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Spain Wine Regions

Spain- A Great Place to Discover Excellent Wines

When Americans think of the great wine producing places, what come to mind first are most likely Italy and France, and then the wines that are locally produced.  If we really start to explore, we come across wines from Australia, South Africa, Portugal, Chile and Spain, to name a few.  Unless you were really up on global wines, nearly everybody probably wouldn’t think that Spain now ranks third in wine production, following only France and Italy.  Furthermore, its hot, dry, high topography maintains greater land devoted to wine production than any country anywhere in the world.

The Spain Wine Regions have Become a Source for Fine Wine

So just what makes the Spain wine regions such a source for quality wines, particularly in recent times?  Spain gets somewhat hot, and our world’s greatest wine areas have one thing in common: grapes that ripen unhurriedly.  Spain’s rather hot climate would not appear favorable for great wine production, and should make this country incapable of creating impressive wines.  But although Spain is pretty hot, it is essentially an elevated plateau, which implies the nights will get rather cool.  It therefore requires the sun longer to reheat the vines.  In addition, some of Spain’s wine-growing areas will be in the mountains, and several of the higher-quality Spanish grapes will be grown out of continuous direct sunlight.

The Three Major Wine-Producing Areas in Spain

1.    Ebro River Valley.  This is certainly where some of the most notable vineyards of Spain are located.  The area of north-central Spain is an elevated region which has historically been the country’s most important producer of red wines.  The two key wine-growing areas are Rioja and Navarra, and the principal grape is Tempranillo, which is Spain’s greatest red variety. Rioja wine is usually a blend of two or more varieties.

2.    Central Spain.  The area around Madrid contains some of the most famous wine names inside Spain.  Search for names such as Vega Sicilia, whose vines actually originated in Bordeaux, France and Pesquera.  They are wine-makers now becoming familiar for their quality around the world.

3.    The Mediterranean Coast.  This is mostly a large strip of land next to the Mediterranean that begins at the French border extending to Almeria.  Although it can get hot along the coast, the elevations as you proceed inland will be quite great, and many impressive wines are coming from this area.  Locations like Priorat and Montsant, just south of Barcelona, are producing wines that are considered world-class.  In addition the most prominent sparkling wine in the world second only to Champagne is now Cava, and that is produced near Barcelona.  Look at it as being a cheaper option to Champagne, although still excellent quality.

The wines produced farther south in the Alicante area are also rather unfamiliar in the United States, however are outstanding.  I became impressed by their deep red, full bodied reds in the area.  And touring a wine grower there in the summer it gave the impression too dry to cultivate anything.  But using the technology they put to their agricultural techniques, they are proficient at irrigating with computer precision to provide the right quantities of water.  It was really a fascinating experience, so try to plan a tour to some vineyard the next time you go to Spain.

 

 


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