Arguably the most dynamic wine region in Spain at present is Catalonia, covering the northeast corner of Spain, sharing borders with Andorra and southern France to the north and the Mediterranean Sea on its eastern shores.
The Greek colonies in Catalonia first introduced the cultivation of vines over 2000 years ago, followed by the Romans. During the medieval ages, monasteries were established and improved overall viticulture, especially in Priorat.
The winemaking regions in Catalonia – Priorat, Montsant, Terra Alta, Penedès, Tarragona, Emporda, Costers del Segra, Conca de Barbera, Alella, Pla de Bages, Calatayud, and Campo de Borja have distinctive characteristics that match the cuisine, personality, and culture.
Catalan culture is fiercely independent and creative, and differs greatly from Galicia, Andalusia and the rest of Spain, so despite sharing some common grape varietals, the wines exude the same spirit.
For red varietals, tempranillo is still widely grown, but during the last three decades, indigenous Mediterranean grapes have become the focus. In the 1970’s, Miguel Torres and Jean Leon developed international grapes such as cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, gewürztraminer and riesling, making sophisticated wines for a global palate.
Cava is still tremendously popular and sold worldwide. In recent years, there has been a return to indigenous varietals such as xarel-lo, garnatxa blanca, macabeu, and parelleda for white wines, garnatxa negra, cariñena, trepat, sumoll, and monastrell for reds.
Driven by a freedom of expression, a movement of creative viticulture outside the rules of the D.O., with an emphasis on the unique characteristics of specific terruños has been gaining traction one bodega at a time.