April 2014 Archive

Why would you want to visit or live in Spain

There’s sea and sun to entice you……..and all that wonderful wine too. In fact, 15% of the world’s vineyards are in Spain – spread across all of Spain’s autonomous regions. Though the biggest surface area of vineyards is in Castilla-La Mancha, La Rioja boasts the greatest density of planting.

At February 2014, Spain was the world’s third largest exporter of wine, behind France and Italy, and the UK and Germany were the top customers. (Spain thanks all you lady and gentlemen inebriates in the UK). Since Spain produces a lot of sherry and brandy, some 61% of its vineyards grow white grapes. Despite this, thank goodness, the majority of wine production concerns red wine.

The main quality wine regions of Spain are called denominaciones de origen (similar to appellations in France). Particular laws dictate the quality of wine they produce. European Commission regulations require that Spanish wines are placed in a series of categories/sub-categories.

Vino de Pago

These are wine regions that claim the very highest standard within precise geographical rules, often concerning single individual estates with an international reputation. At present there are just 11 regions with this status – 8 in Castilla-La Mancha and 3 in Navarre.

Denominación de Origen Calificada

These are regions with a substantiated record of undeviating quality. Right now, there are only 2 wine regions with this status – Rioja and Priorat.

Denominación de Origen

Currently there are 66 wine regions with this status – regarded as pre-eminent, high quality wine producing areas

Vino de Calidad con Indicación Geográfica

There are only 2 regions at present – a category designed for regions starting to climb the quality ladder.

Vino de La Tierra

These are wines that have no EU recognition, Even so, there are currently 46 Spanish regions producing them. They are allowed to bear a regional name on the label. In 2006, a new Vino de La Tierra "super region” was created and named Viñedos de España, with permission to blend wines from 11 different Spanish regions. However, this has not yet received EU ratification and is facing legal challenge by the regional governments of La Rioja, Castile and León.

Vino de La Mesa

The grapes used are bulk-grown and drawn from a wide variety of regions. As a consequence, there can be no vintage or area designations on the label, apart from "Produce of Spain”. Production of this low-grade wine is falling year by year.

Although just about all wine regions are confined to specific centres of production, some of the top denominacionesare produced in more than one autonomous locality (Cava and Rioja are examples). By contrast, Vinos de Pago have a location yardstick that is very exact, often pinpointing particular plots of land and only allowing wines produced in the immediate vicinity




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Posted by on Friday 25th April 2014