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When you think of Spanish wine, you think of Spanish red wine. And even though Tempranillo, Grenache and Bobal wines support this assessment, Spain is also considered the largest white wine producer. The Iberian Peninsula offers almost one million hectares of cultivation area. Enough space for all kinds of noble grape varieties. Spanish viticulture has the largest area under vines in the world, but produces less yield than France and Italy. This means less quantity and higher quality. Thus every connoisseur of Spanish wine can be sure to hold a full wine with complex structure and intense fruit in his hand.
The history of Spanish viticulture
The history of Spanish wine is ancient, over thousands of years old, 4000 BC to be precise. Around 1100 BC, Phoenician merchants founded the city of Cádiz along the Atlantic coast and intensified the cultivation of wine. Even with the conquest of the Carthaginians and Romans, viticulture in Spain did not cease. Rather, the Romans promoted large-scale cultivation to supply troops and settlers in the furthest corners of the Roman Empire with tasty wine from Spain. In this way, the Romans exported wine to Italy, France and England. After the disintegration of Roman culture in Spain, it was barbarian tribes from the north and Arab rulers from the south who strongly limited Spanish viticulture. The Arabs in particular had no use for alcohol, so there was no need to grow wine. But wine didn't completely disappear either. In the meantime, the rulers allowed the locals to continue the production of wine. But only monks allowed Spanish viticulture to flourish again after the Arab rulers withdrew from Spain. The phylloxera and world wars prevented the growth without further ado, but could not prevent the strong ascent in the end. Spanish wine is simply too spoiled by the ideal conditions that the grapes can enjoy in the various microclimates. Today Spain is considered one of the top nations for professional and traditional viticulture.
Over 1 million hectares, about 5000 bodegas, more than 250 grape varieties. The most important grape varieties for Spanish wine are:
Airén: The most widely cultivated grape variety in Spain is white, but is rather unknown abroad.
Bobal: Red, acidic, light alcohol - also delicious as rosé wine.
Grenache: Red, rich in extracts and suitable for strong meat dishes.
Monastrell: Red, fruity, vital - a red wine for every day.
Paradella: Another white grape variety from the higher regions of Spain.
Quality levels of Spanish wine
Like every renowned wine-producing country, Spain has its own quality system. Spanish wines are divided into 5 categories. In ascending order, these are:
Vino de Mesa ( VdM), comparable to table wine, without indication of origin and grape variety, since the latter can be chosen by the winegrower according to his mood.
Vino de la Tierra (VdlT), a country wine that must come from a certain region. The label indicates the grape varieties and the vintage.
Denominación de origen (D.O.), wine with controlled designation of origin, whereby the local grape variety and yield are also regulated.
Denominación de origen calificado (D.O.C.),A quality level that is only granted to a few growing regions. Among them the region of Rioja and Priorat.
Vino de Pago, a relatively new level which may only be used for excellent individual vineyards.
Among these categories, Spanish wine growers and wine experts use another classification relating to the storage of wine.
Joven - A young wine without a prescribed barrel storage period.
Crianza - A red wine aged for at least 2 years, including 1 year in casks and a white wine and rosé aged in casks for 6 months may bear the designation Crianza on the label.
Reserva - Red wines must be stored for 3 years, 12 months in barrels. White wines, on the other hand, 2 years, 6 months in cask.
Gran Reserva - For the highest category, red wines must be stored for 5 years and spend at least 2 years in casks. Spanish rosé wines and white wines must be aged in casks for 6 months and in bottles for another 42 months.
The most important Spanish wine growing regions
In every corner of the Iberian Peninsula there are numerous bodegas, some bigger and some smaller, with different climatic conditions. High-quality wine from Spain is produced here everywhere, but some wine growing areas are particularly significant for the steep ascent of the Vino de España.
Spain's best-known cultivation area is spoiled by numerous hours of sunshine and loamy and calcareous soils. From Rioja mainly Spanish red wines from Tempranillo, Grenache and Mazuelo are made. Always worth a glass is the single-variety Graciano, which develops along the river Ebro into a powerful, aromatic wine of the highest quality.
Ribera del Duero
On the slopes of the Castilian plateau, in the heart of Castile-León, the best wines that Spain has to offer thrive. Modern approaches have a long tradition here. Tinto Fino, the local name for Tempranillo, lines the vineyards and produces first-class products. There are also scattered vineyards with Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The oldest areas under cultivation in Catalonia are located on the slate soils of the Priorat. Both red wines and white wines from Spain are cultivated here. Among them are all kinds of noble grape varieties, such as Cariñena, Grenache, Merlot, Chenin blanc, Pinot Noir, yellow Muscatel, Syrah and of course Tempranillo. A fine selection for high-quality and award-winning wines from Spain.
Northern Navarre often produces very fine and less full-bodied wines of the highest quality. Thanks to its proximity to France, vines such as Chardonnay, Malvasia and Muscatel have found their way into the Navarre region, among the usual Tempranillo and Grenache grape varieties. Despite the sharp decline of the Grenache, the Rosado is still considered a speciality of the winegrowers from northern Spain.
The wine growing area in the heart of Spain on the banks of the Duero is famous and popular for the almost black and powerful red wines from the grape variety Tinta de Toro, the local term for Tempranillo. Toro stands for typical Spanish red wines - strong, intense and inexpensive.
Less a contiguous area of cultivation than a collection of areas dedicated to sparkling wine. Cava from Catalonia is the answer to French champagne and German Sekt. Vinified for example from Macabeo, Parellada, Chardonnay, Monastrell and the sugar-rich Xarel lo, the storage period on the yeast for cavas is at least nine months. A lot longer in the case of Reserves and Gran Reservas.
The regulations for the production of cavas are strict, but also guarantee the highest quality.
Alcoholic content between 10.8 and 12.8 % vol.
Acidity of at least 5,5 g/l
Pressure at least 3.5 bar at 20°C.
Fermentation time on the yeast for Reserva Cava 15 months
Fermentation time on the yeast for Gran Reserva Cava 30 months
Our VINELLO recommendation
Montecillo Crianza DOCa - Bodegas Montecillo
What would a Spanish wine recommendation be without a powerful and cherry red wine from La Rioja? The pure Montecillo Crianza is fruity and spicy on the palate and guarantees a balanced and delicate finish. A wine from Spain for strong meat dishes, for grilling or simply to enjoy.
Reserva Brut DO - Segura Viudas
Fruity, refreshing cava with aromas of white fruit, exotic fruit and citrus nuances. On the full-bodied palate a stimulating, tangy acidity and notes of pineapple and lime provide plenty of freshness. Cava at its finest. A bottle-fermented sparkling wine at this price is hardly imaginable.
Goru El Blanco Jumilla DO - Ego Bodegas
A delightfully aromatic cuvée from the Chardonnay and Moscatel grape varieties. In the nose, the aromas of citrus, quince, banana, pineapple and papaya are lush and ripe, with typical floral notes of muscatel. On the long and round palate it is very lush, fruity and ripe, with soft acidity and full body.
Buy Spanish wine cheap online
Red wine, rosé wine, white wine, sparkling wine, sherry, dessert wine - a lot of wine from Spain that arouse passion, reveal pleasure and simply taste delicious. You can find this and much more at your VINELLO wine shop. Buy Spanish wines cheaply and have them delivered insured, wherever and whenever you want. Shop safely and experience boundless sensual pleasure in fluid form. Discover Spain and the wide world of fine wines and noble spirits on VINELLO - your wine trade for a sun-kissed Spanish drop, or two, or even more in the Spanish wine package.
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