Why Spanish wine?Most Spanish wineries age their wine in bottles and oaks barrels for their customers. In other words, you will have a chance of tasting cellared wines which have aged to the point of tasting their best without having to invest in a storage space in your home. This is a major reason why Spanish wine is special considered with many other types. Whenever you look at a Spanish wine bottle and identify some words such as Joven, Reserva, Gran Reserva or Crianza, they will be telling you about the age of the wine. Gran Reservas are usually cellared for the longest period and bottles with Joven on their label lasted at the winery for the shortest time. And because Spain is a European country, Spanish wine labeling system is more like that of Italy and France. The Denominación de Origen (DO) which is an equivalent of an Appellation d’Origine Controlee (AOC) in France is the category you should expect to see in your local shop. Each DO including Ribera Duero and Rias Baixas has unique wine rules such as the grapes planted. If for one reason or the other you cannot find the DO on the wine’s bottle, the bottle should feature DO’s logo on its sticker at the back or on capsule over its cork. The highest wine quality pyramid in Spain is Denominacion De Origen Clasificada which has different abbreviations due to regional dialects. The abbreviations include DOCa, DOQ or DOC. The DOCs available are only two: Priorat and Rioja. Moreover, Spain has a more unique category known as DO Pago – which is for the single estates. When looking at Spanish wine bottles, you will often see primary grape front and the center on the bottle’s label. Otherwise, you will see it on the back. But one thing you will realize when buying Spanish wine is that due to the regional language differences at times areas or grapes may look a little different. For instance Garnacha in Catalonia will appear as Garnatxa.
Which is the best Spanish wine under €20?Spain follows laws on proper labeling of wines. This means that contrary to what you expect with several New World regions, the wine in the country must meet some strict requirements to get some terms like Gran Reserva or Reserva – they represent quality. Garnacha and Tempranillo varieties dominate red wines in the country but you can still find great quality in the other varieties particularly the whites. Some quality wines you will get for less than €20 include Recaredo Brut Nature, Siglo Saco Crianza, Cune Crianza.