Alvaro Palacios

Terra Alta Wine Region

The Terra Alta (DO) Wine Region

The Terra Alta is the most southern of the Catalan wine regions, south of both Tarragona, Priorat and Montsant.

Location and climate

The DO Terra Alta was created in 1982 and is one of the seven historic wine regions (Denominaciones de Origen) of Catalonia. It was provisionally recognized already in 1972 together with Alella, Conca de Barbera, Empordà, Penedès, Priorat and Tarragona.

In the DO of Terra Alta the white wines stand out, but it also has some excellent red wines.

The wines and local dishes
The red wines go well with local dishes like “manitas de cerdo” or “butifarra con mongetes”. The white wines are perfect for dishes with grilled vegetables (“escalibada”) or “calçots”. Besides the vineyards (that take up 70% of the world’s total quanity of Garnatxa Blanca) in Terra Alta you will also find olive trees (the olives are used for the exquisite olive oil, DO Terra Alta), fruit trees, almonds and hazelnuts.

Art history

Horta de Sant Joan is a lovely village located in Terra Alta, where Picasso stayed during the winter 1898-1899. In Horta de Sant Joan you can visit the Centre Picasso d’Horta that show some of the works of Picasso painted during his stay in the village. Picasso fell in love with this place, and famously said: “Tot el que sé, ho he après a Horta” - "Everything I know, I learnt in Horta".

Terra Alta is located at 500 meters of altitude, between the Ebro River and Aragón lands, in the province of Tarragona. It includes the towns of Arnes, Bats, Bot, Caseres, Corbera d'Ebre, Faterella, Gandesa, Horta de Sant Joan, Pinell de Brai, and the Population of Massaluca, Prat de Comte and Vilalba dels Arcs.

The climate is typical Mediterranean, meaning continental influences, abundant sunshine and little rain. The soils, with clay textures, are calcareous and poor in organic material.

Grapes used

White grapes varieties: White Grenache (Garnatxa Blanca), Macabeo, Parellada, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscatel de grano pequeño, Moscatel de Ajelandría, Chenin Blanc, Pedro Ximénez, Chardonnay and Viogner.
Red grapes varieties: Red Grenache (Garnatxa tinta), Garnacha peluda, Samsó, Mazuela or Carignan, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Garnatxa tintorera, Syrah, Morenillo, Marselane, Petit Verdot, Caladoc.

Characteristics of the wines

White wines: The white wines are the most important wines of the region. They are made from white Grenache (Garnatxa Blanca), and have a typical Mediterranean character. The wines are yellowish in color and their aromas are close to ripe fruit and herbs. The palate is soft, warm, complex and expressive.
Red wines: dark cherry color, and characterized by aromas of ripe fruit.
Rosé wines: The rosé wines are mainly produced from Grenache (Garnatxa), and characterized by a fruity flavor.
Traditional wines: The traditional wines are strong (between 15% and 20% vol alchohol!).

Important wineries in Terra Alta

  • Agrícola de Corbera d’Ebre. Top brands: Mirmil-ló.
  • Agrícola St. Josep. Top brands: Llàgrimes de Tardor, Clot d’Encís, Brau de Bot, La pLana d’en Fonoll. Featured wines: Clot d’Encís Young White, Clot d’Encís Young rose, Clot d’Encís Young red, Llàgrimas de tardor blanc fermented in barrel, Llàgrimes de Tardor red crianza, Llàgrimes de Tardor selecció red crianza, Llágrimes de Tardor White mistela, Llàgrimes de Tardor red mistela.
  • Altavins Viticultors. Top brands: Domus Pensi, Tempus, Ilarcavònia, Almodi. Featured wines: Ilarcavònia blanco cosecha, Tempus tinto crianza
  • Celler Bàrbara Forés. Top brands: El Quintà, El Templari, Bàrbara Forés, Coma d’en Pou, Foscant. Featured wines: Bàrbara Forès Young white, Bàrbara Forès Young rose, Bàrbara Forès red crianza, Bàrbara Forès natural sweet white, El Templari red crianza, El Quintà de Bàrbara Forès White crianza, Coma d’en Pou de Bàrbara Forès red.
  • Celler Batea. Top brands: L’Aube “Selecciò de vinyes velles”, Equinox, Vall Major.
  • Celler Cooperatiu Gandesa. Top brands: Somdinou, Gandesola, Gandesa, Cesar Martinell, Puresa, Varvall.
  • Celler La Bollidora. Top brands: Flor de Garnatxa, Calitja, Saó, Plan B, Punto G.
  • Celler M.V. Balart. Top brands: Borretes.
  • Celler Mariol. Top brands: Casa Mariol Cupatge Dinàmic Chardonnay, Casa Mariol Syrah.
  • Celler Piñol. Top brands: N. Sra. del Portal, L’Avi Arrufí, Josefina Piñol, Sacra Natura, Mather Teresina, Raig de raim. Featured wines: Mather Teresina Selección de Viñas Viejas -Red, Josefina Piñol red, L’Avi Arrufí White fermented in barrel, L’Avi Arrufí red, Portal N. Sra. Portal white.
  • Celler Xavier Clua. Top brands: Clua Mil.lenium, Mas d’en Pol.
  • Cellers Tarroné. Top brands: Merian, Torremadrina, Mas Terronè.
  • Edetària. Top brands: Edetana, Vía Terra, Vinya d’Irto, Edetària. Featured wines: Edetana white, Vía Terra white, Edetària white crianza, Edetària white, Edetària white, Edetària Dolç red, Edetària red, Vinya d’Irto young red, Edetana red.
  • José Santiago Vicens Vallespí. Top brands: Vinyes del Grau.
  • Lafou Celler. Top brands: Lafou. Featured wines: La Fou de Batea tinto.
  • Tierra Antigua. Top brands: Romasanta.
  • Vins Sat La Botera. Top brands: Vila-Closa Chardonnay, L’Arnot, Mudèfer, Bruna Dolç.

Details and numbers of Terra Alta

  • Areal
    6,289 hectares
  • Production
    Approximately 19,300,000 liters 
  • Number of Wineries in Terra Alta

  • Commercialization of Terra Alta Wines
    60% Spain and 40% exported abroad. Main export countries are Germany, France, UK, Belgium, USA, Holland, Ireland, Poland, Denmark and Switzerland.
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