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Spanish wines guide to wines from Spain

Think of Spanish Wines and your first thought will probably be, red Riojas. The Spanish have been well known to lovers of wines worldwide for years as a reliable source of good value, red wines. However white wines are now made all over Spain. Wine is part of the culture in Spain.

Spain is the third largest producer of wine in the world, the largest two being France and Italy. There are more than fifty wine regions in Spain. Better known are the quality reds from Rioja and Ribera del Duero, reds and white wines from Penedés and Rueda, "sherries" from Jerez, and a fine sparkling wine known as cava (Spanish champagne)

Until about 25 years ago, Spanish red wines were generally of mediocre quality. Many were aged too long in wood, overpowering their freshness and fruit character. However, quality has risen to the point that they compete successfully in the international market. Very high quality Spanish wines have recently become “trendy” in some circles

Spain has a similar classification system to France and Italy, with all classified wine regions regulated under the Denominación de Origen (DO) system. Red wines are often labelled as Crianza, Reserva or Gran Reserva. In Rioja and the Ribera del Duero, Crianza wines are two years old, with at least twelve months spent in cask (elsewhere the oak ageing may legally be restricted to just six months). Reservas are three years old (at least one year in cask), Gran Reservas five years old (two in cask, three in bottle).

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