Catalonia is an autonomous area located in the northeastern corner of Spain, just below France. Greek colonies along the Mediterranean coastline have introduced vineyards more than 2,000 years ago. Later, the Romans concentrated production around Tarragona and Alele, near Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia. During the Middle Ages the monasteries developed and improved the varieties. Catalan wines, along with those in the Rioja, have become much sought after in France when the Phylloxera outbreak destroyed many vineyards at the end of the 19th century. French influence also leads to the planting of Cabernet and Merlot along with local varieties.
In the 20th century, Catalan wine production is a leader in innovation and is at the heart of Spain's incredible rise to third world wine. The use of metal winery vessels began and the growing of international varieties of grapes increased.The region attracts the attention of wine lovers from around the world when in 1979 a bottle of "Gran Coronas Black Label 1970" (coupled by Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Monastrell) took part in the Gault Millau Wine Olympiad and won in its category. This is the same event during which California wines became popular.
Of the Twelve Appeals (DO) in Catalonia, Priorat, Pened & egrave, and Tarragona are best known. Pened & egrave; s is the largest and makes 90% of all Cava in Spain. Cava was first established in Pened & egrave s at the end of the 19th century, using Spanish grape varieties to produce sparkling wines according to the French method of Champagne. Catalonia is also known for its highly aromatic, dark red wines from Priorat, one of Spain's two DOC classifications. The main red grapes are Tempranillo, Garnacha Tinta and Cabernet Sauvignon. Cava is produced from local white varieties Xarello, Parellada and Macabeo.
The Catalan wine industry nowadays accounts for a quarter of the Spanish - about 380 million bottles a year.