The region (autonomia) of Aragon, sandwiched between the La Rioja and Navarra to the north-east
and Catalonia to
the south-west, comprises the following four appellations.
Calatayud, Campo de Broja
and Cariñena to
the west of the city of Zaragoza, and Somontano, further north,
and near the city of Huesca. The region is noted for its astonishing variety of
landscapes, from lush green river valleys to terraced mountainsides, and hot,
The most popular grape in the region is Garnacha, while Tempranillo
trails a long way behind. There are also patches of Monastrell and Mazuello. The recent decades
have seen the introduction of international varieties (Chardonnay, Merlot, Cab. Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Syrah) mainly in Somontano.
Aragon can boast of being one of Spain's most famous traditional
wine-producing regions. In the early Spanish reconquista years of Ferdinand
(Prince of Aragon) and Isabella (Queen of Castille) and in the period that
followed the marriage of their daughter Catherine to Henry VIII, Aragon become
increasingly rich, clerical and royal, which provided the local growers with an
affluent, well-established market for their wines.
The local wine-making styles remained unchanged for several centuries,
focusing on traditional, robust, alcoholic, heady, oxidized (rancio) or
fortified (generoso) wines. Since the early 1990s, Aragon has experienced a
dramatic turnaround, with the D.O. region of Somontano leading the race for