Spain is one of the main countries in the world when it comes to wine. Wine production has a long history there and it is also one of the major producers of wine. If you are interested in knowing more about wine and wine production in general, then Spain is one of the countries that you have to do some research on. You cannot leave out Spanish wine.
Spain is located in the Iberian Peninsula together with Portugal. The country has more than 2.9 million acres that is dedicated to growing grapevines. Though it is the most widely planted country for wine production, it only comes third when it comes to the volume of production, the first two countries being France and Italy. This difference in standing is caused by the fact that the vines in Spain have very low yields as compared with the other two countries ahead of it in production, which in turn can be attributed to the not so fertile soil in the country.
There are many varieties of grapes that are grown in Spain for wine production. There are over 400 grape varieties planted Spain, but only 20 of those account for 80% of all the wine production.
History of Winemaking in Spain
Winemaking in Spain has a very long history. Evidence suggests that as early as 4000 and 3000 BC, wine is being made there already. This early wine production can be attributed to the fact that there are many local varieties of grapes that can be found there. The Phoenicians, the Carthaginians would all influence Spanish winemaking. Spanish wine was widely traded during the time of the Romans throughout the empire. The quality of Spanish wine at the time of the Roman Empire was varied. It ranged from the very good to the very poor.
There are numerous wine regions in Spain and that’s not surprising considering the large area that is dedicated to growing grapevines. There are two regions, Rioja and Priorat which have been classified as Denominación de Origen Calificada and which are widely considered to be the flagship wine regions in the country. The rest of the regions are classified as Denominación de Origen and Vinos de la Tierra.
Sherry is a kind of wine that is produced in Spain. It is heavily fortified and is made only in the towns of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, El Puerto de Santa María and Jerez. The European Union restricted the use of the term sherry to the wines that are produced in those areas. Palomino is the main type of grape used in the production of sherry, though other varieties can also be used. Locally occurring yeast called flor is used in order to distinguish sherry from other types of wines. Producers of sherry add brandy in order to kill the yeast used in the production or to raise the alcohol level by as much as 16%. The following are the different types of sherry that are available:
• Pedro Ximénez
• Palo Cortado
Cava is a sparkling wine made in Spain which uses the same process for making Champagne. It used to be known as Champaña until producers of the wine officially used Cava in reference to the cellar where the wine is stored. It was the phylloxera epidemic of the 19th century which prompted winemakers in the area to try out the same grapes used in the Champagne region in France.
Those are just some of the things that you ought to know about the wines that are grown in Spain. There are so much that you can learn about the wines coming from that country but these things will give you a good introduction.