For too long, perhaps, Spanish wine has been dogged by a reputation for high volume and low quality. There is no doubt that there is a lot of fairly ordinary wine being produced in Spain and much of this is quaffed on the Costas by tourists who then go home with a low opinion of the Spanish wines they have tasted. That is a shame, because there are some absolutely stunning Spanish wines to be discovered and many more are coming onto the market every day. With a little research, the wine lover can soon come to grips with the world of Spanish wine and enjoy some lovely wine from this ancient wine producing country.
The famous Spanish wines
Undoubtedly, the most famous Spanish wine is that of Rioja. Made from the Tempranillo grape, this is a serious wine that is enjoyed throughout Spain and far beyond. 'La Rioja' is an autonomous region in the north of Spain, landlocked and located immediately to the south of Pamplona and Navarra. Here you will find some of Spain's most celebrated wine producers, such as Campo Viejo, Faustino, Beronia, Muga, Marques de Caceras and Marques de Riscal. These wines are defined by their age and their time in oak. Crianza wines are aged for two years and spend at least six months in oak barrels. Reserva wines and aged for three years, one of which is in oak, and Gran Reserva wines enjoy five years of ageing and at least 18 months in oak.
A new challenger in Spanish wines: Ribera del Duero
While Rioja has long held the crown as the most celebrated Spanish wine, it is now being challenged by a relative newcomer in the shape of Ribera del Duero. This wine is produced in the north west of Spain, along the valley of the river Duero. The area was first planted by Eloy Lecanda in the late 1800s on his famous Vega Sicilia estate. Slow progress saw only 14 Ribera del Duero estates by 1982 but the fabulous quality of the wine has resulted in a huge rise in wine being produced in the area, with over 300 estates in the region today.
An excellent white Spanish wine
When you add the succulent white wine from Galicia, Albarino, it is clear to see that Spain now has much to offer the discerning wine lover. The Gilbert & Gaillard guide is the perfect partner to Spanish wine, allowing you to discover the very best of the traditional Riojas and exciting new wines.