Notes on Northern Spain #5: What Have I Missed?

So on the back of a what was a top weekend away with the mates for my stag, I’ve hopefully thrown out a few thoughts for the next visit to the wine shop. Northern Spain is a fantastic wine producer. What have we spoken about? Well there’s:

 – The famous hills of Rioja

 – The rosés of Navarre

– The big reds of the Duero

 – And the crisp whites of the Rias Baixas

It’s just my point of view, but if you’re going to try Spanish wine for the first few times, I think checking those examples out will give you a great start. But that’s not the end of it by a long shot.

I missed one of the most famous exports of Spain; Cava. This is made over in the North East on the way over to Catalunya. It’s made from a mix of local and not so local grapes, but the big distinction here is that it’s made in the same way, with the same techniques as Champagne. So I decided to leave talking about it until I do a post on those methods. But I think the things you need to know about Cava is that it’s usually a much cheaper, yet still premium alternative to Champagne. But mind your eye, drinking too much will seriously dry your mouth out, and you get that morning feeling of wearing a sock on your tongue.

If you can't be bothered spending £50 on a bottle of  Champagne, £20 for a really good Cava makes more sense!
If you can’t be bothered spending £50 on a bottle of Champagne, £20 for a really good Cava makes more sense!

I also missed out the soon-to-be Catalonia super power that is Priorat. This is a really hilly area, and so wine production is really expensive, cos you’ve got to tend and harvest the grapes all by hand. For that reason most vineyards were left alone in the 1980s, with producers unable to make any money out of what they were producing. Better techniques and a new breed of wine growers have led to another great area for deep coloured reds, mostly made from Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s hot round here, but with the slopes it makes it a great place to grow wine. Definitely one to watch out for.

The slopes of Priorat, not the easiest harvest to be fair
The slopes of Priorat, not the easiest harvest to be fair

I suppose other than that, all I want to highlight before we knock this one on the head is the food culture. If you’re a bit of a foodie, Spain feels like a small piece of heaven sent down just for you to enjoy. And a lot like Italy, most of the wines here were traditionally made to pair with the local food. Foodies will love Spanish food, and that means they’ll love Spanish wine.

So it’s adios to Spain for a little bit as I move on to a couple of other topics. But don’t let that stop you from trying them out.


2 thoughts on “Notes on Northern Spain #5: What Have I Missed?

  1. It reminds me of being at the beach with friends and making paella with fresh fish, shrimp and chorizo, while sipping on great cabs. It’s nice to have this thought as I succumb to the realization that it is snowing outside while I am at work.

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