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Many people think that Spanish wine is just sangria! While Sangria is definitely something associated with Spain, there’s more to Spanish wine than SAngria! If you spend time exploring the classic wines of Spain, you’ll see intense savings. Read our informative guide on major Spanish wine regions and grapes.
What you see on the bottle
One of the things that distingiush Spanish wines is that many wineries age the wine for you, in oak barrles, and in the bottle. It means you get a chance to taste cellared wines, which been aged to the point of tasting – their absolute best – without having to store them at your home. When you look at a Spanish wine and see things like Joven, Reserva, or Gran Reserva, – you’re being told about how long the aging was. For example, the Gran Reservas have been cellared the longest.
Since Spain is in the EU, it’s wine labeling system is similar to France and Italy. The category you’re most often see at the local shop is DO – which is the equivlalent of AOC in France. Each DO has its own rules for the wines, like when the grape can be planted, etc. If you can’t find the DO on the bottle, then the logo of the DO might be on the sticker on the back, or on the capsule on the cork.
The top Spanish wine is known as DOCa, DOC, or DOQ. There are only two DOCs:Rioja and Priorat. Spain also has a category known as DO Pago, which is for single estates. When you look at a Spanish wine, you’ll probably see the primary grape on the front of the label. One thing you’ll notice is that there are regional language differences when it comes to Spanish. As a result, sometimes, grapes/areas may look different on the label.
For example, Garnacha, in Catalonia is Garnatxa.
Weather is a huge factor
Spain is a peninsula, and the climate varies from region to region. Most of central Spain enjoys the summer sun, and gets cold in the winter. In the Northwestern part of Spain, called Galicia, the ocean and rivers are plenty. In the South, there is brutal arid land, and areas not hospitable for growing grapes.
Top Spanish Wines
There are many top wines that have made Spain famous.
Cava: This is famous sparkling wine from Spain. It’s mostly produced in Catalaonia, in Northeast Barcelona. This goes through the traditional method of secondary fermentation in the bottle, to get the bubbles. Cave can be white, or rose. It’s usually a blend of Xarel-lo, Macabeo, and Parellada grapes. Most cavas have a richness. They are usually dry, but the amount of sugar can vary — so you want to be on the lookout for terms like Brut, or Semi-Soco.