Archive for the ‘Wines from Spain’ Category

Wine Regions of Spain

All the world’s greatest wine regions share one aspect in common: they are married to a grape or grapes that ripen slowly and exhibit differentiated and sometimes fascinating flavors in differing microclimates within that region.

We’re not sure why slow ripening makes for so many of the world’s great wines, but it does. Hot climates rarely accomplish such slow ripening, so Spain should be incapable of making great wine, right? Well, the popular view of Spain as an arid and hot place is not mistaken, just incomplete. It might be hot in many of Spain’s vineyards, but not for very long. The temperature at night often plummets, and the daylight can be slow to warm the vines.

Elevation is the explanation. Spain is an elevated plateau; little of Spain is at sea level, and while some of the vineyards are as flat as Kansas, many are nearly 3,000 feet above sea level. Many great vineyards are nestled into the creases of mountains. In the Sierra Nevada, along the southern coast, mountains such as Pico Mulhacén jolt up out of the Mediterranean Sea and reach a height of over 10,000 feet less than 30 miles from the shore.

Each of the Spanish wine regions can be defined in its elevation and in its proximity to the ocean or the sea. Some wine authorities prefer to break Spain’s geography into its autonomous regions, but that’s less likely to lead to a more thorough understanding of the places, vineyards, grapes, and styles of the wines of Spain. Rather, the country can be broken into the following climatic categories:
Green Spain

The northern and northwestern portion of Spain, exposed to the northern Atlantic, can be cool to cold, wet, and green—thus its name, España Verde. The sheltering fortification of the Cordillera Cantábrica, looming above Rioja, is unavailable to much of Green Spain as it stretches from Galicia to the Pyrenees. The regions of Ribeiro, Ribera Sacra, Valdeorras, and Bierzo enjoy pockets of protection from the cool, sometimes cold, and often wet coastal influences; Rías Baixas, unfortunately, bears the full force of Atlantic weather. Western Green Spain regions tend to produce high–acid white wines from tart, relatively unripe grapes, while sites in the Pyrenees generate shockingly bracing white wines under the rubric of Txakoli.
North Central Spain

The seat of power for much of Spain’s history, this area hosts extremely elevated but easily workable vineyards along and beyond the banks of the Duero River. Some of the famed wine names in Spain reside in Ribera del Duero, such as Vega Sicilia and Pesquera, and regions such as Toro and Rueda are on the shortlists of anyone pursuing emerging Spanish brands.

Ebro River Valley

The Sierra de Cantábria mountains shelter some of Spain’s most important vineyards, including those in Rioja and Navarra. Farther south, Calatayud, Campo de Borja, and Cariñena offer great value. To the east, vineyards nestled along the base of the foothills of the Pyrenees hold vineyards as well, where tributaries of the River Ebro nurture the vineyards of DO Somontano and the rare Moristel grape that charms many tasters with its tangy fruit and easy ways, along with more muscular Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other red varieties.

The Meseta

The “tabletop” that represents the center of the elevated plateau that is Spain is not a uniformly flat, hot, and arid place. Instead, there are significant mountainous spots that offer the possibility of making high–quality wines, based upon strong differences between daytime and nighttime temperatures (grapes seem to like diurnal temperature swings). The northern piece of the Meseta lies in Castilla y León. The southern portion of the Meseta, Castilla–La Mancha, is producing striking wines based upon dramatic diurnal temperature swings, and even more importantly, remarkably old and healthy vineyards.

The Mediterranean Coast

The warmth of the coast from the French border to Almería can be mitigated by high altitudes, whether in Cataluña or in Valencia. Throughout most of this area, world–class wines are appearing in places such as Priorat and Montsant, as well as established areas such as Penedés. Cava, the most famous sparkling wine in the world after Champagne, makes its home near Barcelona.

With temperatures easily surpassing 100°F in the summer, this is an area ideal for fortified and dessert wines. Everything conspires to make a singularly successful fortified wine that comes in a plurality of styles. Although we call all of them Sherry, each of these styles—Manzanilla, Fino, Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Oloroso, and Pedro Ximénez—expresses a unique set of aromas and flavors.

With the Canaries off in the Atlantic and the Balearics lying in the middle of the Mediterranean, both groups of islands enjoy temperatures that are relatively moderate, especially in the sometimes remarkably elevated areas.

Make no mistake, these divisions defined above must make the Spanish crazy: a country barely held together for much of its existence doesn’t take kindly to this American gerrymandering. We hope the producers, growers, vintners, consejos reguladores, and bureaucrats who are responsible for these brilliant wines will forgive our tinkering. We think non–Spanish readers will be able to learn more by viewing Spain’s DOs through the prism of climate, geography, and morphology rather than through political divisions.


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by : wines from Spain

The event, driven by the Spanish Wine Federation, will be preceded by a declaration of commitment to the fight against climate change

On 10th June, the city of Barcelona is to host a congress driven by the Spanish Wine Federation (FEV), in collaboration with Alimentaria and the Vimac and Fivin Foundations, which aims to heighten awareness in the sector about the fight against climate change. Wineries for Climate Protection will look at the impact of global warming in the wine industry and will bring together numerous international wineries to talk about their experiences of protecting the environment and reducing CO2 emissions.

The congress will be presided over by former president of Chile and UN special envoy for climate change, Ricardo Lagos, and boasts the intervention of the chairman of the Spanish Wine Federation, Félix Solís, among others. Throughout the morning the theme of the congress will be focused around the experiences of international wineries in their fight against climate change, and will include the participation of international companies such as Moët et Chandon from France, and Fetzer Vineyards from the US, as well as various Spanish bodegas famous for their eco-friendly commitment: Vega Sicilia, Grupo Codoríu and Grupo Matarromera.

The forum’s afternoon session will focus on analysing the wine market tendencies of organic products and will listen to different points of view on the problem of climate change from important figures from the sector such as Miguel A. Torres, Ignacio Sánchez Chivite and Jose Luís Bonet. This last event, a round table, will be moderated by Spanish Master of Wine, Pancho Campo.

The day before the Wineries for Climate Protection congress takes place, the official signing of the ‘Declaración de Barcelona’ will be carried out; a declaration of intentions from the wineries and participants in the congress on their commitment to the flight against climate change.

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Critically acclaimed winery Bodega Numanthia, the emerging leader of Spanish iconic wines, is proud to announce that influential Spanish wine magazine Sobremesa named Bodega Numanthia’s 2008 Termanthia Tinta de Toro as top wine in their special anniversary edition celebrating the magazine’s 300th issue.

Established in 1984 by Spain’s most prestigious wine journalists, sommeliers and oenologists, Sobremesa which means ‘dessert’ in Spanish is one of Spain’s most important wine and gastronomy publications alongside Guia Penin.

For the special 300th edition, the editors of Sobremesa organized a blind tasting of Spain’s top wines, sherries and cavas for a panel of thirty-five judges — the majority being winemakers, to evaluate their wines against each other.  Wines in the tasting represented the most renowned wines of Spain such as Aro, Aurus, Cirsion, Clos Mogador, Dalmau, Pesquera Janus, Pesus, Pingus, Unico Vega Sicilia and Valduero.

Once the scores were tabulated, Bodega Numanthia 2008 Termanthia was unanimously recognized as the top red wine of the tasting, surpassing Unico Vega Sicilia and Pingus.

“A red wine which belongs with the best. It encapsulates great structure with an elegant complexity. The combination of fruit aromas (black fruits & ripe red fruits), menthol scents and a delicate hint of wood delivers a very seductive wine. In the mouth, it is intense with firm & silky tannins. It achieves the perfect balance, revealing final notes of balsamic & toasty aromas.”- Sobremesa, issue 300, 2011

Numanthia Termanthia 2008
Suggested Retail Price:  $200.00
Release Date: May 2011
Importer:  Moet Hennessy Estates & Wines
Website: “www.numanthia.com
About Bodega Numanthia

Founded in 1998, the Numanthia estate lies near the small village of Valdefinjas, in the province of Zamora. The name ‘Numanthia’ associates the towns of Numancia and Tiermes, known in ancient times for their resistance to Roman invaders. When attacked by the legions of Scipio in 134 BC, their inhabitants resisted heroically, preferring death to surrender. Numancia thus came to symbolize tenacity and resistance, which is also a feature of the Toro vineyards that survive the extreme local climatic conditions, not to mention Phylloxera attacks.

NEW YORK, April 18, 2011 /PRNewswire

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The Priorat county celebrates its annual Wine Fair usually during the first weekend of May

It is dedicated to the two wine appellations of the county, the DOC Priorat and the DO Montsant. In 2008 the fair was moved to the castle area of Falset (Castell dels Comtes de Prades) which will soon be opened as a wine interpretation centre for the two wine appellations of the region. The wineries involved offer tastings of their wines in exchange for tasting tickets which can be purchased at the fair in the information tent. There are also parallel events taking place over the long weekend such as conferences, talks. wine-tasting courses, cooking contests, wineries opening up for visitors, guided olive oil tastings, wine and food pairings etc..

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Join us on December 30th  in our minivan up to 9 people and enjoy a unique full day wine tour to Penedes wine region (45 minutes from Barcelona) and meet other wine enthusiasts!

You will learn about the local history and geography that makes The Penedès such a popular destination for wine lovers and foodies all over the world.

We will visit two traditional wineries and will enjoy a private wine tasting for the small group. Wine cellars visited : Pares Balta and Albet i Noya (organic wines).

For complete information and sign up please visit http://bit.ly/dBL77B

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Priorat wine toursAMONG the wine regions that blanket Spain like a patchwork quilt, the names run from the famous, like Rioja, to the fashionable, like Priorat, to the emerging, like Bierzo, to the unknown — choose from many. Skip to next paragraph
Multimedia  Wines of The Times: Montsant Reds from SpainInteractive Feature  Wines of The Times: Montsant Reds from Spain Related Pairings: For a Drink That’s Sometimes Elegant, First Invent a Burger (July 11, 2007)

The Pour  Eric Asimov, chief wine critic for The Times, discusses the pleasure, culture and business of wine, beer and spirits.

It’s that unknown quality that makes Spain so exciting for wine lovers who prize a sense of discovery. You are never quite sure what you are going to get. Yes, it could be a wan, insipid wine that deserves never to see the spotlight, even at $8 a bottle. But just as easily it could be something delicious and surprising, a wine that captures your imagination.

The wine panel recently had the pleasure of tasting 23 bottles of red wine from Montsant in northeastern Spain. This largely anonymous region, which was recognized as a separate wine zone in 2001, seems poised to make a name for itself.

The wines varied widely in style. Some were juicy, instantly pleasurable and exceptional values. Others were clearly more ambitious and expensive — bigger, richer and meant for longer-term enjoyment. All were linked by a distinctive mineral component that gave them depth and identity.

For the tasting, Florence Fabricant and I were joined by Ron Miller, the general manager of Solera, a Spanish restaurant on the East Side of Manhattan, and Rafael Mateo, the former managing partner at Ostia in Greenwich Village, who is planning to open Pata Negra, a ham, cheese and wine bar, in the fall. We all were impressed and surprised by the wines.

“These were the best of both worlds, New and Old, plush and silky, not just jammy and overblown,” Rafael said.

It’s impossible to talk about Montsant without looking at its neighbor Priorat, and at the Catalan region as a whole. Despite centuries of wars, shifting alliances and dictatorships, Catalonia, and its capital, Barcelona, have struggled to maintain their independence and cultural identity. In the early 1930’s Catalonia achieved a tenuous self-rule within Spain that was quickly lost in the Spanish Civil War. Only after the death of Franco and a new constitution in 1978 were Catalonians granted autonomy and permitted legally to speak their own language.

One confusing result for outsiders is a profusion of nearly matching words, rendered in either Castilian Spanish or Catalonian. The word Catalonia itself, for example, is the English variation of what the Castilian speakers call Cataluña and the Catalans themselves call Catalunya. Similarly, Priorat is the Catalonian word for what Castilian speakers call Priorato.

In a way, the creation of the Montsant region is a microcosm of Catalonia’s battle for self-determination. For years it was part of Tarragona, known for the sort of atrocious fortified wine called Poor Man’s Port by the optimistic few and Red Biddy by everyone else. Only one area of Tarragona, Falset, made wines that rose above the others.

In fact, this subzone had more in common with Priorat than the rest of the Tarragona region. Priorat made a name for itself in the early 1980’s when ambitious young winemakers imagined wines that could be made from its ancient yet neglected mountainous vineyards. Their success inspired producers in Montsant, which surrounds the Priorat hills and which, like Priorat, traditionally uses garnacha and cariñena grapes, better known to English speakers by their French names, grenache and carignan.

After years of campaigning, the Falset subzone was separated from Tarragona and awarded the Montsant appellation in 2001, making it simultaneously one of Spain’s oldest and newest regions. Families that have grown grapes for centuries have only in the last decade or so begun bottling their own wines.

This is a roundabout way of saying that the wines of Montsant resemble the wines of Priorat. They are not as powerful, and they don’t yet strive to be as profound. They are easier to enjoy young. But they share a thread of minerality that binds them rather than separates them.

In addition to garnacha and cariñena, growers have planted a fair amount of cabernet sauvignon and syrah, as they have in Priorat. Indeed, our No. 1 wine, the 2003 Mas de l’Abundància, is a blend of cabernet sauvignon, garnacha and cariñena. It showed balance and a firm structure yet was enjoyable now, with flavors of minerals, berries and cocoa. Our No. 2 bottle, the 2002 El Bugader from Joan d’Anguera, is 80 percent syrah and 20 percent cabernet, and though it is rich, ripe and spicy, it too has that characteristic stony, earthy flavor to it.

To read ful article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/11/dining/reviews/11wine.html?_r=1&ref=spain

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Article extracted  from:  http://www.drinkriberawine.com/

The Drink Ribera Grand Tasting in NY was attended by many top sommeliers, restaurant and wine professionals. We got a chance to talk to Master of Wine Lisa Granik, Gretchen Thomas of the Barcelona restaurant group, Edgar Mora of Morrell Wine Co and wine blogger Rick Fisher and about what makes the wines of Ribera unique. Check out what they had to say…..

See Video: http://www.drinkriberawine.com/2010/03/hundreds-gather-to-kick-off-the-ribera-road-tour-in-new-york/

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