21 Apr, 2024 @ 12:00
1 min read

Spanish wines have seen a ‘significant’ increase in quality over the last 20 years, insists UK wine expert Jancis Robinson

SPAIN is going through a ‘wine revolution’ believes leading UK wine guru Jancis Robinson.

Just as the country has seen a massive shift in its restaurant scene, the wine sector is also booming.

“A significant development is the Spanish wine revolution and there is a revolution in vineyards all over the country,” believes Robinson.

“There are so many exciting new-wave producers…And the best thing is most of the wines are reasonably priced and so wide-ranging.”

Jancis Robinson believes Spain’s wine scene is on the cusp of a revolutionary change. Photo: BBC

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Evidence of this, she insists, was clear from the 500 wines on offer at a recent London event for Spanish wine.

Called Vinateros, there were wines from over 80 grape varieties produced by 92 winemakers from all around the country.

The seasoned wine writer was particularly impressed with the ‘great whites’ and also noted that only 13 producers came from Rioja and Ribera del Duero combined

The rest were from a range of frequently ‘obscure’ denominations (DOs) including Cebreros, Valle de la Orotava, Arribes, Ribeira Sacra and Mentrida.

“You can see how difficult it is for us to map the wine regions of Spain satisfactorily now as they are scattered all over the country and as far as the Canaries,” she wrote in her column in the Financial Times.

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“For a time I used to rail against Spain’s dependence on just one grape variety, Tempranillo, the dominant grape of Ribera and Rioja. But at the event this year there were over 80!”

She particularly raved about one wine, Guix Vermell, from Montsant as well as the Albarinos from Galicia.

“These albarinos are far more interesting today than they were when they became fashionable 10 or 20 years ago.

“White Rioja is also now taken seriously and there is a host of deep-flavoured whites based on grapes such as Albilllo, Verdejo and Xarel-lo.”

The vinateros (who are ‘wine growers’ as opposed to ‘winemakers’) believe that great wine is ‘made in the vineyard’ and the location is more important than the winemaking technique.

The event was attended by over 20 UK importers as well as the Spanish ambassador.

There will be an American version of the event in the US next year.

The organizer of the event, Ben Henshaw, of Indigo Wines, said: “There has been a significant increase in quality over the past two decades.”

He added the event ‘celebrated’ artisan growers who work with ‘minimal intervention in the vineyard to make authentic wines reflective of their regions and cultures’.

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Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

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