Costers del Segre
Costers del Segre is a Spanish Denominación de Origen (DO) (Denominació d'Origen in Catalan) for wines located in the province of Lleida (Catalonia, Spain) and is divided into several separate sub-zones. The four original subzones created in 1988 are Artesa, to the northeast of Lleida, Valls de Riucorb to the east, Garrigues and Raïmat. In 1998 two other subzones were added: Pallars Jussà, next to the town of Tremp, 90 km north of Lleida and Segrià to the west and surrounded by the Raimat subzone.
The climate is continental (hot summers and cold winters), influenced by the proximity of the Pyrenees, though rainfall is sparse. Average rainfall is around 450 mm though 300 mm is common in the west. Average annual temperature is 15°C (max 35°C in summer, minimum below zero in winter). There are also extreme variations between daytime and night-time temperatures all year. Drought, hailstones and spring frosts are occasional risks for the vineyards.
Even though the vineyards are dispersed geographically, most are on dark lime bearing soils, with a high lime content, low clay content and poor in organic matter. Height varies between 250 m and 700 m above sea level.
Several grape varieties, both local and foreign, are authorized in the Costers del Segre DO: for white wines: Macabeo, Parellada, Riesling and Sauvignon blanc; and for red wines: Garnacha tinta, Tempranillo (known locally as Ull de Llebre), Trepat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Monastrell, Merlot, Pinot noir and Syrah. The grapes used for making Cava are grown mainly in the east.
The older vines grow as low bushes (en vaso), while the more recently planted ones are on trellises (en espaldera) so as to allow mechanization of vineyards activities. Maximum authorized planting density is 2,500 vines/ha. The vineyards in the west of the province use irrigation systems to mitigate the effects of the cold and the heat.