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Description to V.T. Extremadura
One of the 17 autonomous regions of Spain, which is one of the oldest wine-growing areas in the world. Shortly before the turn of time, the Romans settled on the banks of the Guadiana River and founded the city of Emerita Augusta, today's Mérida. Among them there was a first big bloom in viticulture. In the 13th century the area was a hotly contested buffer zone between Christian and Moorish Spain. Under Moorish influence, viticulture declined, but reached a peak again in the 17th century. In the 16th and 17th centuries it was mainly emigrants from Extremadura who conquered Central and South America as conquistadores, above all Hernán Cortés (1485-1547), Francisco Pizarro (1476-1541) and Hernando de Soto (1500-1542). Most of the captured wealth flowed back home.
In this extremely fertile region there is sheep farming, olive growing and viticulture. Many local specialities bear the title of protected designation of origin (DO). These are the famous "Jamón Dehesa de Extremadura" (Jamón Ibérico), the ham of the black Iberian pig that lives freely in the oak woods and feeds on acorns, cheeses such as "Ibores" made from goat's milk, "Torta del Casar" and "Queso de la Serena" made from sheep's milk, as well as olive oil and smoked peppers. The dehesas (cork oak forests) cover a quarter of the region's total surface area, with around one million hectares, and provide the bark for the production of cork.
Extremadura lies between the Portuguese region of Alentejo in the west and the Spanish region of La Mancha in the east. It should not be confused with the Portuguese region of . The name means "land beyond the Duero" or according to another version "extremely hard" (extreme). In the south, Andalusia and in the north Castilla y León are connected. La Mancha and Extremadura belong to the huge plateau landscape Meseta. The region is divided into two halves by the mountain ranges of the Sierra de Guadalupe and the Sierra de San Pedro. The Extremadura Alta in the north is largely identical with the province of Cáceres. The southern and somewhat more fertile part Extremadura Baja around the course of the river Guadiana corresponds roughly to the province of Badajoz. The climate is characterized by hot, dry summers and mild winters.
The vineyards cover a total of 87,000 hectares. The main red wine varieties are Tempranillo, Garnacha Tinta, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, while the main white wine varieties are PardilloCayetana Blanca, Viura(Macabeo) and Eva(Beba). In 1999, the Ribera del Guadiana DO area, the first and so far only one to be classified, covers over 27,000 hectares. Most of it is located in the south of the region, in Extremadura Baja. The regional land wine area is called VT Extremadura. A large part of the wine produced here (not as DO or VT) is used for distillation. The production is dominated by a few large wine cooperatives (Sociedades Cooperativas), whose members grow both wine and olives, and huge fincas (agricultural estates) with several hundred hectares of land.