The region of Andalucia has the following
Denominaciones de Origen - guarantees of origen - : Jerez-Xeres-Sherry,
Manzanilla-Sanlucar de Barrameda, Malaga, Montilla-Moriles
and Condado de Huelva. Its wines are the most characteristic
of the country and internationally the most famous. They are
produced by a unique method, which has something of a miracle
about it, since it is not a wine from one particular harvest,
as is the rule, but the result of different mixtures made
over the years. They are aged in oak vats and have subtle
differences which are classified into ten groups:
coloured and transparent, dry, light and very fragrant; 15
to 17% alcohol. Amontillado:
amber coloured; 16 to 18% alcohol.
gold, powerful to the taste, yet light; 18 to 20% alcohol.
half-way between amontillado and oloroso.
Raya: of the
oloroso family, but less fragrant and less strong to the taste.
sweet and very fragrant.
Moscatel: sweet raisin
wine produced by adding alcohol to grape juice which has not
really begun to ferment.
Color: a wine
produced by mixing fresh and concentrated grape juice. Manzanilla:
a wine produced in the township of Sanlúcar de Barrameda;
very pale, very dry, with an alcohol content of 15-17%.
The Montilla-Moriles wines come from the Province
of Córdoba and, like their neighbours of Jerez, are unmistakable,
dry, very fragrant and have a high alcohol content. Finally,
there are the Moscatels from Málaga which are warm
to the taste and very dark coloured. They are sold under different
names: Málaga, Málaga Virgen, Lácrima Christi, Pedro Ximenez
Guarantee of origen exist for Campo de Borja,
and Somontano. In this area, the wines are very
red with a high alcohol content. Their aroma is very concentrated
and their taste is powerful, ideal for very spicy meat and
(CASTILLA) LA MANCHA
Denominaciones de Origen include Mancha,
Mentrida, Vaidepeñas and Almansa. This is the great Spanish
wine reservoir which includes the Provinces of Toledo, Ciudad
Real, Cuenca and Albacete. In general the wines are very widely
drunk and are of good quality: mild, dry, with almost no acidity.
The most commonly known are the ones from Valdepeñas, ie,
light reds and whites. All of them tend to be drunk young,
not more than one or a maximum of two years old, while the
alcohol content lies between 11 and 13%.
CASTILE (& LEON)
Denominaciones de Origen are Rueda, Ribera
del Duero and Toro. They produce reds and light reds with
between 13 and 17% alcohol. Some of them are universally famous:
those produced between Valbuena, Quintanilia de Arriba and
Quintanilia de 0nésimo. They mature exceptionally well for
which Bordeaux barrels and underground winecellars are used.
These wines have a limited production and sell at very high
prices. Around Rueda very pale and transparent whites of excellent
quality and 11.5-14% are produced. Dry, sherry-type wines
are also made there.
Here the regions with a Denominación de
Origen are Ampurdan-Costa Brava, Alella, Costers del Segre,
Penedes, Priorato, Tarragona and Terra Alta. There are
magnificent reds, whites and light reds in the area, all of
which have a long tradition. The most sought after are the
Penedés and Priorato wines. The former are famous because
of their whites and have an alcohol content of between 10
and 13%. The Priorato wines are probably the ones receiving
most skilled attention in the entire country, especially the
dark reds which have a velvety flavour and complex aroma.
They are fairly heavy and have a high alcohol content. In
Tarragona, the most typical ones are white wines which are
appropriate for fish and as aperitifs. The cavas or sparkling
wines from Sant Sadurní d'Anoia (Barcelona) have developed
great quality and are widely found inside and outside Spain.
Estremadura has some good wines, but they
are not yet commercialized. They are extremely strong and
have a high alcohol content, as well as an unmistakable flavour.
The wine from Cañamero is only now finding its way on to the
market. There are also whites from Montánchez, Cillero, Añigal;
and light reds from Hervás.
Its Denominación de Origen includes Rias
Baixas, Ribeiro and Valdeorras. They are light, agreeably
acid white and red wines with a low alcohol content, excellent
companions of the typical Galician cuisine.
The Jumilia wines from this Murcia
area are easy to distinguish because they are aged in oak
barrels, although there are also young wines. In both cases
the alcohol content is very high, and they are dark red and
thick. Yecla has reds, rosés and light reds with between
13 and 15% alcohol and a very pleasant mild taste.
Denominación de Origen: Navarra.
The area basically produces red wines which at times reach
14.5% alcohol and are perfectly in tune with the heavy cuisine
of the region.
Denominación de Origen: Rioja, after
the area with the small River Oja, is the richest wine growing
region of Spain for table wines. According to its wines the
area is divided into three parts:
Rioja Baja (the Lower Rioja) which produces
heavy fruity wines with a high alcohol content;
Rioja Alta (the Upper Rioja) which is the
area of the great aged and mature quality wines, with a moderate
alcohol content. They are very fragrant, of different shades
of red and have a balanced, unmistakable flavour. These wines
lend themselves to being aged in oak vats. Young white wines
are also produced.
Rioja Alavesa produces red wines which are
usually drunk young and have a pleasant trace of acidity.
The wines of this denominación are famous
and develop their best as mature quality wines. The following
varieties can be distinguished according to their age:
Vino de crianza
is a wine aged for at least one vear in vats and another
year in bottles. It is usually a three-, four- and five-year
Vino de reserva
is the one aged for at least two years in vats and another
year in bottles.
Vino de gran reserva
is aged in oak barrels for at least three years and another
in bottles in the famous Rioja underground calaos (cellars).
These wines are of the best years.
All these wines are a real treasure of the
Spanish cuisine and occupy a place of honour among the most
famous table wines in the world because of the environment
from which they come and because of the skill and technique
that goes into their production.
This region includes the following Denominaciones de Origen:
Alicante, Valencia and Utiel-Requena, which cover quite
different wines. Those from Alicante are reds and rosés
with a high alcohol content of between 12 and 16%. The wines
from Valencia are usually white, dry and very fresh. The wine
from Utiel-Requena is red and with less alcohol.
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