Terra Alta DO is the most southerly DO in the Catalonia region in Spain. It is located in an inland area in the province of Tarragona which borders with Aragón, around 124 miles (200km) south of Barcelona and 31 miles (50km) inland, in high, mountainous terrain (‘terra alta’) in the west of Tarragona province. The region featured in a number of Picasso’s paintings. During the early 20th century, the majority of the farming cooperatives which produce the wines were created. The Designation of Origin and its Regulatory Council were created in 1972, with their headquarters in the town of Gandesa.
Production zone: 12 municipalities from the Terra Alta district.
Terroir: Very sunny climate. Low rainfall. Clay-rich soil with little permeability. The orography of the land is varied and the vines are grown both in valleys and plains, as well as on terraces to avoid the unevenness of the land.
Wines: Powerful wines, both dry and sweet, with a high alcohol content. Red wines are made from Cariñena (Mazuelo), Garnacha negra (Grenache Noir) and Garnacha peluda. White wines are made with Garnacha blanca and Macabeu. These can be dry or sweet. Rosé wines and fortified sweet wines are also made.
Isabelle Legeron MW, Natural Wine, An introduction to organic and biodynamic wines grown naturally (2014, Cico Books, London & New York), p.189.