by Ciaran Meyler
If you’re just back from Spain and have the holiday blues why not head down to your local wine merchants and pick up a bottle to help you reminisce.
So what should I be looking out for when I get to my local wine shop? Firstly you should know something about the Classification of Spanish wines. This will help you understand why you are paying a wee bit more.
Classification of Spanish quality wines:
DOCa Denominación de Origen Calificada. This category originated in 1991 and is the highest quality category for Spanish wine. Only Rioja and recently also the Priorat wine region received DOCa status. The wines must be bottled in the wine region.
DO Denominación de Origen. The second category for Spanish wine is DO, similar to the French AOC, which includes the most well-known classical Spanish wines. The wines have to meet the requirements of the Consejo Regulador (Supervision of the individual wine regions), who then decides if a wine-maker is entitled to use the DO label for his wine.
DO Pago Stays for a single property. The wine is made in one property in one small area.
Classification of table wines:
VdlT Vino de la Tierra Wines from regions with no DO status as yet, but with an identifiable regional character.
VC Vino Comarcal Areas that have no great claims on quality.
VdM Vino de Mesa Vino de Mesa is wine made from grapes from unclassified areas or blended from different classified areas. Usually without vintage.
It is also very important to be aware of the following terms giving an indication of age.
Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva
Crianza Total stored 24 months, at least six months in oak
Reserva Total stored 36 months, at least 12 months in oak
Gran Reserva Total stored 60 months, at least 24 months in oak
The Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva can be confusing as it applies to all areas. So some of the mediocre areas can age the wines for five years and get Gran Reserva status but the wine may not be very good.
Remember it always pays to trade up, the duty in Spain is only a few cents per bottle, compared with our £2 per bottle. Quality wines from Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Navarra for reds. Value for money reds from La Mancha and Alicante, Rueda for whites, Navarra and Somontano for roses and Cava for sparkling represent great value.
So cook some Paella and dream of your next holiday in Spain. Try the new Castillo de Calatrava Range, exceptional value Reserva and Gran Reserva from La Mancha.
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