How to Read a Spanish Wine Label in 3 Easy Steps

How to Read a Spanish Wine Label in 3 Easy Steps

How to Read a Spanish Wine Label in 3 Easy Steps.

Spain makes a lot of wine and has some absolutely mouth-watering selections to choose from that are worth exploring. Wines such as the Rioja Gran Reservas, summer rosés, and the cult favorites of Bierzo are not to be missed on your trip to Spain. The white wines of Spain have lately established themselves as rivals on the international scene.

Following a few basic differences and phrases, you’ll be able to read a Spanish wine label like an expert and pick the best bottle for your table with relative ease.

  1. Determine the kind of wine
    There are five primary varieties of Spanish wine available, each of which has a number of different varietals. The tastes in each bottle will become more apparent after you have a better understanding of these sorts of wines and the grapes that are used to make them.

Vino Tinto (also known as Red Wine) is a kind of wine made from grapes that are fermented in a barrel.
In particular, the Rioja area of Spain is renowned for producing high-quality red wines with exceptional character.

Red Grape Varieties That Are Popular

A wine with flavors of cherry, dried fig, cedar, tobacco, and dill, Tempranillo is the most well-known and widely-grown grape in the Rioja area. It matches well with red meat, ham, and vegetable dishes, and maybe enjoyed on its own or with food.

Garnacha: The Spanish variety—and most likely the indigenous ancestor—of the Grenache grape you are familiar with from France, this grape thrives in the hot, dry climate of Spain, and it is often mixed with Tempranillo.

Graciano: It has menthol aromas and is commonly mixed with Tempranillo to make Rioja wines, although it may also be used alone.
It is also known as Mouvédre or Mataro in certain circles. It is a native Spanish grape that has a deep, nuanced taste and a deep, rich color.
Mazuelo: An acidic grape variety that has been grown in Spain for generations and is now used as a blending grape on occasion.
Garnacha Tintorera: A cross-bred grape with a pink flesh that makes thick, highly colored wines; it is also known as the “pink grape.”

Bobal: From the south-eastern region of Spain, this herb imparts a smooth, fruity, velvety taste to blends.
A cult following exists among Spanish wine enthusiasts for Menca, a medium-bodied grape that is particularly popular in the Bierzo area and makes wines with flowery and red fruit characteristics.
Vino Blanco’ means White Wine in Spanish.
In the past, white wines from Spain were not particularly well-known, but this is changing in the twenty-first century. The Spanish whites contain some extremely high-quality wines with intriguing tastes and aromas, as well as those that are more affordable.

White Grape Varieties That Are Popular

Albario: Albario is by far the most extensively planted and best-loved white grape variety in Spain, and notably in Galicia. It is a very acidic grape variety that produces a crisp dry wine with traces of citrus and salt.
It has recently had a resurgence in popularity because to its ability to produce neutral wines with flowery smells and a smokey character.

GRANADA BLANCA: Also known as Grenache Blanc in the Rhône area of France, this grape variety yields golden wines that are full-bodied and smooth in texture.
Verdejo: Similar to Sauvignon Blanc, this variety has seen a recent spike in popularity.
Airén: An historic and extremely popular Iberian type that is mostly utilized in the production of brandy, sherry, and port.
Vino Rosado (Rosé Wine) is a kind of wine produced from the grape Rosado.
Spain is well-known for its extensive selection of high-quality rosado wines. These light, dry wines, in all of their hues, types, and tastes, are a pleasant alternative for the hot summer months. They are often made from a combination of Garnacha, Monastrell, and Tempranillo grapes.

Vino Espumoso (Sparkling Wine) is a kind of sparkling wine.
Traditionally created from the grapes Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo, cava is the most well-known sparkling wine in Spain. It is prepared using the same procedure as champagne, but with a different blend of grapes. White Cava and rosé Cava are also available in different types.

The name “Cava” is used to a variety of sparkling wines in Spain that do not match the requirements to be termed “Cava.” These wines are designated as “vino espumoso,” which means “famous wine.” They have a distinct taste and scent, yet they are of the same great quality as before.

Vino Dulce (Sweet Wine) is a kind of wine that is sweet.
These sweet wines, which are also known as Vino para Postres (Dessert Wine), are available in both red and white kinds. They go nicely with sweet tastes, as well as various cheeses and hams, to name a few examples.

  1. Acquire a working knowledge of the Spanish Wine Classification System.
    It is likely that most of what you see on Spanish wine labels is already known to you. For example, you’ll be able to identify the vintage, the name of the producer, and the region. Similar to French wines, you’ll see the area clearly displayed, and you may also see the grape varietal named, but this is not always the case with California wines.

Understanding a few specialist phrases specific to Spanish wines—particularly those connected to classifications and aging—will help you bring wine labels to life for yourself and pick the ideal wine for your dinner party or gathering.

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Spanish Wine Classifications (en Espanol)
The Spanish system is quite similar to the appellations used in France and Italy, and it is easy to understand. It has two quality designations that are controlled as well as two words that are not regulated.

Calicada is the name given to the origin of the plant (DOC)

Only the most highly regarded wines in Spain are given the DOC designation. Until far, only the Spanish areas of Rioja and Priorat have received this honor.

Affiliation with a place of origin (DO)

The DO appellation, which is legally protected, may be found on high-quality wines from more than 60 different areas.

Vino de la Tierra translates as “Land’s Wine.”

Historically, these “country wines” were thought to be inferior than wines branded with the DO designation. Many VdlT wines, on the other hand, have been outperforming expectations in recent years. Because they do not have to comply with costly government procedures in order to qualify for a higher classification, there are some excellent prices among these wines to be found.

Vino de Mesa (Table Wine) is a Spanish term that means “table wine.”

Wines classified as table wines are the lowest rung of Spanish wine and are often not labeled with a location, grape varietal, or year of production.

  1. Become familiar with the terms used in Spanish wine aging.
    In addition to the wine type and certification, you may find a variety of phrases relating to how long the wine has been matured on the label of each Spanish wine. These terms are listed below. These phrases will help you to narrow down the tastes you’re searching for in a bottle of Spanish wine even more than you already have.

Crianza: This wine has been aged for one year in wood barrels. It has a fresh, fruity taste and is reasonably priced; it goes well with tapas. A solid daily wine that pairs well with most foods.
Reserva: Aged for two years, one in wood and the other in a barrel. Reservas are still reasonably priced wines, but they have a somewhat more complex taste, with powerful cherry flavors to distinguish them. It goes particularly well with ham, but it’s also fantastic with grilled foods, fish, cattle, and lamb as well as other meats.

Gran Reserva: Aged for at least two years in oak barrels and at least three years in the bottle. Exceptional vintage years are selected for the production of this wine, which has an incredible depth of flavor and body at a very reasonable price point.
Joven: This name literally translates as “young,” and it refers to wines that are consumed immediately after production, rather than being aged.

Viejo: The Spanish word for “old” may only be used to describe wines that have been matured for three years or more, according to the law.
Roble: This term, which translates as “oak,” indicates that the wine has been aged in oak barrels, although for a short period of time.

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