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Archive for the ‘enology’ Category

With the months of September and October the autumn is coming, and with it the time of the grape harvest in Spain. This season is celebrated traditionally with many wine and harvest festivals throughout the Spanish wine regions and even more wineries open their doors to public. Especially in this season, the Spanish wine regions offer numerous possibilities to experience the Spanish wine culture!

vineyards

vineyards in Catalonia

Festivals

Many of the Spanish wine regions celebrate the season of grape harvesting with the so-called “Fiesta de la Vendimia”, the grape harvest festival. Part of the festivals are activities such as the traditional grape treading, the tasting of the first must, contests and folkloric dances. Some major grape harvest festivals are celebrated in Rioja Alavesa, Logroño, Burgos and Jerez, where the whole city or region participates in the activities for several days.


Special wineries

There are many wineries in Spain, but some of them deserve special mentioning, due to unique features or a specific focus. one of the most famous wineries in La Rioja area is Marqués de Riscal, which is one of the oldest wineries in the region, but features a modern building, designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry. The combination of architecture and oenology can also be found in other wineries, like Bodegas Baigorri, Bodegas Ysios or Bodegas Sommos that were also designed by renowned architects and are real works of art.

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Marqués de Riscal, Elciego, Rioja Alavesa

Another aspect that often is focused is the ecological one. Wineries like Parés Baltà, Bodegas Aroa and Bodega Adrada Ecológica pay special attention to the ecologic and biodynamic cultivation of grapes and elaboration of wines. Most of the wineries offer visits, where you can explore the vineyards and cellars and find out more about the wine making process.


Wine tastings and gastronomy

If you decide to visit a winery, it could be a good idea to combine the visit with a wine tasting. Normally, the wineries offer combined visits, where you can taste the wine that is produced there, after the tour through the winery. Some wineries created even more differentiated tastings, combining the savouring of wine with local products as cheese, ham, chocolate or olive oil.

wine-tasting

wine and ham tasting

(photo source: Catalunya Convention Bureau)

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the Basque city San Sebastian has a lot to offer for both, locals and visitors that are looking for culinary specialties. besides many markets with local products and numerous pintxo and txakoli wine bars, the city offers you a remarkable number of Michelin star restaurants – a perfect mix, if you seek special gastronomic experiences.

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San Sebastián (Source: San Sebastián Turismo)

pintxos are the Basque version of tapas – small snacks that are offered in bars or taverns, often presented on top of the counter. the main difference to tapas is that pintxos are normally served on a skewer on top of a piece of bread. they are typical for the Basque Country and in San Sebastian you can find pintxos in every bar, especially around the old town. you should not miss to try them! some nice places to try pintxos in San Sebastian are the pintxo bars Gandarias and Astelehena. typical pintxos include seafood or fish like cod or anchovies, tortilla de patatas (potato omelette) or stuffed peppers.

we recommend to accompany the delicious Basque food with a typical Basque beverage – txakoli wine. this is a sparkling, dry and fruity white wine with moderate alcohol content. normally served as an aperitif, it is also a perfect accompaniment to pintxos. the txakoli wine is served cold and from a height, so the aroma can develop perfectly, when the beverage splashes into the typical tall glasses. to discover more about the txakoli wine production, it’s a good idea to visit a txakoli winery in the surroundings of San Sebastian, where you will be introduced into the production process and, of course, can taste the txakoli wine on site.

San Sebastian also offers you very special and high end cuisine. the city’s 9 Michelin star restaurants have received a total of 16 Michelin stars. all of them offer you very special gourmet moments. a very nice restaurant to visit is Akelarre, one of the few Spanish three star restaurants, which is located on the side of Monte Igeldo hill, overlooking the Bay of Biscay. this location lets you relish the cuisine – a mix of tradition, vanguard and haute cuisine – while enjoying stunning views of the sea and the bay.

 

 

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the country side of spain could be compared with the wild west if we are talking about wine. unlike france, where individual plots of land have been set aside for centuries as the best spots for winemaking, producers in spain are still out searching for new terroirs, new regions and new (old) indigenous grape varieties that have been pushed aside in favour of commercial winemaking. there are several important wine grapes in spain and hundreds of varieties not covered here. many foreign varieties have found fertile footing in spain and the rest of the varieties are being rediscovered every day. some of the best spanish red grapes are monastrell, bobal, callet, cariñena, tempranillo, mencía, moristel, and not to forget the with grapes; doña blanca, albillo, verdejo, palomino and torrontés.

grapesbefunky.jpgimportant to know about the spanish wine
spain has over 1.17 million hectares planted, making it the most widely planted wine producing nation. it is the third largest producer of wine in the world being france the biggest followed by italy). while respecting its winemaking traditions, spain´s wine laws are changing to allow innovation in a rapidly evolving global wine market. spanish wine laws created the denominación de origen (do) system in 1932 and there are 79 wine areas who fulfilled the requirements for this label. next to the do, the doc (denominación de origen calificada) was created for the areas that have a consistent track record for quality. there are currently two doc areas; rioja and priorat.

spanish wines are often labelled according to ageing of the wine. the three most common aging designations on spanish wine labels are crianza (red wines that are aged for 6 months to 2 years in oak, whites and rosés for an maximum of 1 year), reserva (red wines are aged from 1 year to 3 years in oak, whites and roses from 6 months to 2 years) and gran reserva (wines that typically appear in above average vintages with the red wines requiring at least 5 years in oak and a maximum of 36 months in the bottle, whites and roses at least 4 years in oak).

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regions
where to go to explore the wine culture and its surroundings together with, of course, a perfect wine tasting experience? here in spain there are a lot of different wine regions and it’s up to you to choose the wine that best suits your taste. every regions has its own preferences and quality, so before deciding where to go, have a look at the following wine regions what are worth visiting during your stay in spain:

ribera del duero
between madrid and santander, this region near burgos is the fastest developing wine district in the country and the creator of massive investments in the past few years. the heart of the ribera del duero is the milla de oro, or golden mile, a short strip of land surrounding the duero river. the milla de oro looks like the countless rows of vineyards cutting across the landscape nearby, but this is the home of wineries like vega sicilia, pingus, abadia retuerta and mauro. for the red wine-fanatics; miniscule quantities of cabernet, sauvignon, syrah, malbec and garnacha (mostly used for blending). throughout this region you will find that central spain is famous for rich pork dishes and delicious cured spanish ham, sheep cheeses, roasted lamb and stews. if you visit ribera del duero, try to look for a wine tasting including food. you will discover how good wine can be combined with food!
for more information go to http://www.riberadelduero.es/

befunkyribera.jpgjerez de frontera
this town of 200.000 residents (most of them work in the wine trade) is surrounded by sea of vineyard. 95% of the region is planted with the hardy and flavourful palomino fino to produce sherry, one of the most beloved products in spain. few others regions contain so many bodegas, any of which might be visited. try for example one of the wineries of emilio lustau, gonzález byass or pedro domecq. there are different wine tours including great detailed explanations of the sherry wine and stops at the jerez de la frontera monuments, the cathedral, the moorish alcazar and the narrow typical streets in the old town.
for more information: http://www.jerez.es/

penedés
back in the old times, thousands of vessels of wine were shipped from this region of catalonia to fuel orgies of the roman empire. the region produces still wines, as well as 98% of spain´s sparkling wines (cava´s), which stand an excellent change of supplanting french champagne in the minds of celebrants throughout the world. in fact, freixenet is the largest selling sparkling wine in the world. enjoy the penedés experience where you could visit wineries, stay overnight among the vineyards and sample the local cuisine. taste wines and cavas, take part in popular festivals and discover the territory with its cultural and walking routes among the vineyard. codorniu, freixenet and miquel torres at the most famous wineries in town.
for more information: http://www.enoturismepenedes.cat/

befunkywinetasting.jpgla rioja
rioja is worldwide famous thanks to the red wine. set in the foothills of the pyrenees close to the french border, la rioja turns out what most people have in mind when they think of spanish wines. the wine rioja is made from grapes grown not only in region la rioja, but also in parts of navarre and the basque province álava. rioja is further subdivided into three zones: rioja alta, rioja baja and rioja alavesa. a wine tour in rioja should combine old wineries with modern ones to understand both the rich tradition of the rioja region and the changes that have also taken place. here are some of the best vineyards for a visit: herederos de marqués de rascal, bodegas riojanas, bodegas muga and la rioja alta.
for more information: http://www.tasterioja.es/

galicia
this region in the north-western corner of spain produces white wines praised by as the perfect accompaniment to local seafood. the marketing name for the product is el vino del mar (sea wine), but the denominación de origen prefer to call it rias baixas and ribeiro. it is one of the main tourist attractions because of the ´camino´ of santiago de compostela and its cathedral. it is a rainy and wet region with a mediterranean climate and it is also a destination with a big selection of beaches and bays to choose from. per-capita wine consumption in galicia is the highest in spain; a majority of the wine produced here was formerly consumed locally. now things have changed and the wine from galicia is internationally popular. bodega morgadio is a very famous winerie.
for more information: http://www.turgalicia.es/

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