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Spanish Wine has a rich history of ancient traditions and grape varietals. Many still remain unfamiliar to the international wine market, despite the nearly 52 million hl of wine they produce annually. While the Romans spread the vine aggressively, it was actually the earlier Phoenicians who first planted vines in Spain, which resulted in the extraordinary variety. While Spain's position as the largest producer of wine by volume was once due to bulk industrial production, its reputation for fine wine is continuing to grow in Ribera del Duero, Cadiz, and Rioja. In Catalonia, the sparkling wine Cava now rivals Champagne and Italy for the production volume of sparkline wine. Rioja, Priorat, and Ribera del Duero have had extraordinary success with Temperanillo and Garnacha, the two of the most widely planted varietals. Well-aged Spanish wine can be easier to find because winemakers prefer to not release their best wine until it is appropriately aged (one wishes other regions would take up the practice!). Verdejo and Albariño are popular white grapes grown in the Northwestern provinces. In addition to wine, the southern region of Cadiz is known for Sherry, a fortified wine made from either the Palamino or Pedro Ximénez grapes, aged in oak with a light yeast flor covering the surface. Light fino sherries are used as apertifs or in cooking, while older Sherry exhibits a darker color and attractive oxidative notes. Sherry is non-vintage, and component parts can go back several decades. Spain uses a classification system modeled on the French, with VdlT, DO, DOCa being used to designate wines of particular regions and methods. Attractive values merged with high quality make Spanish wine an exciting field to explore.

Spanish Wine

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