The reasons are numerous. It remains our strong belief that no wine should be imposed on individuals, no matter how delicious it is considered to be or how many reasons for drinking it one can think of. As discussed in our wine tasting post, taste sensations that each of us gets from one and the same bottle can vary massively, thus making it a necessity for each person to explore the enchanting world of scents and flavours on their own. However, we also feel that Spanish wine is underestimated by most amateur wine lovers and written off purely on the basis of prejudice about the quality and variety of Spanish bottles available on the international market. So, while we by no means expect you to take this post as propaganda in favour of Spanish wine, we hope that you will view this as an opportunity to start the exploration of that little corner of the wine world you may have been ignoring up until now and build up your own relationship with it.
Improved with Age
And I don’t just mean a couple of years of cellaring. It has not been established exactly how long ago Spaniards figured out how to make wine, but what we know for sure is that it happened sometime before they were taken over by the Roman Empire. You do the math. It clearly was not a case of the first step being the hardest for them either, since the high quality of Spanish wine was acknowledged immediately and it started being exported to all regions of the Roman Empire. Techniques of making wine have obviously gone a long way since then, but they were only improved with the introduction of new technologies, discovery of new local varietals, and enhancing of wine making traditions.
What is even more surprising, the wine industry in Spain survived the Muslim rule that followed the collapse of the Roman Empire. Documentation has been found proving that, despite the prohibited nature of wine drinking in the Muslim culture, a number of high rank Muslim authorities even had their own vineyards in Spain at the time. This fact becomes more understandable if we forget for a minute about the pleasure of drinking wine and concentrate on the potential business benefits that come out of producing wine in that region. The Spanish climate is probably the most ideal among all European countries for growing grapes that reach the ripeness necessary to make full bodied, high alcohol, textured and richer wines that are always on demand everywhere in the world.
It may be these centuries long traditions of the wine industry that make Spaniards particularly sensitive to the actual age of the bottles they produce or purchase. In accordance with the Spanish legislation, every wine bottle label should indicate how long this wine has been aging for. So, it is safe to say that appreciation of Spanish wine is recognised by law.
Wine in Style
Given how deeply in history the Spanish wine making traditions are rooted, it comes as no surprise that locals have their own little ceremonies around serving and sharing their wine. The inseparable attribute of such ceremonies is the traditional Spanish pitcher called porrón. A typical porrón is wide at the bottom, has a long thin neck and is made of clear or green glass or clay. Even though it is used primarily for sharing wine with your guests, each of whom should drink directly from the neck, porrones also come in handy for storing wine due to keeping air exposure to the minimum.
Spain does not only provide the perfect climate for growing grapes, it also offers some amazing sceneries to enhance your wine drinking experience. Imagine yourself sharing a porrón with friends or enjoying a glass of your favourite red at a luxury villa in Spain, and you will feel your fingers reaching for the mouse to book your next trip. While it is definitely true that the best place to truly discover Spanish wine is in Spain, it is important to keep in mind that various parts of the country are famous for producing different types of wine. Thus, white wine is abundant in Northwest Spain and on the Canary Islands, while in Andalucía the only locally produced bottles you are likely to find are those of dessert wine. When planning a wine tasting trip to Spain, make sure to study the map of the key Spanish wine regions so as to make the most of your wine appreciation effort.
However, Spanish wine has also made a global impact and has come to be famous for its very peculiar international characteristics. For instance, it is known to be the best pairing for Mexican food, and only recently softer and sweeter red wines from Spain were named as the best suited for Chinese palates. So, no matter where you are in the world there is likely to be a characteristic of Spanish wines that is likely to make you, if nothing else, curious about them.
Spanish wine is usually appreciated for its low prices and good value for money. It becomes clear though that the Spanish wine industry is almost a subculture in the wine world that has its own rich history, unique traditions, and an increasing amount of emerging new wines. This subculture is definitely worth exploring for any wine lover, as it has much more to offer than the stereotypical Rioja bottle for under £10.