Learn Spanish Wines Part 2

Learn Spanish Wines and Regions Part 2 – Spain’s Top Regions and Their Wines   Rias Baixas Rias Baixas (REE-ez BUY-shez), a small region of Galicia in the northwestern corner of Spain, is responsible for the countries’ most exciting, sought after, and expensive white wines. For centuries, the Spanish palate has preferred their wines well aged in oak barrels, even for white and rosé wines. This practice yielded what many wine consumers considered dried-out, oxidized, earthy, musty and flat wines, unpalatable years ago and utterly unfathomable to modern consumers used light, crisp and fresh fruit flavors. Rias Baixes led the charge in modernizing the white wine industry in Spain with their stainless steel fermented Albarinos. Penedes Catalonia is one of the most dynamic regions in all of Spain, and the same holds true for its wines. Equally praised for reds, whites and SPARKLING wines, everything in the region is dynamic: politics, language, art, food & wine. International varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have their largest foothold here in the Penedes region of Catalonia. The most well known wine to come out of Penedes is by far the sparkling Cava, Spain’s word for sparkling wines made in the traditional champagne method. While Cava can be made in any of 6 different regions spread over a wide area of Spain, Penedes accounts for 95% of Cava production. Rioja It might be a toss-up between Cava and Rioja as to which Spanish wine is more well known the world over, but for red wine drinkers, the answer is clear – Rioja. When phylloxera wiped out the vineyards of...

Learn Spanish Wines Part 1

Learn Spanish Wines & Regions Part 1- History of the Spanish Wine Industry   Spain & Wine Much like the rest of Europe, the Spanish people consider wine an essential part of life and a nourishing food more so than a simple beverage. Spanish culture revolves around family, food and enjoying all that life has to offer, but at a relaxed pace. At lunch Sangria and lighter wines are served, and in the evenings fuller bodied reds and whites are served in the cafes, restaurants and homes. Ancient Times What we now know as Spain has a long and prestigious wine history. 3,000 years ago the ancient Phoenicians prized the wines of Xera (modern Jerez) and 2,000 years ago the invading Romans used their “modern” winemaking techniques to make highly sought after wines from the native varietals. Vineyards flourished under Moorish rule, but mainly for eating purposes rather than winemaking. In 1492 Spain became a united county and, as prosperity flourished, wine became an increasingly important commodity.   Modern Spain Modern Spanish winemaking really begins with the devastation of the French wine industry during the late 1860’s. Trade with America had introduced a root louse known as phylloxera to French vineyards, and the destruction of the vineyards in much of France was almost complete (especially in Bordeaux). France and the rest of the world needed a new source for their wine and nearby Spain stepped up to fill the void. An influx of capital and winemaking talent revolutionized the industry, but the goal was to make lots of good wine, not necessarily great wine. By the turn of the...