Tag: spain

Toni Coca: Interview With The Winemaker Of Clos Galena

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“We started making ECO wines from the beginning (1991)…; for us, it is more a matter of philosophy than of being commercial.”

When it comes to sustainable viticulture and organic production in the DO Priorat, the Clos Galena winery has positioned itself as a pioneer since its inception. What started as a matter of philosophy for the team behind the Catalan brand has now evolved into a clear trend. And in 2017 one of its wines was represented at the Nobel Prize gala. Here at Uvinum, we got the opportunity to sit down for an interview with Toni Coca, the winemaker at Clos Galena, to learn more about the winery and its successes.

In the past few years there has been a growing trend when it comes to eco-friendly or organic wines. What, according to your opinion, is the reason for this development?

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of health issues, meaning, we are giving more and more attention to what we eat and drink and the ECO-certified products have greater guarantees.

What is the role of Clos Galena in the organic wine movement in Priorat?

We started making ECO wines from the beginning (1991) in Domini de la Cartoixa; for us, it is more a matter of philosophy than of being commercial. Today there are many producers in Priorat who are making ECO wines, it is a clear trend. We were only a few in the beginning but every year we are growing in numbers.

This year the star of our winery is without a doubt the Formiga de Vellut 2014, the wine that was chosen to be served at the Nobel Prize gala in Stockholm.

How does the Formiga wine connect with this event with regards to the values and ethics represented by the Nobel Prizes?

The Formiga de Vellut wine was chosen for this event through blind tasting, which means that those who have tasted it were looking for an honest wine with multiple nuances, freshness and above all a wine with a Mediterranean character.

What impact have you noticed after being represented at the Nobel Prize dinner?

On the media level, it has had a lot of impact; it has given a lot of visibility to both the wine and the winery.

The director of Clos Galena, Merche Dalmau, has already expressed his pride, saying that “it is a great honor that the Formigas del Vellut 2014 wine was served to harmonize the Nobel dinner”. Being the winemaker and creator, what are your thoughts on the fact that Formigas was invited to the “most intellectual table in the world”?

Without a doubt the importance is remarkable. Primarily because it was chosen and because of this the most cultured minds of today have now tasted it. For me, it is very gratifying to have played my part in this project and to recognise the remarkable work done by many skilled people also working on this project.

Of all the wines of Clos Galena, which one is your favourite?

Actually, although it sounds a little cliché, all the wines we make have their own personality, which connects with your preferences in different ways depending on the moment, but if I have to choose one I would choose the Clos Galena for its complexity, character, and kindness.

Do you have any special recommendations for others to enjoy a wine that you are passionate about?

It is time, especially to connect with wine, to reach a little further than the obvious, emotion and seduction. I think it often depends more on oneself than on the wine.

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Formiga de Vellut 2015

 

 

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Clos Galena 2013

Wine Production Under Strain

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The International Organisation of Vine and Wine (OIV) reported that this year’s wine production had been at its lowest since the 1960’s. Indeed, the harvest saw an 8% fall in production with only 246.7 million hectolitres. Moreover, despite a growing wine consumption among different population types, the production decreases steadily.

According to the OIV, climate change is one of the main reasons for these poor figures and it blames warmer autumns and longer frost periods which impede the grape’s development.

Yet, this does not cause a drop in consumption because there is enough stock (e.g. only in France, there are 154 million hectolitres in stock) nor a surge in price as exports are thriving. According to OIV experts, cheaper wines may slightly increase their price, but high-end wines will maintain themselves.

Climate change is especially affecting countries such as France, Italy and Spain. We witnessed it with this year’s vintage, which was ahead of schedule and yielded a lower production: 35.7 million hectolitres of wine and must in Spain.

Nonetheless, the wine world remains dynamic thanks to all kinds of events: wine tourism is flourishing and exports are rising.

More data on low production were published by the Directorate General for Agriculture of the European Commission which predicted that next year’s wine production would have an estimate of just 145.1 million hectolitres, which is 14.4% lower and over 24 million hectolitres less than last season.

 TAGS:Domaine Du Tariquet Premières Grives 2016Domaine Du Tariquet Premières Grives 2016

Domaine Du Tariquet Premières Grives 2016, a white wine from Côtes de Gascogne vinified with gros manseng.

Buy Domaine Du Tariquet Premières Grives 2016

 

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Casa Castillo Monastrell 2015

Casa Castillo Monastrell 2015  is a red wine from Jumilla produced by Propiedad Vitícola Casa Castillo.

Buy Casa Castillo Monastrell 2015

Rioja vs Ribera

TAGS:undefinedAt first sight, the issue might appear trivial, however, several customers recently asked me the following question: “What is the difference between the wines from the Rioja and those from the Ribera del Duero?”. What’s more, according to my experience, the next question tends to concern the price difference. This is why I thought an article would be the ideal opportunity to come back on the topic, especially considering that Christmas is at the door and we should be thinking about which wine to open during the holiday season.

The most famous Designations of Origin in Spain and those whose wines sell best are, beyond any doubt, the Rioja and the Ribera del Duero. Their red wines are famous not only in Spain but worldwide. Each receives a fervent support from their amateurs whose positions hardly seem compatible. But what are the differences between these regions’ red wines? In order to answer, I have to go through some of the “boring” differences … Before getting to the interesting part!

The creation

La Rioja has been a Designation of Origin (Denominación de Origen, DO) since 1925 and even received the “Denominación de Origen Calificada, DOC” in 1991, which implies an excellent quality. On the other hand, the Ribera del Duero is a relatively new DO as it was only recognized in 1982.

The geographical situation

The Rioja  DOC’s production area is located in Northern Spain on the banks of the Ebro river, mainly in the autonomous communities of the Rioja and the Basque Country. Moreover, the region is subdivided into three geographical designations: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja. All in all, the DO counts 63.593 hectares of vineyards producing between 280 and 300 million litres (90% of red, 5% of white and 5% of rosé).

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The production area of the Ribera del Duero DO stretches over the south-east of Castile and León, mostly in the provinces of Burgos, Segovia, Valladolid and Soria. There are 22.320 hectares of vineyards which produce about 130 million litres (98% of red and 2% of rosé).

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Regarding the geographical situation, it is not so much the formal delimitation between the various areas that matters but rather their soils or “terroir” as well as their respective climate. The soils and the climate determine the wine quality among other factors.

As to the Rioja DOC, generally speaking for the three production areas, the climate is continental, moderate, and almost Mediterranean in the Rioja Baja’s case. The mild temperatures allow for a slow and careful maturation of the grapes. The designation is characterized by a diversity of soils, though clay-calcareous, clay-ferrous and alluvial types of soil predominate.

Typical for the Ribera del Duero DO is the extreme continental climate along with scarce rainfalls. Winters are cold with icy winds whereas summers are hot and dry but with low nocturnal temperatures. As a result, the grape ripens faster and is more concentrated. Soils are rather diverse in this DO even if limestone prevails.

Varieties of grape

The main grape variety grown in both DOs is the Tempranillo but that is where their similarity ends. Indeed, in the Rioja, the allowed red varietals include the Tempranillo (the most common), the dark Grenache, the Carignan and the Graciano as well as three white varietals: the Malvasia, the Macabeu and the white Grenache.

In the Ribera del Duero, red varieties include the Tempranillo, also called locally Tinto  Fino or Tinta del País, the Cabernet, the Sauvignon, the Merlot and the Malbec. Additionally, they have a small amount of Grenache and, for whites, the Albillo.

Although the Tempranillo is the most commonly grown and used varietal in the elaboration of wines from both DOs, their wines remain truly different.

Aroma, power in the mouth, alcohol and alcohol level, colour and savour

In short, red wines from the Rioja can be described as sweet and hardly astringent. They do not leave a dry feeling in the mouth and are not harsh.

Ribera del Duero’s wines are more concentrated and intense both in their colour and their savour thanks to the extreme climate and the grape’s quicker maturation. They give a sensation of greater astringency, dryness and harshness in the mouth. They can be described as powerful.

For the same reasons as their power in the mouth, wines from the Ribera de Duero have a higher level of alcohol than those from the Rioja. Though, if the wines are well elaborated, one does not necessarily notice their higher alcohol content.

The Rioja wines’ aroma reminds us of red fruits and they leave a fresh aftertaste thanks to their acidity. The aroma of the Ribera del Duero wines calls ripe fruits to mind, appears smoother and rounder in the mouth and tends to end with a lactic hint, similar to a strawberry yoghurt.

Both DOs classify their wines according to their time of ageing in barrels or bottles (Crianza):

  • Joven / Roble (they do not age in wooden barrels neither do they mature in barrels for more than 12 months)
  • Crianza (minimum two years of ageing, one of which in a barrel)
  • Reserva (minimum three years of ageing, one in a barrel and the other in bottle)
  • Gran Reserva (minimum five years of ageing, two in a barrel and three in bottle)

The graph below shows the ageing potential of wines over time according to their “Crianza”. For both DOs, young wines should be drunk rapidly, whereas “Crianza” and “Reserva” wines can be savoured over a longer period.

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The boring, yet objective, part is finally over and we can now focus on the more interesting part.

The price difference

Why are Rioja wines generally cheaper than the Ribera del Duero’s? I answered this question to a large extent in my previous explanations: the production area and the number of litres produced in the Rioja is sensibly higher than in the Ribera. Indeed, we still have in mind the Rioja’s 63.593 hectares of vineyards in contrast to “only” 22.320 hectares in the Ribera. Moreover, the climate has a defining influence. Indeed, it is easier to produce wine in the Rioja than under the Ribera’s extreme conditions. The Ribera’s cellars face more frost problems which limit the yields of the vines. Less wine, higher prices!

To summarize, these DOs are different regions with different soils, climates and varietals. So, why do people keep arguing over the superiority of one designation over the other? To each his own tastes, no? Or should I prefer meat over fish?

This being said, some issues and disagreements are brought to light. Nowadays, several estates in the Rioja Alavesa wish to break away from their current DO to create a new one (“D.O. Viñedos de Álava”). Local Alavese winegrowers (about 42) promote the differences and the unique character of their wines. If we consider the French or Italian classification system, their demands would be quite sensible. In 2015, the famous ARTADI Bodega quit the Rioja DO. The winemaker justified his choice declaring, “Renowned wine regions such as Bordeaux (with 52 sub-designations) or Burgundy (96) offer their consumers wines which evoke specific areas. It is essential to provide the consumers with the opportunity to discover our land’s diversity, which grants quality wines their uniqueness and authenticity”.

While they are right to wish for a distinct recognition and to promote their wines’ particularities, I might have some reservations. Indeed, let us not forget that the reputation and the fame of the Rioja wines are the result of its winegrowers’ efforts and dedication, but also the considerable resources deployed by the DOs to support their products’ commercialisation and promotion. It is necessary to thank the DOs for their great work. Yet, it can hardly be otherwise: just like every child will eventually stand on its own feet and trace its own path, winegrowers will aspire to a greater autonomy and step outside the DOs’ framework.

In the Ribera del Duero’s case, the situation is quite different. Here, we talk about those excluded from the DO. Some of the most famous cellars of the Castile and León region such as Mauro, Abadía Retuerta, Bodegas Leda, … Do not belong to the Ribera del Duero DO but to the “Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León”. Is it a problem? Abadía Retuerta answers, “At Abadía Retuerta, we could say that our auto-regulation is much stricter than other designations. Though our application to the Ribera del Duero was refused, today, we can affirm that this event is one of the secrets of Abadía Retuerta’s success. We are currently in touch with the administration to create our own designation in compliance with the recently voted Wine Law”.

As for Mauro, they are among the best red wines from Spain and acknowledged as such by the greatest critics in the world.

Every day in France, there are more winemakers who decide to break away from the designation of origin and to commercialize their wines under the name of “Vin de France”. It might be time for designations to rebrand or reinvent themselves. A similar situation is happening in Catalonia with the Cava DO where several estates quit their DO but, unlike other regions, they created two classifications: Clàssic Penedès and Cava de Paraje.

But let’s get back to our DOs: Would it be more sensible or relevant to distinguish Modern vs Classical wines? Are the former better than the latter?

It would like asking whether one prefers our grandmother’s traditional recipes or sushi … Wouldn’t it be possible to enjoy both? These are two totally different types of vinification and we shouldn’t compare them.

The so-called modern wines are usually more full-bodied and fleshy, they also have a greater intensity as well as a greater power and a higher alcohol content. These wines undergo their ageing process in new barrels (my best friends …). At first, it might sound unsavoury, but nothing is further from the truth! These wines’ problem is that they are drunk too soon, too young. They must remain in their bottle for 10 years before consumption in order to let them balance themselves and achieve their ideal drinking point. They should not be consumed too soon.

On the contrary, classical wines, my personal favourite, are left for a long period of time in used barrels, that is, in barrels previously used to mature other wines. The wood’s influence on the wine quality decreases and the wine becomes smoother. Moreover, once bottled, the wines are stocked in cellars for some time before commercialisation. For example, Viña Tondonia, La Rioja Alta, Vega Sicilia are wines bearing a tile colour with an evolved nuance and a very agreeable mouth.

Actually, the Rioja vs Ribera distinction does not really make sense. There are safe bets in both DOs, indispensable great wines and small cellars to give them a novel distinction. When well elaborated, a good wine with its own character can be found in every cellar and suit every pocket.

This being said, the wine landscape in Spain has tremendously changed over a short period of time. Some smaller regions unveil an incredible and fantastical potential thanks to a new generation of winegrowers who travelled, studied and worked in Spain or abroad with great winemakers. This generation shows a clear will to develop their vineyards, autochthonous varietals and quality wines which deserved to be known, and of course, enjoyed.

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Campo Viejo Tempranillo, a red wine from Rioja that is based on Tempranillo grapes.

 

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Pruno 2014

Pruno 2014, a red wine from Ribera del Duero vinified with cabernet sauvignon and tinta fina.

Food markets in Madrid

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Madrid stands out by its gastronomy in the form of food markets, some of them of great tradition and some new. In fact, in the city there are many markets, and it is difficult to choose those who deserve to be highlighted.

San Anton market is one of them, located in the square that bears its name, Anton Martín, in Chueca. It had some renovations and is noted for the many activities taking place in it. Cultural projections join gastronomy and the purchase of various products such as wine of several Designations of Origin. In total, it hosts 26 different market stalls.

In the district of Salamanca, the Platea market will delight the lovers of the freshest food. This former cinema is today a gastronomic project that sets tongues wagging because in it we can find 20 different stalls to buy, renowned restaurants to make a stop and taste the best dishes from the most famous chefs. There are stars such as Roncero, Freixa or Solla that have a presence in its restaurants.

The organic market Huerto Lucas is an innovation. Located in Chueca, there is food, wine, cosmetics and much more, everything always 100% organic. And it has several workshops and activities. It is fashionable, along with growing taste for everything “green”, so it also houses tapas bars and restaurants.

The San Fernando market hosts multiple options. On the one hand there are many food stalls, such as those concerning celiac people, while there are also shows and even emblematic shops, including a famous book store selling by weight. The Barceló market, which has 7,150 square meters on four levels and has opened recently after continuous renovations. Food is the star, with traditional stalls but also modern and alternative specialized craft shops.

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El Rincón 2010: is a red wine with DO Madrid from the Pagos de Familia de Marqués de Griñón cellar based on the top of garnacha tinta and syrah from 2010 vintage and with an alcohol content of 14º.

 

 

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La Bruja Averia 2014: a red wine with Madrid DO made with garnacha of 2014 and has an alcohol content of 14º. L

You don’t need to travel to Spain to drink Sangria: see our best recipes

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One of the things that everyone love about Spain is paella and sangria. It may seem a cliché, but ends up being something real, since a large part of foreigners ask sangria for its quite different and strong taste.

It is a drink that is served throughout the year, but summer is the best time, since always is served chilly. The advantage is that it’s a wine cocktail, mixed with other ingredients, but there are different varieties and types of sangria: from the traditional, made with red wine, to the white wine and cava ones.

The good news is you do not need to travel to Spain to drink sangria. You can make your own to share with friends or at a party, with different recipes.

Red wine sangria

We can choose a quality and renowned red wine as Rioja, a bottle is enough, add some soda, ¼ cup sugar, orange juice and lemon, fruit cubes, orange and lemon slices, and some other liquor as Cointreau or brandy.

Cava sangria

It is a variety of sangria that can be found in Spain, but also in other countries. A bottle of cava will suffice, some brandy, 3 tablespoons sugar, fruit (may be lemons or oranges and their juice). You must also add ice, as in traditional red wine sangria. The colour will be different, though some people add a splash of red wine to add colour.

White wine sangria

It is less common, but increasingly popular, since its taste is slightly less powerful than the red wine one. Use a bottle of white wine, a quarter cup sugar, lemon juice, fruits to garnish and some herbs, such as mint or basil.

The fruits to garnish this type of sangria are also different: lemon, peaches and oranges, because the taste of fruits will be more evident. If we want, we can also add a splash of rum or vodka.

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Viña Tondonia Reserva 2002 is a is a red wine with DO Rioja from the Viña Tondonia.

 

 

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Abadía Retuerta Selección Especial 2009 is a a wine red with the VT Castilla y León DO based on the best of syrah and cabernet Sauvignon from 2009 and 14º of volume of alcohol. 

 

The Grenache grape: promising future

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Sommeliers, wine producers and connoisseurs from all over the world are praising the values of the Grenache grape, that offers fine wines and intense production.

This variety, though it has a strong historic presence in countries such as France, Spain and Australia, is also spreading elsewhere. Additionally, those that highlight Grenache as a grape of great future, do so thanks to its large capacity to thrive in hot conditions. Something that must be taken into account, because of the climate change, which is making many places even hotter and therefore, this grape has a promising future. 

These are some of the reasons for such a promising future:

  • Grenache in South Africa. The Grenache variety potential is big, since it is increasingly important also in places like South Africa, where plantations slowly increased from about 40 hectares in 2000 to 188 hectares in 2010.
  • Aromas and flavours. According to experts, the wine made from Grenache grape is a friendly wine, a wine with aroma. And it’s a good alternative to all the most important varieties today.
  • Resistant grape. In addition to withstand heat, Grenache grape is resistant to some wood diseases, which made it more precious.
  • Grenache-Pinot Noir. In addition, there are many similarities between the Grenache grape and Pinot Noir, as they can be enjoyed young. Grenache for sommeliers is synonymous with maturity.
  • In many wineries. In wineries in France, Grenache variety is growing. Its producers strive to offer fresh tasting wines, and the importance of oxygen in the harmonization of the mixture of young wine, and so acidity, structure and tannins.

The quality of grenache grapes is truly a world to discover, a world of good wines that you can not miss.

 

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Remelluri Reserva 2007 is a red wine with Rioja DO with tempranillo and graciano of 2007 and 13.5º of volume of alcohol.

 

 

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Viña Arana Reserva 2005 is a a red wine with Rioja DO from La Rioja Alta cellar based on garnacha and mazuelo of 2005 and 12.8º of alcohol. 

 

 

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Marques de Murrieta Reserva 2007 is a red wine from the Rioja DO made with garnacha tinta and graciano of 2007 and with 14º of alcohol content.

10 cheap (and quality) wines for a hard January

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January comes, and after the Christmas holidays, your pocket is empty. Do not worry, you can keep buying quality and great flavored wine at affordable prices. Here you have some references to the dreaded ?January hill?. Take good note!

Paco Garcia Crianza 2010. A pure red that you could savor during the year 2015, thanks to its varieties of grapes, Tempranillo and Grenache. It has a Robert Parker score of 90 and you got it for £7.99.

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Paco García Crianza 2010

 

 

Urbion Cuvée 2010. A Rioja is a safe bet. Moreover, it is cool and pleasant, with high scores from Uvinum users and 90 at Robert Parker. Its price is outstanding, £3.33.

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Urbion Cuvée 2010

 

 

Flores de Callejo 2012. Write down on your wine list for the ?January hill? this Ribera del Duero. With a Peñín score of 88. It costs £5.46.

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Flores de Callejo 2012

 

 

Tarima 2012. The Monastrell variety is the protagonist of this wine, DO Alicante, with intense flavor. A perfect red wine for £4.71.

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Tarima 2012

 

 

Nisia Verdejo 2012. Quality, color and excellent flavor. Jorge Ordóñez & Co. produces a white Verdejo from DO Rueda, which scores no less than 95 points in the Peñín Guide. You can already purchase it for £7.28.

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Nisia Verdejo 2012

 

 

 

Herencia Altés Garnatxa Negra 2012. From DO Terra Alta come high quality wines. One of them is the Herencia Altés Garnatxa Negra, which is sold for £5.62.

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Herencia Altés Garnatxa Negra 2012

 

 

Casa Castillo Monastrell 2010. Enjoy the flavors offered to the palate by the Monastrell grape variety. You can have this wine to consume it or give away for a round price of £4.85.

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Casa Castillo Monastrell 2010

 

 

 

Kukuxumusu ?Beso de vino? Selección 2011. From DO Cariñena comes this wine made from grenache and syrah. For £3.53 you have a great wine, with the original label of Kukuxumusu’s fun designs.

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Kukuxumusu “Beso de vino” Selección 2011

 

Gaba do Xil Mencía 2012. Try new wines during this 2015. We recommend the Gaba do Xil Mencía, from DO Valdeorras. It costs £6.48.

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Gaba do Xil Mencía 2012

 

 

Tarima Orgánico 2012. Who said that organic is expensive? This wine is made from organic Monastrell vines and it costs £4.24.

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Tarima Orgánico 2012

Penedes: Wine tours in Spain

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Penedès is a wine-producing areas of Europe, besides imposing historical territory of the autonomous community of Catalonia, it is subdivided into the regions of Alto Penedès , Garraf and the Bajo Penedès.

One of the most outstanding drinks of Penedes is the cava, s produced in greater quantity than in other Spanish regions. It has a designation of origin for the production of red and white wines too.

Like in any wine route, in Penedes you can taste delicious dishes of local gastronomy among which are the poultry, breed roosters, ducks, homemade sausages and pastries. Besides enjoying traditional music, tastings of wines produced in the area, workshops and guided walks .

In the Penedes you can enjoy beautiful landscapes filled with vineyards, castles and old neighborhoods that invite tourists to learn more about its history, talking about traditional wines production, but also about the new varieties introduced in recent years.

Penedes soils are high in phosphorus and low in potassium, irregular appearance from the sea to the mountain of Montserrat, this area is 800 meters above sea level and the climate is the typical Mediterranean climate.

The red wines of Penedes are usually aromatic, full-bodied and of intense colors, while whites are fruity and cellars give excellent reputation with excellent quality and flavor.

Numerous options are open once you are in Penedes, with castles routes, guided tours to natural  park, festivals, fairs, beautiful architecture, and much more that you can enjoy in groups of friends, families and couples .

In short Penedes is another jewel of Spain full of wines, vineyards attractions, history and warm hospitality you cannot miss to enjoy culture and unforgettable moments.

Today we recommend 2 of the best valued catalonian wines:

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Cresta Rosa, light bubbles to enjoy a fresh rosé

 

 

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Cordon Negro Brut, a good sparkling for a perfect prize

Wine and Tourism

SomontanoAfter reading a review by Manuel Colmenero Larriba of Lluis Tolosa’s new book España no es California, in which he discusses the issue of attracting tourists to Spanish wine regions, I thought of all the news I have been recieving recently about Napa– new restaurants with celebrity chefs, new state of the art wineries, luxe resort openings, and had mixed feelings on the topic. Spanish tourism is underdeveloped in most of its wine regions, even in Rioja this spring my parents had problems finding wineries with tours in English on the days they were there, and generally lacking information on where to go and what to do. Undoubtedly there are business opportunities being missed that would benefit the wineries, the regions, and the country’s reputation as well as the tourists themselves. However, after reading the descriptions of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto’s new Napa restaurant, which is called, so there is no confusion, Morimoto Napa, and will eventually sit alongside two other celebrity restaurants, one by Tyler Florence, and Stephen Barber, I couldn’t help but think- Vegas

Not that there is anything wrong per se with Las Vegas, but it called to mind the boom there a few years back with all the over the top restaurants where the celebrity chefs only flew in periodically and the housing bubble that accompanied it, and the pattern worries me. More so because so much of Napa Valley‘s charm is in the land and the already existing icons. There is no shortage of amazing food to be found, from The French Laundry to Terra to more low key favorites like Gott’s, and much of the charm is driving through the stunning scenery, albeit probably quite slowly due to the traffic, and knowing despite corporate buyouts of many wineries, a large amount are still held in family hands, and the Valley is still lovely because those families fight to keep it a place they want to live. 

Napa ValleyI love Napa, and I could be wrong to worry about the direction in which it’s headed, after all it has still retained its allure despite being a serious tourist attraction since the 1980’s. But as Spanish wine regions like Somontano decide which measures to take to build tourism, I think they should seriously consider their end goals, and make sure the road they choose is sustainable. It’s good to offer tourists a range of good dining and accomodation options, and ways to learn about the region and the wines, but ideally the end result should preserve and enhance the original treasure- the vineyards and wineries. It’s a tricky line to walk. 

Icewine comes to Spain

Penedes in Catalonia, SpainUnlike in the New World, where appellations are still being defined (for example segmentation crazy Napa Valley, who seems to be in constant turmoil, most recently over a new proposed Mayacama Mountain range AVA), the Old World wine producing countries usually look at their wine regulations as being set in stone. For the most part, you are allowed to only grow the same grapes that were approved for your great grandfather if you want your wine to bear the appellation label. This can make understanding what type of wine you will get from a particular region easier for the consumer, but it can also be a source of frustration for producers looking to experiment. 

https://www.uvinum.co.uk/blog/assets/uploads/sites/3/2010/07/804381-274685.jpgHowever, Spain, who is becoming one of the biggest exporters to the US and UK markets, is one of the more liberal in this regard, particularly in it’s lesser known regions. I would be surprised to see any changes in the regulations that guide Rioja wine anytime soon, but now Penedes, the region where Cava is produced, has now been approved for icewine. What’s more is producers are allowed to artificially freeze the grapes, which is not permitted anywhere else in Europe.  Icewine is normally created when the grapes freeze on the vine, and this is the only method available in Germany, Austria, and Canada, the best known locations for this type of dessert wine. 

Although the 3 countries mentioned above each have their own version of icewine’s history, Spain will definitely add a new chapter. The new DO (Domination of Origin) is called Vino Dulce de Hielo or Vi Dolç del Fred, and will apply from 2009. A general rule is not to drink your icewine with a food that is sweeter than the wine, and goat cheese is one example of a classic pairing, for example Garrotxa if you wanted to stay local to the Spanish version. Salud!