My name is Anita, and as those of you who know me well, know that I am a huge fan of Spanish wines.
This week we are running an interesting activity- An Introduction to Wine Tasting.
So, to get you in the mood, I have decided to start a series of blogs dedicated to wine…
- The first one will be about the different areas and their characteristics;
- The second one will be about Catalan wineries and wines;
- The third about white wines and some recommendations;
- The fourth about red wines and some more recommendations.
So, are you ready?
WINE PRODUCING AREAS IN SPAIN
Spain is the third largest wine producer in the world and places a lot of effort and importance in their export market. Although wine production has been around for thousands of years, within the last few decades wineries have modernized to such a huge extent and the concept of the “wine culture” is becoming more and more commonplace, acquiring followers from all over the world.
Within Spain, wines are separated by their region, in a kind of “guarantee of their region/origin”. Each different area is known as a D.O (stands for “Dominación de Orígen”, meaning literally, “guarantee of region”) and each D.O decides what their wines are going to be like, what kinds of grapes they use, how much time the wine has to rest in the barrels to be considered a crianza, reserva or a gran reserva, and what particular qualities their wines are going to have.
The different D.O’s work a bit like a club, having rules for their members, and they tend to be very strict in terms of the control of production of their wines.
I am sure you have all heard of La Rioja, the most famous D.O in Spain, although this isn’t the only D.O as there are more than 50 in the whole of Spain, each one having its own particular characteristics.
Some of the more well known D.O’s include DO La Rioja, DO Penedès, DO Priorat, DO Ribera del Duero, DO Rueda, DO Somontano, DO cava, DO Rias Baixas, etc.
Spanish wines in general have a fairly high alcohol content (due to the sun and the climate) and the most popular grapes in Spain are the tempranillo (red), Garnacha (red), Cariñena (red), Graciano (red), Mencía (red), Albariño (white) Verdejo (white) Macabeo (white), Xarelo (white), Parellada (white), and we also grow grapes from other countries, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinoud Noir.
If you have a spare two or three days, or even an entire week, to go on a wine tasting tour, I would recommend visiting the D.O of La Rioja.
Once there, you can sample the local delicacies and you can visit wineries small and large, old and new. There are still some wineries which make their wine in the traditional way, and there are also ecological wineries with modern facilities. You can easily get there by car, and there are plenty of different accommodation options as well as special activities for the “wine tourist”!
If you wanted to visit some historical wineries I would recommend the following:
Marqués de Riscal, in the small but fascinating town of La Guardia. It has a spa and a wine museum with amazing architecture. They have a good tour, and they offer it in English too. Their wines are unbeatable.
Viña Tondonia: situated in the centre of La Rioja, in Haro, this is one of the most famous and traditional Spanish wineries.
You can find lots of information in the following link.
To finish off, I would like to recommend to you some of my personal favourites…
Less than 5 Euros
- Ontañón, Crianza DO La Rioja (5 aprox)
- Don Ramón Negro Barrica DO Ribera del Duero (4 euros aprox)
Between 5 and 10 Euros:
- Señorío de Lazán Reserva 2004, DO Somontano (9,60 euros aprox)
- Ederra Crianza 2007, DO La Rioja (3,75 euros aprox)
- Gavanza, Crianza 2007, DO La Rioja (6 euros aprox)
More than 10 Euros:
- Marqués de Riscal Reserva 2005 DO La Rioja (15 euros aprox)
- Enate Reserva 2005 DO Somontano (13 euros aprox)
Less than 5 Euros
- Afortunado, DO Rueda (5 euros aprox)
- Cune DO La Rioja (3,75 aprox)
- Señorío de Nava Rueda Verdejo DO Rueda(4 euros aprox)
Between 5 and 10 Euros:
- Gran Feudo Chardonnay Julian Chivite, DO Navarra, (6 euros aprox)
- Vinya del Sió DO Costers del Segre, (7 euros aprox)
- Valdamor DO Albariño (9 euros aprox)
- Marques de Riscal Finca Montico 2008 DO Rueda (8 euros aprox)
And don’t forget you can ask me all the questions you want!
Enjoy your wine…