History of Spanish Wine

Spain is well known for a number of different kinds of wine. While there are more than 20 wine regions, there are four that are popular in the rest of the world: Rioja, Cava, Sherry, and Malaga. After you read about them, check out The Spanish Culture Guide's Article on great foods of Spain!

Rioja was developed before the Romans came in. The "red rioja" is most well known, but there is also a white and rose version. The Rioja also comes from three subregions - Alta, Alavesa and Baja. Anything from the Rioja region in general is labelled 'Rioja Calificada'.

Rioja is broken up as well depending on the type of aging the wine goes through:

   Vino de Crianza - one year in a barrel, at least three years old.
   Reserva - three years old, at least one in a barrel.
   Gran Reserva - three years in a barrel plus two in the bottle.

A non-Champagne-sparkling-wine, Cava is created in the northern areas of Spain in much the same manner as French Champagne is. The same methods and bottling techniques are used, but the different land the grapes grow on of course affect the flavor to give Cava a distinctive taste. Cava traditionally is made from Macabeo, Xarello and Parellada. Over 99% of Spanish Cava comes from the northwest region; the rest comes from small wineries scattered around Spain.

Malaga is a Spanish fortified wine, which comes from the Andalucia region of Spain - the same region that Sherry originated in around the 1100s. Malaga is a deep brown, rich, raisiny wine which began with the Greeks in 600 BC. It was originally called Xarabal Malaguii, "Malaga syrup", and was very sweet. Spain now produces 5.8 million gallons of Malaga a year.

There are 16 main types of Malaga. Common ones are:

   Lagrima - very sweet, free run (i.e. not pressed).
   Moscatel - sweet, aromatic, using the muscatel grapes only.
   Pedro Ximinez - sweet, using the pedro ximinez grapes only.
   Solera - coming from a dated solera.

Sherry refers to the fortified wine made in Jerez, Spain. Jerez is located in Andalucia, in the southwest of Spain. It was started by the Phoenicians here around 1100 BC, continued by the Romans. In the mid 1990s, the EU ruled that all EU nations must abide by the ruling that Sherry only comes from this region in Spain. Spain produces 19.8 million gallons of sherry a year. Other current producers of a "Sherry" are South Africa, Australia, France, and Germany.

Sherry is aged for five years and is done with a "solera" method of blending. In this, the first sherry is "laid down" in a cask. The next year, a similar tasting sherry is put above it. Some sherry is taken from the bottom cask, and it is "replenished" with liquid from the cask over it, which is replenished from the cask over it, and so on. The "series" of casks is called a "criadera", and the cascade method is called "running the scales". Only 33% of the solera is removed per year. In this manner, the sherry maintains a consistant taste. Often Sherries are labelled with the date that the solera was first started - often quite a while ago!

Spanish Wines
Alexander Jules Fino Sherry $39.99
Alexander Jules Manzanilla Sherry $39.99
Camp Viejo Rioja Tempranillo 2013 Must Buy Three Or More Bottles At This Price $9.99
Camp Viejo Rioja Reserva 2012 $11.95
Espelt Garnacha Old Vines Spain 2012 90/100 $10.99
Espelt Saulo Garnacha Spain 2008 $4.99
Harveys Bristol Cream Orange Spain $9.99
Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry Spain $12.99
Hidalgo Fino Sherry $16.99
Martin Codax Spanish Ergo Rioja 2012 $9.99
Morenita Cream Sherry $16.99
Numanthia Numanthia Toro Spain 2012 $49.99
Numanthia Termes Toro 2011 90/100 $19.99
Numanthia Termanthia Spain 2011 $199.95
Sangria Cruz Garcia Real Spain $6.99
Sangria Slices Red Wine $9.99
Sangria Slices Rose Wine $9.99
Sangria Slices White Wine $9.99
Sangria Yago Red Wine $4.99
Savory & James Sherry Cream Spain $11.99
Tapena Garnacha Spain 2011 $6.99
Torres 5G Cinco Garnachas Spain 2014 $9.99
Torres Sangre De Toro Garnacha Spain 2015 $7.99
All bottles of Wine are 750ml unless stated otherwise
Robert Parker Rating (Blue) - Wine Spectator Rating (Red) - Temporarily Out of Stock