this small land of holm oaks, olive, and almond trees. Samsó (Carignan) and Garnacha vines planted on the slate soils are the predominant varieties. The river valleys along with the unique geography of various exposures and elevations produce wildly diverse wines from what is a very small denomination.