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Archive for September 8th, 2017

Wine in Spain

Wine has always had a huge importance in all regions of Spain. This holds on until now, Spanish wine gets exported and consumed whole over the globe. And as September has already started, also the harvesting season has started, which usually continues until the end of October. It is the perfect time to travel to Spain right know if you are interested in wine or just enjoy the taste of this delicious drink.

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Source: Verema

Sometimes choosing the right wine can be a challenge, therefore you can find below a short introduction into the labels and classifications of Spanish wine.

Important indications on wine labels

Denominaciones de Origin (DO)

Denominacion de Origin (Designation of Origin) is a stamp, which was introduced in 1932 by Spanish law. It guarantees a certain quality standard for wines which were tested by an institution. Every vintner can voluntarily request the label. There are 70 different DOs in the whole country. It classifies the wine into groups which are defined according to common characteristics like the soil a vine is growing on or the weather which influences the taste. The label is indicated on the bottle with DOC, DO or DOQ. DOCa is a special sign for the regions La Rioja and Priorat, which indicates the extraordinary quality of the wine.

Age classifications

Every wine get classified into different groups according to their age. In Spain they divide them in 4 main groups:

Joven, which means it is a pretty young wine, which did not get aged for a long time or in any specific barrel.

Crianza is the next classification, for wines with a minimum age of 1 year and at least 6 months aged in a wooden barrel. In La Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra it is 2 years and 1 year in a wooden barrel.

Reserva, means the wine is at least 2 years (for whites) or 3 years (for reds) old and 6 months (white) or 1 year (red) stored in a wooden barrel.

Gran Reserva is the last group and it stands for wines, which are minimum 4 (white) or 5 (red) years old and 6 (white) or 18 (red) months aged in a wooden barrel. For La Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra there is a minimum of 5 years and 2 years of storage in wooden barrels.

Spanish wine growing regions

Spain is sub-divided in 7 distinct climates and regions. First the northwest “Green” Spain, which is Galicia. It is characterised by lush green valleys and influenced by cool and misty climate. The vintners of the region focus on white wines and the champion variety there is the grape Albariño. But also reds are planted there, like Mencia. Next, there is Mesata Central (Central Plateau) which includes the capital of Spain, Madrid. The weather there is mostly dry, sunny and hot in the summers and dry and moderate mild in the winter. It focuses on red wine productions out of the grapes Garnacha, Tempranillo and Petit Verdot. Another region, which is famous for Sherry, is Andalucía. It lies next to the sea in the south of Spain and comprises cities like Sevilla, Malaga and Granada. The DO Montilla-Moriles focuses on dessert wine productions, which are called PX. The most southern wine growing region of Spain are the Canary Islands. Due to the mainly hot and dry summers and moderate warm winters their main emphasis lies on producing red wines and dessert wines out of the grape Moscatel. The volcanic soils they have are the reason for the gritty taste of rustic minerality of the red wines. The most important regions are Duero River Valley, Catalonia and Basque Country, which get further examined in the next paragraphs.

Duero River Valley’s political name is Castilla y León. The most famous DO of this region is Ribera del Duero, which is famous for its delicious red wines which grow along the hills of the Duero river. Tempranillo is the main variety of this region (also the main variety of whole Spain). The most famous winery of Spain, which is located in Ribera del Duero, is called Vega Sicilia, which operates since 1982.

Ribera2

Source: Pinterest

Catalonia lies at the Mediterranean coast and has 10 DOs. The amount of wine produced in this region accounts for 25% of the whole wine in Spain. Tasty white wines, as well as deep red reds get produced there. A typical wine drink, only produced here, is Cava, traditional sparkling white wine, which serves to be the best drink for any kind of celebration.

Basque Country lies in the north of Spain, and is famous for delicious wine as well as food. Popular wines there are the white Txakoli and the famous red Rioja. Txakoli, perfect for any hot summer night, because its low in alcohol and Rioja goes will with rich dinners or on winter evenings. Not only the taste of the wines impresses, but also the breath-taking beautiful nature where the vines grow.

Rioja 3

Source: Le Petit Ballon

Festivals

Right now it is the perfect time to come to Spain and celebrate the numerous wine festivals in whole over the country. The celebrations take place during the whole harvesting time, from September to October. Wineries open their cellars and have open days in their production halls. Wine enthusiasts, tourists and locals are invited to wine tastings and to try the tasty food of the regions. The programs also includes typical traditions like folk dance, live music, parades or theatrical performances. The most famous ones are Rioja Grape harvest festivals and the Autumn Festivals.

Traditions

Not only pure wine is typically consumed in Spain, but also any kind of wine cocktail. The most famous is probably Sangria, which is made out of red wine, sugared fruits, and sweet lemon juice. Another common drink is Tinto de Verano, the name already indicates, that it is the perfect beverage for the summer. It is similar to Sangria but only contains red wine and sweet lemon lemonade.

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Source: Barcelona city

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