The Catalonia wine region is obviously located in Spain, when we go 100 miles east from Rioja and Navarra, we find Catalonia. There is the sub region called Ampurdán-Costa Brave, it is located separately from the main part of Catalonia. In this sub region there are some good-quality red and white table wines produced. But none of these wines are classified to the DO.



A sub region called Alella, which is located north of Barcelona, does have wines that are classified to the DO. The primarily grown white grape varieties grown in this area are the Macabeo and the Malvasia. The red wines from this region are made from the Garnacho and Temperanillo. Generally, wines are blended from the northern and southern slopes in order to create balance in acidity. After blending, the wines are aged from one to three years in oak barrels before bottling.



The Panadès sub region has a sandy lower section called Port of Sitges, this part of Panadès is known for its Malvasia de Sitges. Malvasia de Sitges is a sweet, light amber coloured dessert wine made from Malvasia, but also has some Sumoll blended in. The higher section of the Panadès is made of limestone, the grapes grown here are the Macabeo and Parellada. These grape varieties produce dry table wines.

The Sparkling wines also called Espumos, are also produced in Panadès. The Espumos are produced according to the French Méthode Champenoise. The best Espumos are produced with white grapes that are selectively picked for its superior quality. This selectively picking is comparable with épluchage.

These are the Spanish indications for taste in sparkling wines:

Bruto                     =             Extra-dry

Seco                      =             Near-dry

Dulce                     =             Sweet

Semiseco             =             Semi-dry

Semidulce           =             Semi-sweet



Red Bibby, as a nickname for very red dessert wines with poor quality is produced Tarragona. This nickname is mainly used in England. Tarragona has bettered by producing a quality aperitif wine. Two other noteworthy products from this sub region of Tarragona are: an altar wine and Sangria. Sangria is rather well-known, it is made of red wine mixed with citrus fruit slices, sparkling soda and a bit of Brandy. The altar wine is a wine that is produced for the Vatican.



An inner region within the sub region of Tarragona is called Priorato. Priorato gets its name from the priory of the Scala Dei, a Carthusian Monastery. This monastery is currently in ruins on the volcanic slopes of the Sierra de Montsant. Dry red wines from this region are made from the Carinena and Garnacho Negro, these often are vinified to make a wine that has 16 percent alcohol. Sweet dessert wines are produced from Garnacho Blanco, Macabeo and Pedro Ximénez. These sweet dessert wines are classified as DO Priorato. A wine-related beverage called Mistela also comes from Priorato and is made of brandy and grape juice. This is mixed together before any kind of fermentation happens. Mistela is sometimes consumed straight, but most of the time it is used for blending with other dessert and aperitif wines.

Some big wine producers within Catalonia are Vinedos Torres, Cordorniu and Freixenet. The fact that these producers are big does not mean that they are producing great wines. 


The Rioja region is the most northern Spanish wine-growing region. And so it is close to the French border, about 350 km to Bordeaux. Rioja gets its name from the Rio Oja or the Oja River, this is a tributary that joins the Ebro at the town of Haro.

The fact that this region is close to France, is a big part of their history. When Phylloxera invaded Bordeaux, many of those French winegrowers went to Spain, and particularly to Rioja. They brought their art of blending, to create a homogenous substance. This would be a big change for the way of producing wine in Rioja. A lot of the Rioja wines were made in a French way.

In Rioja, there are both red and white are produced. The red wines are primarily made from the Tempranillo and Garnacho. White Rioja wines are made of the Viura, known as Maxabeo in Catalonia, and the classic Malvasia. Rioja wines are typically made in large Bodegas, or in other words: wine cellars. But there are only fifty of these Bodegas permitted in Rioja due to DO regulations, used for export.

West of Rioja we find Alta and Alavesa, these sub regions have a moderate climate. This means in this case that they do not have excessive rainfall nor hot summers. When we proceed down the Rioja Baja, the climate changes to nearly arid and very hot. The influence of this climate is to be seen in the taste and aroma of the eventual wine. For instance, Alta wines are more acidic and full-bodied. While in Baja the wines are stronger and bland. Winegrowers often choose to blend wines from the three sub regions of Rioja to create a better consistency and not to have the yearly variation of vintages.

In Rioja, they have a Consejo Regulador, or in other words: Wine Governor. This was started in the 1920s, this system was started to administer wine production and wine-marketing activities in the region of Rioja. A station is maintained in Haro, where the Oja and the Ebro meet. From here, there are people who inspect and make analysis of the proper way to produce wines in the region. But they also administer to regional regulations, that they are kept.

The types of Rioja wines are the following:

Clarete                 =             Light reds with a fruity aroma.

Tinto                      =             Dark reds, full-bodied and high in alcohol content.

Rosado                 =             Rosé wines, either light and dry or heavy and sweet.

Blanco                   =             White wines, both dry and green and golden and sweet.

Reservas              =             Red wines, chosen from better vintages and aged for at least six years.