A Beginner’s Guide to the Wines of Spain The introduction of wine in Spain began in 800 B.C. by the Phoenicians. This resulted to a different type of wine, compared to ones in France, being grown in the Iberian Peninsula. The wines of Spain are unique and striking, perfect for matching with rich foods such as pork roast, and they are also the best introduction you can have into the wines of the Old World. Getting the Best Wines of Spain Spain is dotted with numerous wineries, so there is a lot to choose from. What is even better is that these wineries age wine for you – in oak barrels or in bottles, whatever your preference is – so you do not have to invest in storage space in your own home. The wines of Spain are labelled properly, as per mandated by their law, so you will have a clue as to how long they have been aged. Vino Joven (or “young wine”) or Sin Crianza labels would mean that the wine has undergone very little wood aging, if at all. Crianza labels would mean they have been aged at least 2 years for red wines or at least 1 year for whites and roses. Aging should include at least 6 months in oak. Reserva, on the other hand, would mean 3 years of aging for red wines, including at least a year in oak, or at least 2 years for whites and roses, including at least 6 months in oak. Lastly, Gran Reserva is for wines of Spain that belong to above average vintage classifications. This means the red wines should have been aged for at least 5 years, including 18 months in oak and at least 36 months in bottle. Whites and roses must be aged for at least 4 years, which includes at least 6 months in oak barrels.
Vintage years (vendimia or cosecha) may also appear on the label of Spanish wines but only if they make use of at least 85% of grapes that have been harvested during that year. The Art of Making Wines of Spain The Spanish people often use elaborar (to elaborate) instead of fabricar (to produce or make) to describe their wine making tradition. Spanish winemaking value tradition and make use of oak barrels and spending as much as two decades just to age them. In the recent years, many Spanish winemakers have started making use of temperature-controlled stainless steel fermentation which allows those in the warmer climates to create fresh and fruity white wines. While traditional winemaking processes are still around, newer and cheaper ways to develop favourite wines with minimal aging or with the use of the more strongly flavoured American oak barrels are also being used.