Spain has become one of the leaders in the wine world, producing high-quality wines at mind-blowing prices. There are several types of unique grapes and wines being produced throughout the entire country, offering everything from a fruity white wine to a full-bodied, bold red, so there is a wine for every person, at every price range.
Spain has over 70 (Quality-Approved) wine regions, and has more vineyards planted to land than any other country in the world. Spain places third in terms of volume of wine produced, behind France and Italy. So much wine is made in Spain that there are many wines that are not even shipped out of the country. All the great wines are available around the world, but there are some amazing small batch wines that can only be found within the country, usually they are from small wineries in small, unknown wine regions.
And today I have another guest blogger, I should better say several bloggers, who have a very interesting blog for any foreign people who visits or lives in Madrid, Cheap in Madrid.com, (with cheap and free events in Madrid, I truly recommend it!) in which they have made a simple guide to enjoying red wines of Spain. Please come in and have a look……
You can find delicious wines in Spain for under 10 euros, but the range of price and quality is immense. Decide how much you are willing to spend first, so you can narrow down your choices from there.
In Spain, food and wine quality is regulated by its Denominación de Origen (designation of origen), based on the region from which it comes. The most famous regions for red wine are:
• Ribera del Duero
• Priorat (Catalunya)
The differences between the wines of these regions has a lot to do with the micro-climates of the areas and different wine-making processes, but I encourage you to experiment with them to understand the what distinguishes their tastes.
• 100% Tempranillo
• Granacha (if you choose Priorat)
The rockstar grape of Spain is Tempranillo. You will find some blends of varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Granacha (Grenache), Merlot and more. There are certainly more grapes than these listed in Spain, but these are the most common, and a great start.
• Joven: very little aging
• Crianza: aged at least for 1 year, at least six months of which in oak
• Reserva: aged for 3 years, at least 1 year of which in oak (and the rest in bottle)
• Gran Reserva: aged 5 years, 18 months of which in oak
The younger wines are not necessarily worse, but have a different flavors, complexity, and structure. Gran Reservas usually only come out during “excellent” harvests.
Spanish vintages are rated on this best-to-worst scale: Excelente, Muy Buena, Buena, Regular. The following recent years are considered “Excellent:”
• Rioja: 2001, 2004, 2005, 2010
• Ribera del Duero: 2001, 2004, 2009, 2010
• Priorat: 2001, 2004, 2005
6. Food pairing!
The Tempranillo grape is a wonderful food wine because of it’s medium body. Two keys to food pairing: flavors that you find in the wine & foods from the region the wine originates. A few safe options for most Spanish red wines:
• Mature cheese (Manchego, for example, with a Ribera del Duero)
• Jamón Ibérico, Chorizo, or Lomo
• Green Olives
• Pickled Veggies
• Patatas alioli
• Hearty meats and veggies (for older wines and especially Priorat)
And Listo! You are ready to enjoy your vino tinto!
The cheap in Madrid.com