is the largest wine-producing country and consumes 60% of that
production, exporting only 10% to USA, according to the Torres
Winery, the "Mondavis" of Spain. Spaniards consider
wine a beverage; similar to Americans consuming Coke or Iced
Tea, it is always served with meals. Their favorite pastime is
stopping in a small neighborhood bar for a "tinto"
(red wine) with a pincho (skewered foods) or a bocadillo (small
sandwich)- these are always on the bars. "Albondigas"
are an evening favorite. Spaniards don't eat dinner until 10pm
so they are constantly nibbling while tapa hopping (click
for recipes). When you are ready to settle up at the bar
they count your toothpicks, as most bar food comes on one. The
cheeses are usually sheep's milk and tend to be dry and full
flavored, Mangego and Cabrales are the most known cheeses.
||Its not unusual for
Spanish wines to be aged in the bottle for years at the bodega
(or winery) before being released. Winemaking in La Rioja
(Spain's only DOC) follows strict regulations. These wines are
made mostly from Tempranillo grapes, with some Graciano and
Mazuelo. They are classified by the government as Sin Crianza
(no aging), Crianza (minimum of 6 months in oak, and may not be
sold until its third year), Reserva (12 months in oak and not
released until the fourth year after the harvest), and Gran
Reserva (minimum of 24 months in oak and doesn't leave the
bodega until the sixth year after the harvest). With this amount
of aging, Spanish wines are ready to drink when bought and they
usually are a very good value.
Spain's sparkling wines (like Champagne) are also excellent.
They are called Cavas after the DO (Denominacion de Origen) of
Cava, which is near Barcelona.
Food, wine and ambiance make Spain
unforgettable. People promenade and socialize in the streets and plazas
every day. Don't miss visiting Spain for its unique blend of ancient and
modern and its dazzling countryside and climate. In the mean time come to
our Spanish Wine Dinner so you can taste the sun and terroir in the wines