Ebro River Valley Wine Area Map

Ebro River Valley

The region’s most important river isn’t Rioja’s namesake, Rio Oja, but the Ebro River which is Spain's mightiest. Snaking between the Sierra Cantabria and the Sierra Demanda, the Ebro and its tributaries have helped carve out vineyards that have been celebrated for centuries.

This area has very important D.O. like D.O.Ca. Rioja, Spain's most famous fine wine region, as well as the four D.O. in Aragón (Somontano, Campo de Borja, Cariñena and Calatayud) and one in Navarra (D.O. Navarra). Rioja itself has three sub-regions — Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta, and Rioja Oriental — and each one has distinct characteristics.

Among the varietals grown here, Tempranillo is king, certainly, but Garnacha, Mazuelo (Carineña), Graciano and increasing numbers of other indigenous grapes are generating new ideas and styles in the region. Reds, whites and rosés all have a home in the Ebro Valley, with reds accounting for the greater part of its fame.

When Calatayud achieved DO status in 1990, it became Aragon’s second largest quality wine-producing region after Cariñena. Since then, it has been upgrading and perfecting its wines with both cooperative and private bodegas undertaking progressive improvements.

There has been considerable investment in new technology, new winemaking systems and vineyard research. Thanks to all of these factors, the Calatayud wines are now beginning to show their true potential.

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Since this area acquired DO status in 1980, it has been progressively acquiring an identity of its own.

Whilst most production continues to be red wines, the number of crianzas and reservas is steadily increasing, they produce white wines too. Today both red and rosé wines have won the respect of experts, and the intensely fruity, young reds are enjoying considerable commercial success.

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Cariñena, the largest and oldest of the Aragonese DOs, was one of Spain's earliest areas to be demarcated, in 1932. It has given its name to the grape of the same name, called the Mazuelo elsewhere in northern Spain and the Carignan in France.

The last decade has seen fast development thanks to fusions between small bodegas and cooperatives, and the reshaping of wines to modern tastes.

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Somontano, with centuries of wine tradition, won its DO status in 1984, and ever since it has produced impressive results. The vineyards, located in the foothills of the Aragonese Pyrenees, have an ideal altitude and climate as well as an interesting range of grape varieties and wineries intent on making unique, high-quality wines.

The excellent results obtained are reflected in the attitude of the domestic and international market, which have created a demand for these products - elegant, structured, and suitable for long life.

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In 1926, Rioja was the first Spanish wine region to obtain DO status. In 1991, it was again the first one promoted to D.O.Ca. (Qualified Designation of Origin), a higher category reserved for wines maintaining a proven consistency and quality over a long period of time.

The area of D.O.Ca. Rioja spans 3 different Autonomous Communities: La Rioja, Basque Country and Navarra. Rioja is famous worldwide primarily for its reds although it also makes whites and rosés and, from 2019 onwards, sparkling wines too. Most bodegas still use their own formulas for blending red wines, using mostly Tempranillo, the noblest of the native Spanish grapes. This grape gives the wines their elegance, concentration of aromas and complexity of flavors that allow for great development through oak aging. It is this, as well as oak ageing, which gives the wines such personality and individuality.

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The autonomous of Navarra region extends from the central Pyrenees to the Ebro Valley through a variety of landscapes. Spectacular mountains in the north give way to green, undulating foothills and, in the south, an arid plain. The vineyards of Navarra DO are located in the southern part of the region, between Pamplona and the plains. This location is practically unique in the Iberian Peninsula and is marked by the confluence of the Atlantic, Continental and Mediterranean climates. The proximity of the Bay of Biscay, the influence of the Pyrenees and the temperate incluence of the Ebro valley are all key factors in giving Navarra its unique range different climates.

Until the 1980s Navarra, a producer of reds, whites and rosés, was best known for its traditional rosé wines, but it has since emerged as one of Spain’s most experienced winemaking areas. This evolution was due, to a large degree, to the work of the Estación de Viticultura y Enología de Navarra (Navarra Viticulture and Oenological Research Station). This centre, established by the Regional Government near Olite, undertakes research and training in the area of viticulture and winemaking and has contributed to turning the DO into a producer of wines as diverse as any found in Spain. Thus, today Navarra makes reds, rosés, whites and Moscatels of quality.

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