Wine tourism is a big business in Spain.
With a delightful menagerie of robust flavors and subtle infusions, Spanish wine has been delighting the world for ages.
Modern Spanish wine-making is an art and one that’s practiced with all the care and love necessary to create a masterpiece.
Are you interested in learning about the wonderful and varied world of wines?
Read on to discover the history behind this art, and get some information about the wine-making community.
You’ll learn how to enjoy Spanish wine like a pro, and who knows?
You might just end up going on a tour-de-wine all your own.
Origins and History of Spanish Wine
The colorful history of wine in Spain begins in 10,000 BCE, when the Phoenicians arrived on the Iberian Peninsula. They brought their wine-making skills with them, taking advantage of the Spanish climate’s propensity for growing grapes.
The Romans continued the great tradition after them, and the wine flowed until the Moorish empire took hold.
Though wine-making experienced a short recession during Moorish rule, it came back with a vengeance with the Reconquista of the 1200s.
The higher alcohol content of the Spanish wines enabled shippers to export them across the continent and even overseas to the colonies without the risk of them spoiling.
Because of this, different types of wine from every region were available.
The world soon grew to love these dependable flavors, and a major business was born.
Navigating the World of Spanish Wine
Understanding Spanish wine means taking a look at the country’s system of classification. The classifications fall into four categories, which you’ll be able to see on the label of your wine:
- Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOC): This is the highest honor a wine can have. Currently there are only two wine regions which have managed to garner this classification. They are Rioja and Priorat.
- Denominación de Origen (DO): This classification represents a wine which has been vetted. The grapes are sourced from the Spain regions stated, and the wine is good quality.
- Vino de la Tierra: This classification indicates a wine made with grapes grown outside of the traditional growing regions. These wines can still be very tasty and sometimes hold incredible value for your money.
- Vino de la Mesa: These wines have no information about where the grape was sourced and which grape was used in the making. They are also unlikely to have a vintage date on them.
The higher up on the classification chain you go, the better quality of wine you’ll get. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a high-quality wine at a lower classification.
In fact, it means you can get high-quality but lower-classified wines for cheaper. Since these wines don’t have to adhere to the expensive classification system, they are often available for less.
Exploring the Regions of Spanish Wine
The best way to navigate the world of wine is by exploring the different parts of Spain. Regions are spread across the country, and each region has its own particular style.
The flair and aptitude of the different regions come together to create distinctive wines. These are some of the most prestigious regions for wine-making in Spain.
1. Rioja Wine
Rioja wine is the most famous wine in the country. It was the first to have received Spain’s certificate of the classification denominating the highest quality wines.
The wines here are generally made with the Tempranillo grape, Spain’s native and most popular. They are mildly acidic, often containing fruity flavors and hints of vanilla.
Wines in Rioja were heavily influenced by French wine-makers, who came there seeking refuge from the pest that was destroying their own crops of grapes in Bordeaux.
2. Cava Wine
Cava is not so much a region as it is a word. The word means “cellar”, and designated Cava wines usually come from the Penedés region.
These wines may be white or sparkling, imparting deliciously crisp flavors which pair well with the seafood that Spain is so well-known for.
The traditional style uses Parellada, Macabeo, and Xarel-lo grapes which are native to the region. However, modern style has integrated Champagne grapes like Chardonnay into the mix. The result is a variety of light white or rose wines which delight the senses.
3. Ribera Del Duero
Ribera Del Duero wine hails from across the Castilla and Leon regions of Spain. The Ribera Del Duero wines are made from the Tempranillo grape, like the Rioja wines.
However, the style of growing here is different. It is unique to their classification and involves low grape yields from carefully tended old-world vines.
The result is a group of wines with dark coloring and a rich, smoky flavor. They go along quite perfectly with barbecued and roasted meats.
Spanish Wine Offers Refreshing Flavors and Surprising Taste
There are more types of wines in Spain than you can shake a stick at, each one full of flavor.
It’s no wonder the export business here is booming. But don’t take our word for it. Come on down to Spain and see for yourself.