My summer began with a Spanish wine-tasting for a group of entrepreneurial women — and oh how fun it was! The organizer was headed to Spain for a family vacation, so what better way to get in the ‘spirit.’ I felt as though I was packing my bags to head to Spain too as I prepared for the tasting. Spain is one of the oldest countries in Europe located in the south west bordering France. As I made my wine selections my imagination took me there. One minute I envisioned myself in an old cellar in Rioja, where mold slowly encompasses the space and the wines that age so peacefully. Then a walk along the hillsides along the shores of Galicia where I sipped a crisp Albariño. I loved my trip as I chose the 5 wine lineup for our tasting. I must say I haven’t stopped drinking Spanish wine since then.
Spain, “the Iberian Peninsula,” has been cultivating vines for thousands of years. From the Phoenicians to the Conquistadors who brought Spanish wines to the New World, Spain has looked to both the past and present, incorporating traditional and modern winemaking techniques. Yes, there is a lot more to Spain than Sangria…
Their history brings us varietals unlike the French or American. They harvest Tempranillo, Garnacha, Monastrell grape varieties to name a few. They have reds that range from fruity to bold tannic wines that perfectly match their cuisine. Spain also has specific aging requirements just like other Old World wines, except Spain has unique guidelines that dictate how long their red wines need to age. If you don’t know the following terms, you will be lost. But if you do know them, you will enjoy wines ranging from young to full-bodied, aged wines. So here they are — “Crianza” wines have been aged for at least two years; “Reserva” wines have been aged for a minimum of 3 years; and “Gran Reserva” (the big daddy) has aged for a minimum of five years. They are all aged specific amounts of time both in oak and then in bottle. If you are like me and enjoy aged, full bodied wines, but don’t have the space to store them or the patience to age them yourself — Spain is a must. So do what I did: take a trip from the east coast to the west coast to the mountains and the desert. Choose an Albariño, Garnacha, Tempranillo or Sangria. Open a bottle of one of these beautiful wines and enjoy … Salud!
Click here for a list of wines enjoyed during this tasting event.