A wind of modernity is blowing over the Iberian Peninsula. For 20 years, between investments and the new generation, the vineyard has been noted for its dynamism. This does not prevent winegrowers from giving pride of place to historical native grape varieties.
For the wine lover, Spain is an exciting playground. The country has 63 appellations: just enough to keep you from getting lost or going in circles.
The largest vineyard in the world is distinguished by the great diversity of grape varieties used. The international Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay are gradually establishing themselves, but they have the courtesy to leave the spotlight on the indigenous varieties. Spain is surely the wine country with the best quality/price ratio. From the intense reds of Andalusia to the sparkling whites of the Basque Country, not forgetting the volcanic wines of the Canary Islands, there is something for every taste and budget.
On the bottle, the appellation is followed by the two letters D.O. or Denominación de Origen.
In addition to the provenance, the label may indicate, next to the vintage, the degree of barrel ageing.
Vino de Crianza: 2 years of which at least one year in oak barrels.
Vino de Reserva: 3 years in at least one year in oak barrels
Vino de Gran Reserva: 5 years, 2 years in oak barrels.
Castilla La Mancha (520,000 hectares)
At the gates of Madrid stands the largest vineyard in the world. And to give you an idea of this wine-growing lung, just think about the fact that it accounts for 50 % of the national production. For a long time destined for mass production, it was structured at the end of the 20th century. Half of the vineyard claims a D.O. (Denominación de Origen).
Andalusia (86,000 hectares)
The first Spanish wines were made here 3000 years ago. Portugal has its port and Spain its sherry ("jerez" in Spanish, "sherry" in English). It is a white wine fortified with brandy and aged in casks that reaches an alcohol content of at least 18 %. The idea of adding brandy dates back to the time when it was necessary to prevent the wine from spinning during long sea voyages. Depending on how it is made, sherry comes in several categories: from the driest to the sweetest. Shakespeare is the one who speaks best of it: "A good sherry has two effects: first, it goes to the brain, keeps away the sad and silly thoughts that obstruct it, loosens the tongue and the mind; second, it warms the blood and chases away the cowardice. »
Rioja & Navarra (80,000 hectares)
La Rioja has a touch of Bordeaux: known throughout the world for its highly concentrated, blended wines, for which old vines are particularly appreciated. And these similarities are no coincidence, as many Bordeaux residents invested in the region following the phylloxera crisis at the end of the 19th century.
Castilla y Léon (68,000 hectares)
With the exception of Arlanza and Bierzo, all the appellations are nestling on the banks of the Duero or its confluence. Life is not easy for the vines in this region, which suffers from intense frosts in winter and intense heat in summer. But isn't it said that the vine has to suffer in order to produce a great wine?
Catalonia 61,000 hectares
Catalonia is known for its Cava, mainly produced in the D.O. Penedès. This sparkling wine tends to compete with some champagnes and prosecco thanks to its excellent quality/price ratio. There is also a production of rosé wines that benefits from the mild Mediterranean climate.
Continue your exploration of the wines of the world through the pages of our Atlas of World Wines here