Glossary (Regions)

Montsant –takes its name from the Montsant massif, the ‘holy mountain’ that dominates the landscape. The region forms a ‘C’ shape, and nearly surrounds the Priorat region. The vineyards are on steep slopes, mostly interspersed with pine and olive trees. The soil here is called ‘llicorella,’ specific to the region and made of up slate and granite. This, along with the extremely diurnal temperatures, gives wines from the Montsant exceptional concentration, acidity and minerality, and a great expression of terroir.

Ribeira Sacra- is a winegrowing zone at the heart of Galicia, north-western Spain. The name Ribeira Sacra means ‘Sacred Shore,’ which is most likely a reference to the number of monasteries in the area. The region’s boundaries are essentially the Mino and the Sil rivers, which tend to regulate the temperature and give the region a more continental climate- with long warm summers and cold wet winters. Humidity here is fairly low. The steepness of the vineyards ensures good drainage and the terraced sites are positioned carefully to maximize sunshine hours. All of these factors enable the vines here to produce grapes with concentrated, expressive flavors.

Rías Baixas- is a relatively new DO, but don’t let that fool you. White wines from this region, mostly made from the Albariño grape, are some of the best coming out of Spain. They vary depending on subregion, but all lean toward a fresh, stone fruit, melon character with floral aromatics and a salty, mineral backbone

Rioja Alavesa- is the smallest, northernmost. Tempranillo grown here often produces vino joven (young) wines for early consumption. Rioja Alavesa is the northernmost of the three sub-regions, bordering Rioja Alta to the southwest and Rioja Baja to the southeast. It is most similar to Rioja Alta in terms of climate, soil and style, and together they are considered to produce the best wines of the region.

Terra Alta- is the most southerly wine Denominación de Origen region in Catalonia, northern Spain. It is west of the province of Tarragona. Terra Alta, meaning ‘high land’ in Catalan, boasts the highest altitude of the region, with the mountain peaks here reaching 3000ft. The vineyards are located further down, in the foothills and on valley floors. The impressive landscape has been captured in several paintings by Pablo Picasso, who spent a number of drunken summers here. Traditionally, due mostly to its geographical isolation, this region only made wine for local consumption. Since Terra Alta was awarded DO status in 1985, however, it has undergone a great period of modernization, and wines have become more readily available in Europe and the US.