The D.O. was created in 1933, together with the Wine Statute, but its Regulatory Board was not constituted until 1945. Two years later the first Regulations were approved. Amended in 1959, 1975, 1986 and 1996, it has progressively adjusted the grape characteristics, always keeping the identity of this ancient D.O., which does not forget its origins.
The following grape varieties are grown under this D.O. protection: Macabeo, Xarel·lo, white Garnacha, Parellada, Chardonnay, Moscatell from Alejandria, from Málaga and Romà for white wines; Samsó, Garnacha, Ull de Llebre, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot for red and rosé wines.
White wines are produced mainly from Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo varieties. They are well balanced wines, gentle, aromatic and fruity, with an alcohol content ranging from 9 to 13%. The red wines from Ull de Llebre and Cariñena varieties are aromatic and strong while rosé wines are fresh and with a cherry color. Red and rosé wines have an alcohol content ranging from 10 to13%
Red aged wines from Cariñena, Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon varieties are well known in the region of Falset. They have a bright color and their powerful flavor is their main characteristic. Their minimum alcohol content is 12%. Rosés are gentle to the palate and their alcohol content ranges from 11 to 14%
White wines in the area of Ribera d’Ebre are of bright color and an alcohol content of 10-14%, made from Macabeo grape variety. Red and rosé wines, from Cariñena and Garnacha varieties have a harmonious body and color, and a minimum alcohol content of 11%.
Together with these wines we can also find the “Tarragona Clásico” —mostly used with desserts and appetizers, among which viscous wines have an alcohol content ranging from 13,5 to 23% and generous wines have an alcohol content of 14-23%. Dry types are warm, and sweet wines are harmonious. They have a sound aroma and flavor. Some of them undergo traditional rancidity processes to obtain excellent rancio wines.
Tarragona Designation of Origin is located in the central area of this province and it consists of more than 10,000 hectares. Its Mediterranean climate provides average temperatures of 15ºC, and an irregular rainfall.
The predominant varieties are white varieties Parellada, Macabeo, Xarel·lo and white Garnacha. Red varieties like Mazuela, Ull de Llebre and Garnacha come in the second place. White wines are much appreciated by consumers, due to their moderate alcohol content and their fruity aroma. They are mild, light wines and their acidity is not very marked.
In Falset, the mixture of Mazuela and Garnacha results in vigorous, balanced and round wines, with slightly more than 13% alcohol content.
In Camp de Tarragona some elegant, light wines, with medium acidity are obtained from Ull de Llebre variety. The production of viscous wines, like the Tarragona Clásico, is a tradition that continues over the years, resisting mechanization. Nowadays, however, rosés from Tarragona have gained prominence in Catalan wine production; they are excellent wines to the palate and they are fine and elegant.
Aging lasts at least two years, of which at least six months are in oak barrel for whites and rosés; and twelve months for reds.
Viscous wines: Minimum two natural years in oak container.
Rancio wines: Minimum four years including two phases: wood and glass.
Very good: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003.
Good: 2002, 2004, 2005.