What we call Denominacion de Origen in Spain is the equivalent of the Appellation d´´Origine Contrôlée in France. Thus a Spanish wine region that is granted a Denominacion de Origen has a Controling Body that makes sure that all the parameters relating to having an established name, repute, qualitative characteristics determined by inheritent factors such as climate,type of soil,vine varieties and methods of production, are strictly delimited.
Spanish table wines are now produced in most regions of Spain (including Asturias) ,North to South with very distintive climate conditions. Traditionaly grapes from the Southern and Mediterranean regions of Spain such as Andalucia or Alicante/Valencia have a very high sugar content due to the hotter weather conditions. These grapes grown on very chalky soils are better suited to producing sweet fortified wines or Sherries. However, with new production methods there are now very good table wines originating from those regions too. Most, if not all , the DO´s that Daniel has suggested come from the regions with cooler winter climate and fairly warm summers. These are mostly North of Madrid in the belt lying between latitudes 30º and 50º which ,as in other parts of the world ,produce the best table wines.
Labeling of wines with a DO must have the following information
Country of origin
Name and address of the producer
Nominal volume. (generally 75 cl)
Permited in formation
Red, White, Red
Smaller regional area
Name and address of distributor/Importer
Actual or total alcoholic strength
Directions for serving (i.e ideal serving temperature)
Awards and medals
Name of the vineyard
Quality control number
Limited edition number
Each region with a DO also has its on individual stamp printed on the label.
Spanish wines , depending on their method and ageing are mostly described as:
Cosechero. This is a young wine without ageing which should be drank while still young.
Crianza. Indicates that the wine has been aged in Oak in accordance with the regulation rules .
Reserva. Wines of good quality, aged, in the case of Tinto , for at least three years between cask and bottle with a minimum of one year in cask. White and Rose reservas must be aged for at least two years between oak cask and bottle with a minimum of six month in oak.
Gran Reserva : Wines of good quality, aged, in the case of Tinto for at least two years in oak cask, followed by a minimum of three years in the bottle. White and Rose Gran reservas must be aged for a minimum of four years with at least six months in oak.
Obviously the quality of the vintage for each individual year is also extremelly important for the final quality of the wine.
As you know are sparkling wines made by the Champanoise method. Those described as Brut or Brut Nature are the extra dry ones such as the Italian Prosecos
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