Cataluña is the northeastern corner of Spain just under France. Its most famous city is Barcelona, which suggests a lot about the open-minded, entrepreneurial attitude toward winemaking in this region. Cataluña, or Catalunya as it is known in the local Catalan language, doesn’t think of itself as particularly Spanish, and its winemaking traditions are a mix Spanish and French. Of the ten appellations in Cataluña the most famous are Priorat, Penedès and Tarragona. Penedès is the largest and most productive of the appellations since it is home to Spain’s most important Cava producers, namely Freixenet and Codorníu. Cava was first made in Penedès in the late 19th century using Spanish grape varietals to making sparkling wines in the French manner. Cataluña is also known for intensely flavored, dark red wines from Priorat and other appellations. The primary red grapes are Tempranillo, Garnacha Tinta and Cabernet Sauvignon. Cava is made from the indigenous white grapes Xarel-lo, Parellada and Macabeo.
One of the most widely grown grape varieties, it can be found in nearly every wine growing region. A cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a hardy vine that produces a full-bodied wine with high tannins and great aging potential.