Spanish wines…. why are they so underrated?
I find Spanish wines often overlooked by most wine drinkers and that’s most unfortunate. Spanish wines has so much to offer! Some of the good Spanish wines tastes equally well as those double the price. They seem to fly under the radar to its neighbours, France & Italy despite being amongst the top 5 producers in the world. I personally find them heavier than the French wines, not as dry as the Italian and can be as bold as the Australian wines.
I personally love Spanish wines because it is affordable and so easy to pair with our local food like Char Kuey Teow or even the mamak mee goreng to name a few. The premium Spanish wines would also cost a fraction of that you would be paying for a bottle of premium French. As I have always believed, the more you explore the better you get. After much research, tasting, visiting Spain, and studying about Spanish wine, here are some simple and basic understanding about Spanish wine. Let’s begin with the much under the radar region: Rioja
There are 4 labelling laws, which are often labelled according to the amount of aging the wine has received:
1. Vino Joven or Sin Crianza
- It simply means that the wines have not been aged at all.
- Some producers might have aged these young wines for a few months but in general these wines are meant to be consumed very young.
- Mainly for Rioja red wines which have been aged in oak barrel for minimum 1 year.
- Crianza whites & roses aged for minimum 6 months in oak barrels.
- Reds must be aged minimum of 3 years with at least 1 year in oak and the rest in bottle.
- For whites & roses must be aged at least 2 years with 6 months in oak barrels.
4. Grand Reserva
- Reds must be aged a minimum of 5 years with at least 2 years in oak barrels and minimum 3 years in bottle.
- For whites & roses must aged for at least 3 years with minimum of 6 months in oak barrels.
Do not limit yourself to just these few I have mentioned. There are more than 400 grape varietals in Spain and wines from the other regions are amazingly good as well. Some of the single varietal wines are superb!
I’m sure most of us have heard of Tempranillo, the king of grapes in Spain, which I absolutely love, but have you tried Bobal? Its the native grape of Utiel-Requena region in Valencia. I highly recommend it. Bobal is one of Spain’s most highly planted varietals behind Tempranillo and are usually medium bodied. Here we have a bottle that you should try! It is absolutely wonderful!
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Below is the map best represent the wine regions of Spain and which have been divided into 7 wine districts.