Grapeful thanks to our ‘cooking’ wine

ANYONE who lives in Spain, or visits the country regularly, will have no doubt about why it is virtually impossible to find imported wines.

Yet with just about every grape variety on earth, prices ranging from 99 cents to several hundreds of euros, and wine regions in almost every Spanish province, you’ll find the perfect home-made tipple, however much you can afford.

But why does Spanish wine have such a poor reputation beyond its own borders, especially compared with those of France, Italy, the US, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa?

The answer is purely marketing. If you’re in the UK, you might occasionally see “Spanish wine”, unbranded, on the shelves. If asked to name one, you’d probably hesitate and then say “Rioja”.

If you’re in France, “Spanish wine” is also undefined when it’s on sale. It’s cheap, and sold purely for cooking!

And in both countries, it is usually synonymous with budget plonk that needs mixing with lemonade.

Yet Spanish wine is screaming out to be recognised, valued and understood. It needs to clear its name and rise on to the pedestal of the world’s top brands.

And though seven types have reached the world’s top 100 list, only one is in the top 25, according to global booze bible Wine Spectator, in its 2018 edition.

Three-quarters of the top 100 are from Italy, including the winning red, the Bolgheri-Sassicaia 2015, which retails at 216 euros a bottle, or from France or the US.

The top 10 includes Chiantis, Burgundys, Dom Pérignon Champagne, Aubert Chardonnay, Dopp Creek Pinot Noir, Sonoma Valley Bedrock Heritage, Le Vieux Donjon, and all from these three countries.

In a rare coup, however, Spain has crept in at No.4 with its 890 Rioja Gran Reserva 2005, now, officially, the country’s best wine. Next on the list is at No.26, with the lowest-placed sitting at No.59.

But if Spanish wines were better known, they would surely give their European neighbours a run for their money.

Luckily, the top seven Spanish wines of 2018, according to Wine Spectator, are highly affordable. True, a little more than the pleasant, quality brands in supermarkets, which range from 1.50 to eight euros a bottle on average.

But for globally-endorsed varieties, they are excellent value for money.


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Posted by on Dec 14 2018. Filed under Food. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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