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Tarragona

Tarragona

The name of Tarragona includes all the south of Catalonia, from the coast to inland, from the fertile flat areas to the rough group of mountains with hidden spots quite unknown by the locals themselves. A land inhabited since ancient times, although we can consider the roman city of Tarraco the first important settlement. In Roman’s times, Tarraco was one of the most important cities, which flourished over the centuries. Afterwards, the Moorish occupation brought lots of innovation in agriculture and many other areas, which mainly remained in the dark Middle Ages. Shaping of the landscape due to agriculture use of land continued and increased rapidly after the XVIIth Century, also in the rest of Catalonia, reaching its peak by the end of the XIXth Century. Tarragona region means a territory build with effort and a thousand year old agriculture tradition, shared with the rest of the Catalan country.

The south of Catalonia host the top diversity of DO, with 6 wine DO and 3 olive oil DOP. A tiny but highly diverse territory in terms of landscape and relief, which has created this incredible diversity in products and organoleptic characteristics.

In the coastal side of the southern regions Baix Ebre and Montsià we will find the DOP of olive oil Baix-Ebre Montsià[1], where thousand year old olive trees grow and stand the damp, foggy and windy conditions of valley of the river Ebre. The local varieties are morruda, sevillenca and farga, creating a very tasty and aromatic olive oil, with a balanced sweet taste and some notes of spicy and bitter.

A bit higher up in the mountains, also in the south, stands out the region of Terra Alta, with an own wine DO and olive oil DOP. The altitude and continental climate of this region brings the difference to both DO. The DOP of olive oil Terra Alta[2] includes villages from Terra Alta and also in the nearby Ribera d’Ebre region. The main local variety is empeltre, together with the old variety farga, morruda and arbequina. It generates olive oils with a high aromatic diversity, spicy and bitter at the start of the harvest, and gradually sweeter as the olives ripen.

The DO de wine Terra Alta[3] stands out for having the 33% of the world white Grenache production and, in fact, this region has traditionally been well known by its white wines. The vineyards are dominated by local varieties like the white and black Grenache, and the hairy Grenache, that also create top quality red wines. The white and red wines from Terra Alta are known by its strength and character, therefore they are locally called wines with body and soul.

In the central area of southern Catalonia we find a wide territory under the DOP of olive oil Siurana[4], with a thousand year old tradition (common throughout Catalonia) of olive oil production. Here the climate is a bit milder and the local variety of olive, the tiny arbequina, gives a round, soft and a bit spicy olive oil. We can distinguish in this territory a more inland and continental area, with a more rugged relief, from a flatter area facing the Mediterranean coast. Together with the arbequina variety, coping more than 90% of the production, we can also find the varieties morruda and rojal.

From the 5 DO of wine in this area, the DOQ (Qualified DO) of Priorat[5], stands out internationally by the mineral notes of its full-bodied wine elaborated mainly with Grenache and carignean. The rugged relief of slate, sheltered in the north by the impressive rocky walls of Montsant mountain range, brings the character to these wines. Around the DOQ Priorat, also including some villages of Ribera d’Ebre region, we will find DO Montsant[6], a newer DO with fresher but fully aromatic wines. Here the slate isn’t the dominant type of soil, that combines with limestone and clay, still in a rugged terrain but with more flatter and terraced surfaces. Also the traditional varieties are Grenache and carignean, along with small vineyards of hairy Grenache.

In the inland patchwork of agriculture and forest landscape we find the DO Conca de Barberà[7], of fresh and easy wines, with a unique local variety, trepat, that gives aromatic rosé and red wines. The traditional white varieties are macabeu and parellada, as in this region there is a high production of white and rosé wines to elaborate cava. Grenache and ull de llebre are the traditional local varieties used for the red wines.

In the north of Tarragona province we find the DO Penedès[8] in its more coastal and milder side (this DO also includes Barcelona province). Here we also find local varieties used for cava, like macabeu, xarel·lo or parellada.

Finally, the DO Tarragona[9] includes several villages of the regions Alt and Baix Camp, Ribera d’Ebre and Tarragonès. Covering such a wide area, the red and white wines of this DO ofer freshness and body, colour and fragrance. The traditional varieties are also white and black Grenache and carignean, with the introduction of other varieties, elaborating white, rosé and red wines, but also sparkling wines.



[1] Web DOP Oli Baix Ebre – Montsià: http://www.acobem.com/

[2] Web DOP Oli Terra Alta: http://www.dopoliterraalta.com/

[3] Web DO Vi Terra Alta: http://doterraalta.com/

 

[4] Web DOP Siurana: http://siurana.info/

[7] Web DO Conca de Barberà: http://www.doconcadebarbera.com/

[9] Web DO Tarragona: http://www.dotarragona.cat/

 


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