Rioja via @ malias
Ancient Greeks used to say “wine gladdens the heart” and we certainly agree with that; wine is always a loyal friend to every joy or a cheerful boost for a blue mood. Nowadays, wine tasting has become a science and a high-profile profession. So, if you are a professional sommelier or an amateur enthusiast, find out more in our best in wine blog series.
This week we are talking mouthwatering Spanish wines. Head for the sunshine and indulge in full bodied reds, sparkling bubbly or traditional favourites. Follow the rutas de vino or wine routes for top class wines really worth considering.
This is Spain’s most famous and arguably best red wine, made in the La Rioja region in the north-east part of the country. An intriguing process goes into each bottle, with different blends of grapes mixed together, depending on the winemaker. There are some vineyards where preparation is, a little, shall we say on the rough side, and others that prefer a more refined approach, so make sure you taste plenty of varieties to find your favourite. The city of Logrono (a stopping point on the Camino) is filled with great Rioja bars like Bar Lorenzo, Mercado de San Blas and La Tasca del Pato.
Spain produces some of the best sherries in the world, this is a well known fact, it’s also called the ‘wine with 100 souls’ a pretty serious endorsement if you ask us. This fortified wine can be either very dry or quite sweet and is usually served lightly chilled as either an aperitif or after-dinner drink. There are a number of types of sherry produced in the country, including manzanilla, fino, montillad, oloroso and cream. The Andalusia region is known as a top tip for sherry fans.
Once the poor little brother of Champagne, the Spanish sparkling wine is now enjoying something of a renaissance. A cheaper alternative to the French bubbly, Cava is on a roll. Close to Barcelona you will find a centre of production, with a mix of hot, sun-drenched summers with cooling breezes from the sea. There are any number of fantastic bars in Barcelona but we particularly like Nou Candanchu or La Terrassa Bar.
Sangria is not strictly in the same category as the others, but it is a delicious wine-based drink. Popular in Spain, especially during the hot summer months, it is usually made by adding fruits, sweetener, brandy or other spirit to Rioja red wine. There are any number of bars throughout the whole of Spain serving refreshing, ice cold glasses. Think Pimms but with less cucumber!