This region within Catalunya (Catalonia) is known for its distinguishing soil type, known locally as licorella (The Catalan word for “licorice”) and to the rest of Spain as pizarra. The soil resembles shiny, black rock, with veins of brown-red, minerally earth. In some places this crumbles easily and in others it’s very rigid. This forces the vines’ roots to dig very deep for water, adding mineral intensity to the grapes grown there. The arid region receives a small amount of rainfall, making yields low compared to the rest of the country. Therefore, wines from this region, which can be concentrated and magnificent, are also quite costly. In 2000, the region was awarded the country’s highest designation, DOCa (Denominacion de Origen Calificada).
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