Spanish Wines - Overview
|Posted in Spanish Wines & Spirits on Jan 30, 2011|
Wine has been produced in Spain since pre-Roman times and there is a great variety on offer today, including famous types such as Rioja from La Rioja region. The key standard for the industry is the Denominación de Origen (DO) classification, a guarantee of a wine's origin and quality. Vino de la Tierra is a classification of wines below that of DO, for which over 60 per cent of the grapes come from a specified region
Vino de Mesa, the lowest category, covers basic unclassified wines. Spain is the ninth in worldwide consumption with Spaniards drinking an average of 40 litres a year. The country has an abundance of native grape varieties with over 600 varieties planted throughout Spain though 80 percent of the country's wine production is from only 20 grapes.
Wine label - The label will provide a key to the wine's flavour and quality. It will bear the name of the wine and its producer or bodega, its vintage if there is one, and show its Denominación de Origen (DO) if applicable. Wines labelled Cosecha are recent vintages and the least expensive, while Crianza and Reserva wines are aged a minimum of two or three years - part of that time in oak casks - and therefore more expensive. Table Wine (Vino de Mesa) may be Tinto (red), Blanco (white) or Rosado (rosé).
Cava is a sparkling wine made by the méthode champenoise in specified areas of origin. Sherry is produced in bodegas in Jerez de la Frontera (Andalucía) and in nearby towns Sanlúcar de Barrameda and El Puerto de Santa María. Although not officially called sherry, similar kinds of wine are produced in Montilla near Córdoba. Pale Fino is dry and light and excellent as an aperitif. Amber amontillado (aged fino) has a strong, earthy taste while Oloroso is full-bodied and ruddy.
Spanish brandy, which comes mainly from the sherry bodegas in Jerez, is known as Coñac. Most bodegas produce at least three different labels and price ranges. Magno is a good middle shelf brandy; top shelf labels are Cardenal Mendoza and Duque de Alba. Anís, which is flavoured with aniseed, is popular. Pacharán, made from sloes, is sweet and also tastes of aniseed. Licor 43 is a vanilla liqueur. Ponche is brandy that has been aged and flavoured with herbs.
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