Spanish cookery... and cookery books

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Spanish Wine in the UK has come a long way from the 60's when local off licences would often stock little more than two dubious copies of French dessert wines, sold to accompany British Sunday lunches. If you keep your eyes open you should now be able to find most types on sale here, although some of the most interesting, like Txakoli, are very hard to find.The reds seem to be most popular than the whites in UK, although the reliable Torres standby "Viña Sol" is common enough.
There are many grape varieties grown in Spain with no close equivelants outside the hispanidad, such as  hondarrabi zuri, lado, godello and treixadura. 

Vino de Mesa - blended table wine
Vino de Tierra - wine of the land from a single geographical area
VCIG - quality wines with a geographical description
DO - the major quality wine denominations
DOCa - "Denomination de Origin Calificada", a higher level from DO.

Noble - aged one year
Añejo - aged two years
Viejo - aged three years

Crianza - at least six months in oak casks. Two years in total.
Reserva - at least one year in oak of three years in total.
Gran Reserva - superior vintage, plus eighteen months in cask of a total of five years.
Jerez (fortified) described on the Andalucia page.
Montilla - Moriles
Condado de Huelva

Txakoli (Chacoli) Rather acid light wines wrung from the Basque mountainsides, poured from on high to get some air into the wine.

Castille-Leon y La Mancha
Wines of the meseta.
La Mancha
Ribera del Arlanza


Rioja. Rioja is the king of Spanish wine, divided into three areas, Alavesa, Alta  and Baja. (Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Mazuelo and Viura (white) ). Marqués de Murrieta is a long established bodega. 
Campo de Borja

Ribera del Duero. Pesquera and Vega Sicilia are two of the great wines of the Duero valley.Grapes:- Tempranillo, Tinto fino,Tinta del pais. Also some bodegas add small quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Malbec.


Priorato (powerful red)
Bottles of Priorato bear the legend "Scala die" or stairway to heaven because the wine growing here was begun by monks attracted here by a vision of angels ascending a stairway to heaven. The low yield grapes on steep slopes produce a concentrated and powerful wine of 13.5-18.0%.
Cava (sparkling) "méthode champenoise" wines made from a mix of Xarel-lo,macabeo and parellada grapes. Cordorníu and Freixenet are the main producers.
Ampurdan-Costa Brava
Terra Alta
Conca de Barbera
Costers del Segre
Penedés. Torres are a major player here. Viña Sol is the big seller, made from Parellada, Gran Viña Sol has Chardonnay added. Viña Esmerelda is made from Muscat and Gewurztraminer, fragrant enough to dab behind the ears! Milmanda is the flagship of the whites, oaked and full flavoured. 
Binnissalem (Balearics)

Rias Baixas - Albariño. In the wet north the grape vines have to be trained onto pergolas to avoid fungal problems. Perhaps it is my imagination but I feel I can taste the soft northern rains in them! Other grapes of the region are:-Treixadura, Loureiro, Caiño.
Ribeiro In ealier times a fortified version of this wine was imported into England, but political differences forced a change to port.Mentioned in the Canturbury Tales.Grapes:- Treixadura, Torrontés, Godello, Palamino, Lado.Albariño, Loureiro. for the reds, Mencía.
Ribeira Sacra  Vines planted on steep slopes of the Rio Sil gorge. "Sacra" after the many monasteries along the gorge.Main black grape, Mencía.
Monerrei (Orense) fruity whites and big reds.
Valdeorras Main grape, Godello.
Galicia is generally removing internationally popular varieties in favour of its indiginous varieties

Utiel -Requena

"Must tries"

Unusual grape varieties
red grapes white grapes
Grapes such as Tempranillo are well known as the basis of much Rioja wine. But many unusual grape varieties are being revitalised alongside imported vines of classic varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon to produce wines of desitinctive character. Garnacha and Cariñena go into Priorato. Monastrell into Jumilla and Tinto de Toro into DO Toro.

A meal in spain often ends with a brandy (cognac) and a coffee. Generally Spanish brandy is sweeter than French. 
The main two brandy producing areas are the sherry areas of Andalucia and the cava producing area of Catalonia (Torres). Osbourne is a typical Andalucian producer, "Veterano", or slightly up market, "Magno" are popular and typical choices. 
If you are looking for a premium choice try "Cardenal Mendoza" or "Lepanto".

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Spanish food - Andalucia - Asturias - Basque Country - Canary Islands  - Castile - Catalonia & Balearics - Extremadura - Galicia - Navarre & Aragon - Valencia - Tapas | - Cheese |Glossary | Books
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Wine trivia - Sange de Toro bottles