Terra Alta – the ‘High Land’ – is the largest grape growing region in Catalonia. Located in the southeast zone bordering Aragon and Valencia, Terra Alta has a long history of producing bulk wine for the cooperative market from soils rich in clay – critical for retaining moisture in an otherwise parched environment. The wine hub of this relatively unheralded region is the village of Batea, built on a combination of Moorish and Roman foundations, and home to several families that have been growing grapes for centuries. Leading the charge for a new generation of winemakers that have started to reduce yields and keep their own produce is Nuria Altés, whose fabulous white and red Garnachas have marked her as a rising star in the Spanish wine firmament. Her 100% Garnacha blanc – an unoaked cuvée raised in small concrete tanks on the lees – possesses smooth citrus and melon flavors and a fuller, creamier texture than most of the wines we tried for this newsletter. Old friend Eric Solomon is the importer and Stephen Tanzer has given the wine 88 points. Food match: calamari, fish or Masona Grill’s ceviche.