Somontano which means ‘below the mountains’, is located in the foothills of the Pyrenees to the west of Catalonia. It is one of the four Spanish Wine DOs within the autonomous region of Aragón along with Calatayud, Campo de Borja and Cariñena but it shares little in common with them or indeed any other Spanish region. The youthful and dynamic Somontano Spanish wine DO is based largely on private enterprise and its architects have opted wholeheartedly for a modern approach which can be seen in the design of wine labels through to the wineries and well tended vineyards.
International grape varieties play a major role here and if you taste a wine based on Cabernet Sauvignon or one of the Gewürztraminers which have recently emerged from the bodegas, you will appreciate why – these grapes are well suited to Somontano Spanish wine DO region's soils and climate. Not to be overlooked, some producers also make impressive wines from Garnacha, especially from more mature vines and looking very promising here as well is Syrah, a recent arrival.
Visit the Consejo Regulador at Barbastro for a spectacular overview of the region and its wines in the impressive circular video room and taste a few wines with regional tapas at the in-house restaurant. The building is located conveniently alongside the tourist office which is not a coincidence as the two organisations have worked closely in recent years to establish a wine route.
The Spanish Wine DO wine route connects the various bodegas and local aspects of interest including the medieval village and fortress of Alquézar. It winds its way through delightful Mediterranean scenery featuring olive groves, almond trees and rivers with no mass urban developments in sight.
Somontano Spanish Wine DO Principal White Grape Varieties: Chardonnay, Macabeo, Gewürztraminer, Alcañon and Garnacha Blanca. Others: Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling
Somontano Spanish Wine DO Principal Red Grape Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo, Moristel, Syrah, Garnacha Tinta, Pinot Noir and Parraleta
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