Welcome to Great Wines from Spain, in this guide you will learn everything there is to know about Spanish wine. We will talk about everything from the history of Spanish wine, to the types of grapes that are grown, to the best wineries in the country, and much more. Spain is an ancient wine producing country and has been making wine for thousands of years. Today, Spain has become one of the leaders in the wine world, producing high-quality wines at mind-blowing prices. There are several types of unique grapes and wines being produced throughout the entire country, offering everything from a fruity white wine to a full-bodied, bold red, so there is a wine for every person, at every price range.
In the past, most Spanish wines were light in color, offered little excitement, and where usually only consumed within the country. Sadly, most upper-class Spaniards usually prefered foreign wines over their Spanish counterparts. Around the mid 1960's, Spain started to improve the way wine was made, and the production of higher quality wine became the main focus. After Spain joined the European Union, new wine laws came into effect and all of a sudden, old wine regions that were forgotten through time, started to make high quality wines. Robert Parker Jr. reviewed his first Spanish wines in 1986 and the wines reviewed (Pesquera and Vega Sicilia) received extremely high scores and great promise. From that point, consumers from around the world started paying attention to Spanish wine.
Spain has over 70 (Quality-Approved) wine regions, and has more vineyards planted to land than any other country in the world. Spain places third in terms of volume of wine produced, behind France and Italy. So much wine is made in Spain that there are many wines from Spain that are not even shipped out of the country. All the great wines are available around the world, but there are some amazing small batch wines that can only be found within the country, usually they are from small wineries in small, unknown wine regions. This can tell you that visiting Spain to go on a wine tasting adventure, can promise you the time of your life.
Spain has been blessed with a series of fine harvests and has been showcasing some amazing vintages since 1994. Sometimes its not always about how great your harvest is, its about how great and gifted your winemakers are. Spain has had some difficult harvests (1997, 1998, 2000, 2006), due to long summers with no rain or short summers with to much rain, but the majority of wineries still produced some great wines during those difficult years. Usually during the more difficult vintages, wine prices might be a bit lower, due to the fact that most wineries still want your business during the tougher vintage years. However, the good news about a difficult vintage year, is that most wineries have to cut down on wine produced, as only select grapes make the cut for the best possible quality, they just don't sell you a bottle with whatever they harvested, they still put 110% into quality.
Questions many wine drinkers and wine collectors ask are: "Are Spanish wines age worthy?" and "How long can they last when cellared correctly?" The short is answer is yes, there are many red Spanish wines that can age well over 20 years, they usually have to be from a strong vintage, like any other wine in the world. For Spain, 1994, 1995, 2001 and 2004 are the best vintages in history as they produced the very best Spain has to offer. Wines from those vintages can last for 20+ years when stored correctly.
Many Spanish wineries hold onto their top wines for years of bottle-aging, so they can bring them to their very best, in terms of drinkability. This means, when you are shopping for a Spanish bottle, you will find many older vintages available, that are mature and ready to drink. Usually the wine region of Rioja is the one that practices this method the most. The wine will usually be a "Gran Reserva" which means it has been aged at least 5 years, with two years in barrel. Vega Sicilia, the most popular winery in Ribera del Duero, usually releases their flagship wine "Unico" about 8-10 years after vintage.
Right now Spain is experiencing a wine revolution that no other wine country has ever experienced in history, now is the time to start exploring Spanish wine and learning what it is all about and reaping the rewards. Please browse through our departments to get your journey started in the world of Spanish wine. Salud!