Until recently, Spanish wine was not so known at all outside Spain. Of course, in countries like France and Italy, that have always stimulated the export of their beloved products, wine has always been promoted by their respective governments. Spanish wine producers probably had some bad luck in this field. Taken into account that Spain has been under dictatorship until 1976, when General Franco passed away. Until then and in fact until just some years ago little has been done with the excellent wines of the many regions the country has.
Who ever heard of a “Penedes” wine about 15 years ago? Not even the “Ribera de Duero” rang a bell for many of us. All the Spanish wines’ marketing efforts were initiated from the nineties onward. Nowadays Spain is known for many – and very tasteful – wines, varying from excellent white wines to “rosados” (rose wine) and red wines.
Per geographical areas, we can say that “La Rioja”, in the north of Spain, is a winning horse for red wines. Her beautiful colors, oak smell and soft fruity taste make it a fantastic wine for any occasion. The main players in the Spanish wine production are many so called “Marqueses”, under which Marques de Riscal, Marques de Caceres and Marques de Grinon. Whether you opt for a “reserva”, a “gran reserva” or simply a “cosecha” wine, these wines will never leave you indifferent and because of their great price-quality relation.
Talking about red wines: do not forget about the Ribera de Duero, produced in the northeast of the Spanish peninsula anywhere near the river el Duero that crosses several provinces. There you can find great brand under which a very popular wine called “Pesquera”. This one is definitely worth trying.
For rose wines, most of the vineyards that produce a decent wine, whether it is a red or a white win, they will have a rose version of it. Good examples of these are Marques de Riscal or Raimat. Especially this last one can be considered as one of the most surprising wines. They have managed to get 3 out of 3 so they count with a good rose wine, a good red and good white wine.
Catalonia would be the white wine and “Cava” region by excellence. Cava is a peculiar sparkling wine, by many considered as great substitute for champagne. It is especially in the Alt Penedes region of Catalonia where it is produced. Cava is becoming more and more popular in northern Europe. Up to some years ago, it was only known in Spain and used mainly for domestic consumption. Counting with, nowadays, world-famous producers such as Torres and Codorniu the comparison to the Italian “prosecco” and perhaps the whole Italian way of promoting their national products is one we cannot deny.
Nevertheless, we should be glad there is yet another interesting wine culture we can explore. It seems that with the Cava and the other fine Spanish wines that are produced all over the country, Spain is catching up quickly with the promotional delay that had been caused by the political instability of the country some decades ago. For those that are interested there are many tours available that take you to the vineyards. Of course the typical visit to the fields, the cellars, a visit to the production area and wine tasting is done. You can combine this perfectly when you stay for example in a holiday apartment in Barcelona.
The Penedes area is reached in about one hour drive from Barcelona.