Spain is one of the most visited countries in Europe by British holiday makers. According to statistics, 17 million Brits visit Spain every year, and another million or so are permanent residents. Spain, of course, is blessed with great weather all year round, has a varied gastronomy and is also a wine producing country, classed as part of the old world wine region. It is divided into three main regions: north, central and south. In the northern part, we find Rias Baixas, Rueda, Ribera de Duero, Navarra and Rioja. In the central region we find Alicante, Valencia, La Mancha and Jumilla. Finally, in the southern regionÂ we find Jerez, where various types of sherry and fortified wines are produced.
Similarly to France, Spain has a system of Denominacion de Origen or DO, which is part of the regulatory classification system for wines, but does not always ensure quality.
The most common traditional grapes are Albarino, Bobal, Carinena, Garnacha, Mencia, Moscatel, Palomino, Parellada, Pedro Ximenez, Tempranillo and Verdejo.
On a recent trip to the Costa Blanca, I had the opportunity to sample a wide range of wines produced in the central region, mainly from Valencia.
These were amongst my favourites. If you are there then you might like to try them too.
Valpincia Verda Rueda 2007
This white wine is soft and clean on the palate; the nose offers a delightful bouquet of melon and green fruit; it is full of minerals with a pleasant finish.
Hoya de Cadenas, Reserva Tempranillo 2003
Made from Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes, this medium-bodied red wine is balanced and perfumed on the nose; the palate is slightly thin, with good presence of vanilla and dried red flavours and a spicy finish.
Best value wine. If you like wine sweet, then this one is a winner, though watch out for the alcohol content. The wine is floral on the nose, packed with orange, marmalade and dried apricot flavours. The finish is long and tender.
Despite the depth and breadth of Spanish wines and their abundance, UK wine drinkers seem not to pay much attention to these examples once they return home. The UK Spanish wine importers should take up this challenge. These three would start at around Â£6.00 a bottle.