In this episode Patrick and I discuss, in our opinion, an under appreciated wine producing country, Spain.
Most Spanish grape varietals are not the typical international grape varietals we are used to. While Estimates are that over 600 grape varieties are planted throughout Spain, 80% of those fall into only 20 grape varieties. The most common are: Airén, Tempranillo, Garnacha (Grenache), Albariño, Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo.
As the Spanish wine industry becomes more modern, there has been a larger presence of international grape varieties appearing in both blends and varietal forms-most notably Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot and Sauvignon blanc.
Spain has a relatively large number of distinct wine-producing regions. While most make both red and white wine, some wine regions are more dominated by one style than the other. With out going into great detail here are the highlights:
Rioja, Penedes and Ribera del Duero are known for their Tempranilla (blended with Garnacha, Mazuelo (Carignan) and Graciano)
Catalonia produces 95% of Spain’s Cava (sparkling wine)
Galicia is know for their Albariño
Spanish wines are often labeled according to the amount of aging the wine has received.
Vino Jovén: wines will have undergone very little, if any, wood ageing.
Crianza: red wines are aged for 2 years with at least 6 months in oak, white wines and rosés are aged for at least 1 year with at least 6 months in oak
Reserva: red wines are aged for at least 3 years with at least 1 year in oak, white wines and rosés are aged for at least 2 years with at least 6 months in oak
Gran Reserva: red wines are aged at least 5 years with at least 18 months in oak, white wines and rosés are aged for at least 4 years with at least 6 months in oak
What you need to know:
Good Years: 2005, 2004, 2001
Wines are named for the region, but quite often will have the grape varietal listed
Spanish red wines are usually drier wines with a chalkiness to them
Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva refer to the amount of aging and oak
Join us next episode when we will be tasting a 2006 Martin Codax Ergo Rioja.
We’d like to thank Matt Stevens for allowing us to use his song Chasing the Sun for our podcast. For more of Matt’s music, please visit his web site: www.mattstevensguitar.com