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Why the wine in Spain is one of the best?
Spanish wine like Sherry, Rioja, or Cava are worldwide recognized for its excellent quality, moreover Ribera del Duero was recently awarded with the 2012 best Wine Region. Whether it’s a heady, robust red Rioja or a crisp, sparkling white Cava, opening a bottle of Spanish wine is rarely a disappointing experience.
With one of the best wine-making climates in Europe, Spanish wine history extends for over one thousand years, furthermore Spanish vineyards cover the 15% of the total vineyards in the world, the most widely planted wine production nation, more than France or Italy! Spain has around 400 varieties of grapes, but only around 20 of them are the most used.
Robust Reds – Vino Tinto
Spain is also famed for its bold, robust reds and while many regions of the country produce top quality reds, arguably the most celebrated red wine region of Spain are both Ribera del Duero and La Rioja. Wines from La Rioja are favorites for many wine lovers across the world. This region is home to more than 500 wineries which combined with its towering mountains, historic buildings and rolling hills is a hugely popular destination for wine-tasting tours and holidays. For an affordably-priced but dependably good bottle, opt for a Crianza wine, which will have been aged for at least 6 months in oak barrels, 24 in total or a Joven (young) wine which has seen any oak aging and, while fruity and easy to drink, is less highly-rated. For a distinguished drink, opt for a Reserva - aged for at least 12 months in oak barrels, 36 in total - or Gran Reserva- aged for at least 3 years in oak barrels, 60 months in total and made from only the best grapes.
Heady Reds and Crisp Whites
While many of the most celebrated wine making countries excel at producing either red or white wine, Spain is somewhat unusual in that it manages to produce excellent reds, white and rose wines and is also famed for its delicious sparkling wines and its fortified Sherry. While Spain offers plenty to keep the most knowledgeable of wine buffs satisfied, it is also a country whose wines offer an excellent introduction for newcomers to the wine scene, as many of its wines are deliciously drinkable.
The word Sherry is derived from Jerez - the name of the region that is most famous for producing this fortified wine. Known as ‘generosos’ in Spanish, fortified wines from Spain range from extremely sweet to super-dry and lend themselves well to a little experimentation as there is something to suit most peoples tastes. Sherry Wines should be stored properly in a wine storage in order to be served chilled.
Superior Sparklers - Cava
Spanish sparkling wine, known as Cava, may still come second to Champagne in terms of price, but often scores more highly than its famous French counterpart in blind taste tests. A good Spanish Cava is usually a much more pleasant drink than normal Champagne and the relatively low prices of the Spanish sparklers mean that buyers can often afford to indulge in a good quality bottle. Even those Cavas at the lower end of the price range - and they can be picked up for as little as five pounds in many supermarkets - are a perfectly pleasant tipple and make a great drink for serving with aperitifs at parties.
For many people, Spanish white wine is synonymous with Cava, but there is more to Spanish wine than sparklers. White wine grapes are more widely planted than reds and Spanish white wine is flavorful and relatively high in alcohol at between 12-14 per cent. Some white wine regions to look out for are Toledo, Cuenca and Ciudad Real - the latter being home to over half of all Spain’s white wine vineyards.