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The soil of Ampurdan-Costa Brava consists chiefly of the chalky foothills of the Pyrenees. Most of the area has a thin top covering of fertile soil. Although this Spanish wine-growing area reaches as far as the sea, the better vineyards are inland, particularly on the hills and in sheltered valleys on the sides of the western range of hills (at a height of about 656 feet/200 metres). The climate is clearly Mediterranean with hot summers and mild winters. Proximity to the Pyrenees ensures the area is kept cooler. Ample cooling winds regulate both the temperature and humidity and one of these winds is the notorious Tramontana (Tramontagne on the other side of the mountains) that is feared for the great destruction it frequently causes. The Vines are well fastened to poles to prevent such damage. The most widely planted variety of grape if Mazuelo (local name for the Cariñena), principally used for the many rosados, closely followed by Gamatxa (Garnacha), and the white Xarel-lo, Macabeo, and Garnacha Blanca. Several ‘new’ varieties have been tested here for some years with varying results: Cabernet Sauvignon, Ull de Liebre (Tempranillo), Merlot, Syrah, and white varieties of Parellada, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Muscat, and Chenin Blanc.

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