Catalan red wines are made primarly with Cariñena and Garnacha grapes which have a high acidity and little oxidation and are ideal for aging. Garnacha grapes give body and meatiness to the wine, and the the wines made with this grape are highly valued as they are cultivated in poor soil.
The Tempranillo or Ull de Llebre variety adds quality and great aging to the wine. This type of grape is used in many Catalan wines, and has a fruity flavor that is ideal for “young” wines (vinos jovenes). The Monastrell grape is also common for reds in Catalunya, though its extreme sweetness makes it ideal for dessert wines and Vins Rancis. Monastrell is a very dark grape with a spherical shape that is often mixed with other varieties.
An international grape variety also popular in Catalunya is Merlot. Wines made with this grape tend to be velvety and delicate. In Catalan wine varieties, Merlot grapes are found in the Penedés D.O.
Pinot Noir is grown in the Alt Penedes. The skin of the grape is very thick with tiny bumps and the resulting wine is very aromatic.
Another variety is the Cabernet Sauvignon, which has a thick, tough skin and juicy pulp. It has an outstanding ability to age well and gives its resulting wines a fruity flavor.
Syrah, the grape so well known for Australian wines, comes from from Valle del Ródano in Catalan wnes. Syrah produces very bold, full-bodied wines with strong colors and very aromatic bouquets.
The Penedés red wines are reserved for 3 to 4 years and remain in oak barrels before being bottled and have sumptuous, velvety tones.
Terra Alta reds have a very intense color with fruity aroma and a full body. The aging lasts 14 months and is done in oak barrels. Many vinos jovenes are prodcued in L’Emporda region.