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Spanish Wines

 

Spanish wines are wines produced in the southwestern European country of Spain. Located on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain has over 2.9 million acres planted--making it the most widely planted wine producing nation but it is only the third largest producer of wine in the world, the largest being Italy and France. This is due, in part, to the very low yields and wide spacing of the old vines planted on the dry, infertile soil found in many Spanish wine regions. The country is ninth in worldwide consumptions with Spaniards drinking, on average, 10.06 gallons (38 liters) a year. The country has an abundance of native grape varieties, with over 600 varieties planted throughout Spain though 80 percent of the country's wine production is from only 20 grapes--including Tempranillo, Albariño, Garnacha, Palomino, Airen, Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel·lo, Cariñena and Monastrell. Major Spanish wine regions include the Rioja and Ribera del Duero which is known for their Tempranillo production; Jerez, the home of the fortified wine Sherry; Rías Baixas in the northwest region of Galicia that is known for its white wines made from Albariño and Catalonia which includes the Cava and still wine producing regions of the Penedès as well the Priorat region.

Spain has a relatively large number of distinct wine-producing regions, more than half having the classification Denominación de Origen (DO) with the majority of the remainder classified as Vinos de la Tierra (VdlT). There are two regions nominated as Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa) - Rioja and Priorato - the flagship regions of Spanish winemaking. While most DOs make both red and white wine, some wine regions are more dominated by one style than the other.

For many years, Spanish winemaking was very rustic and steeped in tradition. This included the judicious use of oak with some wines, even whites, spending as much as two decades aging in the barrel. This created distinctly identifiable fllavors that were internationally associated with the wines from regions such as the Rioja.

 

                                                            

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