First time ever, in 2013, Spain was named the Nº1 Wine Producer in the World.
With a production mass of 50,5 millions of hectoliters, a staggering 41% more than in previous years, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Spanish Wine Market Observatory. Beat famous wine producers France and Italy to first place, Spain’s vine harvest and production comes down to good climate conditions and export prices.
Spain has the largest of the three (France, Italy, Spain) in land for wine productions, and it was not Spain’s prices that had gone down, elevated production that has reached them first place in 2013. It was France’s and Italy’s poorer weather conditions in this last year what let them down.
This said, and considering Spain’s win based on climate conditions, it is not Spain’s aim to increased the value of the wine to a more commercial level but make prices equivalent to value of produce. Wine producers have learned that selling bulks to mayor competitors (to package and seal the wine) means they keep the value, and hence loosing the original value of being a product of Spain.
With the achievement of Nº1 wine producer in 2013, Spanish wines exportation is expected to rise from the already positive sum of 2.626 million euros worth of wine exported (2013).
Castilla La Mancha, Spain’s largest wine producing region
Located on the south and east of Spain’s capital Madrid lies the large region of Castilla La Mancha. This autonomous province not only borders with Madrid but also with Castilla y León, Valencia, Murcia, Andalusia and Extremadura. A province not only large in size but is the largest region in Spain with the biggest wine production.
Production by regions (statistics for 2013)
Castilla-La Mancha: 31,2 million hectolitres (19 million the previous year)
Extremadura: 4,1 million hectolitres (28,4% more than the year before)
Catalunya: 3,4 million hectolitres (20,6% more than previous year)
Valencia: 2,5 milion hectolitres
Castilla y León: 2 million hectolitres
Andalucia: 1,4 million hectolitres (22,6% more than previous year)
Galicia: 0,7 million hectolitres
Ribera del Duero, bold wines from province of Castilla y León
The most widely planted grape in Ribera del Duero (situated in the province of Castilla y León, 120 km north from Madrird) is Tempranillo, that forms into young piquant red wine.
Locally known as ‘Tinto fino’, deep red in color and with a complex palette of flavors. One is sure to taste the perfect blend of mulberries and blackberries within the firm tannin of the wine.
Ribera del Duero region is known for its extremems tempratures, intensly hot summer and biting winters and high altitudes. However, these ‘extreme’ conditions mix well with the regions’ limestone soils and create the ideal conditions for ‘Tinto Fino’, Tempranillo wine. A world-famous bold meaty red wine from Ribera del Duero is “Vega Sicilia”, a wine of great body, powerful fruity juicy flavors and subtle woody notes.
Apartm from Tempranillo, Ribera del Duero also grows and produces Carbernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Mabec, Garnacha and Merlot but are mainly used for blending with th trademark Tempranillo wines to experiment and add flavor.
La Rioja, land of the world famous wine
Scattering vineyards and beautiful mountain ranges on the banks of the river Rio Oja. Haro, a small town in La Rioja, hundred years ago, was a very cosmopolitan town with vibrant nightlife and even some casinos. Little did they know that in 2013 they were known for some of the most famous wines in the world
Although La Rioja is a world renown wine-producing region in Spain, many small family-based businesses still today have kept viticulture very traditional. These small firms produce the grapes which are then transferred to large corporations that turn into some of the big name Rioja wines.
Despite being located in the north of Spain, La Rioja boasts of southern Mediterranean climate. In La Rioja, grape harvesting is done by hand almost everywhere and most vines are bush-trained, meaning that some modern machines cannot be used to aid the process.
Maybe that’s why Rioja wines blossom in such juicy and flavorsome bodies.
The current D.O.C La Rioja wine-producing region is divided into three sub-regions:
La Rioja Alta is famous of fine elegant wines with moderate alcohol contents
La Rioja Alavesa produces the more fruity wines
La Rioja Baja have the red juicy grapes with higher alcohol content.
However, one of the most famous Rioja wines is the Tempranillo, a young and more fruity wine.
Statistics for La Rioja wines in 2013 show a total production of 47.7 million liters. Countries who most purchase rioja wines are the United Kingdom with 14.8 million liters, Germany with 8.6 million liters and the United States with just over 5 million liters. That’s a lot of Spanish wine, a clear sign of what’s on demand.
Andalucia, home to Sherry wine
The home of Flamenco and Moorish architecture is the southernmost wine-making area in Spain. While the area does produce some quaffable still wine, it’s the country’s great fortified wine, sherry, that is most often associated with the region.
Wine encompasses the spirit of the Andalusian culture. What better to accompany great tapas than a great glass of wine? Cultivation of vines in Andalusia go back centuries, and today it is a region that products world known wines.
The specialty of this region is vino fino, a sherry. Althought it is normally served cold, it has a dry palate and a rather intense yet smooth. It’s a delicate and unmistakeable flavor bound to open up a full range of sensations. The most famous named Jerez also known as Xérès or sherry.
Geology and climate of Andalusia are all ideal for the cultivation of vines. It’s mild average temperatures (16º), the long hours of sunshine, combined with the contrasting altitudes and systems of maturing, create wines of exceptional quality, with a wide variety of types and characteristics.
Andalusian vino fino sherry is typically served in bars and taverns, which with their special charm and friendly locals will guarantee you some unforgettable moments. High spirits and loud laughter are essentials amid a great selection of tapas and the very important glasses of vino fino.
Jerez del la Frontera is a municipality located in the province of Cádiz, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, southern Spain.
Jerez de la Frontera is world known for its sherry, wine made from white geapes. This particular sherry is made in a variety of different styles and grapes, ‘Palomino’ being a favourite.
A wide range of white and light table wines such as ‘Manzanilla’ and ‘Fino’ are withing the most popular. Then we have darker and heavier wines (that have been allowed to oxidise as they age in barrel) such as Amontillado and Oloroso. Click here to learn more about different types of sherry wines.
Thanks to Jerez’s strengths in tourism, wine tourism specially, the European Network has given it’s candidacy as the “European city of Wine” for 2014.
However, what Jerez is most famous for, a true Magnethi favourite, is the sweet dessert wine Pedro Ximenez (Moscatel grapes). This sweet, quite floral but spiced wine has a beautiful strong golden red color, an exquisite smoothness in flavor, with touches of raisin and orange, with a gentle kick of the great Pedro Ximenez.
Below are some images from a local wine tasting we (Magnethi) we went to, to check out southern Spanish wines in aim to keep up with any new launches and remember the delicious older selection that we are already familiar with.
In the pictures above (far left) we have a selection of Ronda wines and in the middle we have ‘Cortijo Los Aguilares’ Pinot Noir, also from Ronda – a wine that won the Gold Medal in the Mondial de Pinot Noir de Sierre in 2011. On the far right we have an image of two Pedro Ximenez, local Andalusian sweet wine from Jerez region. These two were the ones to catch our attention and attract our taste buds. The sweet wine (left), a beautiful strong golden red color, has an exquisite smoothness beyond words with a gentle kick of the great Pedro Ximenez. We agreed on that it was one of the best dessert wine we have ever tasted. The brandy (right), another of divine colour, also is set to get your taste buds to blossom!