Spain located on the Iberian Peninsula, has over 2.9 million acres planted—making it the most widely planted wine producing nation but it is the third largest producer of wine in the world, the largest being France followed by Italy. This is due, in part, to the very low yields and wide spacing of the old vines planted on the dry, infertile soil found in many Spanish wine regions. The country has an abundance of native grape varieties, with over 400 varieties planted throughout Spain though 80 percent of the country's wine production is from only 20 grapes—including the reds Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Monastrell; the whites Albariño from Galicia, Palomino, Airen, and Macabeo; and the three cava grapes Parellada, Xarel·lo, and Macabeo. Major Spanish wine regions include the Rioja and Ribera del Duero which are known for their Tempranillo production; Valdepeñas, drunk by Unamuno and Hemingway, known for high quality tempranillo at low prices; Jerez, the home of the fortified wine Sherry; Rías Baixas in the northwest region of Galicia that is known for its white wines made from Albariño and Catalonia which includes the Cava and still wine producing regions of the Penedès as well the Priorat region. Spanish wine laws created the Denominación de Origen (DO) system in 1932 and were later revised in 1970. The system shares many similarities with the hierarchical Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) system of France, Portugal's Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC) and Italy's Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) system.
- Item #: i_380837Bottle Size: 500mlUngrafted Malvasia Volcanica (yet another Malvasia!) from the world’s strangest vineyards on the black, barren, and lunar-looking surface of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Rich toffee and sultana notes meet bitter orange and terrific acidity to remind the drinker of great Madeira. Very long and ultra-faceted.
- Item #: i_380726Bottle Size: 750MLThe Canary Islands There is a Spanish region so far off the beaten path that it's a stretch to think of it as Spain at all – but even if it lies off the coast of west Africa, the Canary Island archipelago is part of the Spanish Republic. A trickle of these unusual wines is entering the market here and worth seeking out, no matter what the season. The Canary Islands' dramatic volcanic formations support flora and fauna that might rival the Galapagos in wonder and stark weirdness. And its viticulture, like the vineyards on the island Lanzarote, is some of the most visually stunning on Earth. Planted in deep black sand, the vines are protected from the wind by stone walls built between vine rows; in some cases, vignerons build a semicircular cairn for each vine, where natural forces create a virtual crater for each wind-bitten vine, a vinous moonscape unlike any other vine region in the world.And the wines? In such a warm climate, the whites, made from the heat-resistant Malvasia and the indigenous Diego, are deeply colored, mineral and exotic. Perhaps it's a stretch to think of these as spring wines, but they're simply too interesting not to mention.The Malvasia Seco from La Bermejos on the island of Lanzarote gives off a lovely citrus oil scent to complement rich fig and pear skin flavors.