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, semi-arid locations.
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 quality improvements.