DO Terra Alta
When travelling south through Catalonia, DO Terra Alta is the last appellation you come to and it closes out the wine landscape of the region spectacularly. Set high up in the mountains that rise up from the Ebre River, just before you cross in to Valencia or Aragón, it is deceiving in that you don’t realize how high you are and that this is why the wines have such a distinctive quality.
Many of the details of Terra Alta can be summarized here but it is a region known locally for its white wines and specifically, the grape, White Grenache. This is ironic in that it’s only very recently with the 2015 harvest that they are now evenly split 50/50 between white and red production. Previously, the region had more reds than whites although they latter have always been a healthy portion of their overall production. But whether white or red, Grenache is by far and away their more dominant variety.
The climate is curious as the people there classify it as both maritime and continental which is justifiable given that they are very close to the sea, yet at high altitude giving them fresher nights during the summer than what you see just a bit more to the west. This helps preserve acidity and what gives a great deal of structural lift to their white wines.
Terra Alta was, up until just a few years ago dominated by large cooperative cellar production and while they still dominate in terms of overall production, boutique cellars have steadily risen and now outnumber the cooperatives. This has afforded a sea of change in terms of the general direction of the area. It is poised to be “discovered” internationally at any point given that all of the right conditions in terms of varieties, climate, region, and price are consistently perfect. Also making things easier to understand is that DO Terra Alta is the only appellation in Catalonia that occupies and is named after the county (comarca in Catalan) in which it resides.
Please peruse more articles about the wines of DO Terra Alta.