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Become a Spanish wine expert in 5 minutes

Por | 9 julio, 2018 | 0 comentarios

Spanish wine has been around for more two thousand years and has been loved by a grand variety of people, ranging from the Romans to Hemingway. It is the most exported wine in the world with over 400 different grape varieties and the perfect complement to a Spanish dinner of tapas. Let us take you to the world of Spanish wines and prepare you for your visit to a Spanish wine bar in 5 minutes.

A typical Spanish wine bar in North of Spain

A typical Spanish wine bar in the North of Spain

Spanish red wine

Arguably the best Spanish red wines are from the regions of La Rioja and Ribera del Duero, close to the Basque country in the North of Spain. If you don’t know what to choose from a wine list of a restaurant, these two are always a good choice. Most Spanish red wines are made from grapes of tempranillo, garnacha or mencía and are heavily influenced by the climate of their producing region.

A bottle of good Spanish red wine

A bottle of good Spanish red wine

Spanish white wine

Most of the Spanish white wines you will find are originating from the North-Western part of Spain, also known as the España Verde, or in English “Green Spain”. These refreshing white wines are heavily influenced by the Atlantic climate of hot days, cold nights and lots of rain. If you desire a sweeter Spanish white wine, look for the wines from Andalusia, where the hot and dry climate produces very sweet grapes, which make excellent desert wines. The top Spanish white wine regions are Rias Baixas, Rueda and Navarra in the north of Spain and the most common grape varieties that you will encounter are verdejo, albariño and viura.

Two glasses of refreshing Spanish white wine

Two glasses of refreshing Spanish white wine

Special Spanish wines: Txakoli, Cava and Jerez 

Spain boasts its own collection of unique wines worth trying. Want to enjoy an ultra fresh and exotic Spanish wine to add to your Basque tapas, pintxos? Ask for the very dry, acidy and lightly sparkling Basque white wine Txakoli, poured to your glass from 30cm above. Celebrating a special occasion or in the mood for a party? Get some Cava, the Spanish equivalent of champagne, which is a great sparkling wine from the region of Catalonia. Looking for something a bit stronger after dinner before embarking into a hot summer night in Seville? Try Jerez, the fortified wine from the Andalusian region in South of Spain, also known as Sherry in the Anglophone countries. 

Spanish wine Cava at a picnic

Spanish wine Cava at a picnic

Aging of Spanish wine

The taste of the Spanish wine you order will largely depend on its age and you will need to understand the Spanish classifications to get it right. Read in the bottle or ask the waiter for the wine’s age and you will face the following definitions:

  • Joven, a wine that is very young and made from the most recent harvest and hasn’t passed any aging process.
  • Crianza, the wine has passed 12 months in an oak barrel and 12 months in the bottle.
  • Reserva, a more aged wine that has spent 12 months in an oak barrel and 24 months in the bottle.
  • Gran reserva, the pinnacle of Spanish wines, which refers to a wine that has passed 36 months in a barrel and 36 months in the bottle.

Spanish wine aging

Origins of the Spanish wine

The origins of a Spanish wine can be either very strictly controlled by the standards of a specific region and a specific type of grape or it can be a mix of grapes and different origins. The following two classifications explain this:

A wine with a label of vino de la tierra is wine that has been through a quality control of origins but it can be a mix of different grape varieties, opening it up to new tastes not found in the tradition wines.

A wine with a denominación de origen (D.O, denomination of origin) is a wine that is made in a specific region with the grapes from that area and has been through strict quality control, conforming it to the official wine standards of the region.

Origins of the Spanish wine

Origins of the Spanish wine

Tips for choosing a Spanish wine

There is a Spanish wine for every occasion but sometimes it can be hard to choose. As a general rule, a tasty and full Spanish red wines, such as a Ribera Del Duero or Rioja are excellent accompanists to a meal with meat, while as a refreshing Spanish white wine, such as Rias Baixas will be your choice to complement a meal of fish or chicken. For any kind of celebration,  a bottle of Cava is always appropriate and if it’s a special occasion, don’t hesitate to put in the extra euros in for the D.O. (denomination of origin) upper-scale Catalan Cava. Having an afternoon picnic with some friends and look for an easy-going wine? Take a joven white wine such as an verdejo from Rueda. Finished your tasty Spanish meal and looking for the final touch to the meal in the form of a desert wine? Try a sweet Andalusian moscatel desert wine and let it conclude your gastronomic experience.

Enjoying some Spanish wine with dinner on our restaurant La Terraza

Enjoying some Spanish wine with dinner on our restaurant La Terraza

Last words on Spanish wine

Spanish wine is a huge part of the country’s cultural heritage and a must-try when stepping into the Iberian Peninsula. Understanding the different types of Spanish wines, their standards and origins will help you the get the most out of your experience and can open you up to a new world of tastes. 

Reserve your wine experience on our panoramic restaurant La Terraza

https://www.emecatedralhotel.com/gastro/la-terraza/

 

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