Spanish wines guide to wines from Spain
Think of Spanish Wines and your first thought will probably be,
red Riojas. The Spanish have been
well known to lovers of wines worldwide for years as a reliable source
good value, red wines. However white wines are now made all over Spain.
Wine is part of the culture in Spain.
Spain is the third largest producer of wine in the world, the largest
two being France and Italy. There are more than fifty wine regions
in Spain. Better
known are the quality reds from Rioja and Ribera del Duero, reds and white
wines from Penedés and Rueda, "sherries" from Jerez,
and a fine sparkling wine known as cava (Spanish champagne)
Until about 25 years ago, Spanish red wines were generally of mediocre quality.
Many were aged too long in wood, overpowering their freshness and fruit character.
However, quality has risen to the point that they compete successfully in
the international market. Very high quality Spanish wines have recently become “trendy” in
Spain has a similar classification system to France and Italy, with all classified
wine regions regulated under the Denominación de Origen (DO) system.
Red wines are often labelled as Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva. In Rioja
and the Ribera del Duero, Crianza wines are two years old, with at least twelve
months spent in cask (elsewhere the oak ageing may legally be restricted to
just six months). Reservas are three years old (at least one year in cask),
Gran Reservas five years old (two in cask, three in bottle).