While visiting Barcelona ask you this question how much do I know about Spanish wine? If you know the difference between a Tempranillo and a Garnacha Tinta then what we are about to suggest my not interest you, but if you cannot answer the question then keep on reading. Most of us as it turns out are not so stupid when it comes to French wines, and can understand what is written on the bottle but when it comes to Spanish wines we are lost.
Just like the system of appellations d’ origins used in France, Spain has their own equivalent called Denominacion de origin, which is also used to classify certain foods in Spain also such as meats, and cheeses. In Spain wine is broken down into three classes.
- Vino de Mesa (table or everyday wine)
- Vino de la tierra (regional wine )
- Vino de calidad (quality wine )
The wines of quality or vino de calidad are broken down again into two further categories called:
Denominaciones de Origin (DO) which defines certain wine growing areas like Ribera del Duero, La Mancha.
Donominaciones de Origin Calificada (DOC) are the highest rated regions for quality and at present only include Rioja and Priorato.
A Wines Age
Joven is a young wine suitable for drinking now, where the best bargains are to be found.
Semi- crianza, fermentada, roble, meses en barricaare, are all words used to describe wines that have been stored in barrels for less than the necessary required amount of time.
Crianza is used for wines that have been stored for a minimum of two years with at least six months of that time in oak.
Reserva indicates a wine that has been aged for three years, with at least one of those years being in oak.
Gran Reserva is for a wine that has aged a minimum of five years with at least two years being in oak.
The Back of the Bottle
The label on the back of a bottle of Spanish wine is there to provide further details of the wine such as.
- Tasting notes
- Serving temperature
- How the wine was produced
- Suitable food pairings
- If the wine contains sulphites
Now armed with some knowledge you are ready to go on a wine tasting tour. Just south of Barcelona are some of the best wineries in Spain, and also the home of Spanish Champagne production or as it is called here “Cava” since 1861 Freixenet is probably the most well-known cava producer with their distinctive black & gold bottle. Located in the Penedes region in the town of Sant Sadurni d Anoia 40 km south of Barcelona the Caves Freixenet is easy to get to by car or train. By car take the AP-7 or AP-2 south towards Tarragona getting off at exit 27.
By train from Barcelona Sants take the regional train line 4 heading to Vilafranca del Penedés/Sant Vicenç de Calders. Get off the train in Sant Sadurni d Anoia where the winery enterance is just 50 metres from the station. For more information on tours, and prices visit Freixenet.
There are plenty of other wine tours to consider also including a tour to one of Spain’s biggest wine producers Torres.
If you would like to learn about Spanish wine from a professional there is a tour you can take right in the heart of Barcelona in a wine shop just off the Placa de Catalunya that takes an hour, and a half where an expert will talk all about the Spanish wines you are tasting before heading out to dinner.
Mark is a travel writer who has spent the last 6 months travelling around Spain. He recommends visiting Outlet4Spain.com aparments if you are looking for holiday accommodation in Spain.