Just when you thought once we’d got through the French wine labels it was safe, here come the Spanish to give us another headache. Actually, in fairness, it’s pretty easy once you know what they are, so I’ll have a go below.
It’s all to do with ageing before release. Some time in small oak barrels for the tannins (the gum gripping stuff you notice more in young wines) to calm down a bit, and maybe even get a bit of extra flavour if you’re using new oak barrels. And then some time laying down in the bottle for the flavours to have time to integrate a bit more.
The terms stuck on the label are protected by Spanish law, and mean the following:
Don’t need any ageing, usually released the year after harvest.
– Reds need minimum 24 months ageing, with at least 6 months (12 months in Rioja) in oak barrels
– Whites/rosés need minimum 18 months ageing
– Reds need minimum 36 months ageing, with at least 12 months in oak barrels
– Whites/rosés need minimum 18 months ageing, with at least 6 months in oak barrels
– Reds need minimum 60 months ageing, with at least 18 months (24 months in Rioja) in oak barrels
– Whites/rosés need minimum 48 months ageing, with at least 6 months (12 months in Rioja) in oak barrels
I know it’s a bit dull this bit, but it’s important to at least know what the label means before you part with your hard earned cash on one of the bottles, especially given more time ageing means it’ll cost more to produce, and cost more to buy.
Other Posts in NWTW Week 40:
#NWTW Week 40: Rioja (Part One)
#NWTW Week 40: Rioja (Part Two)
P.S. If anyone knows the answer to this next one, I’d love you to pop a comment below. From what I can work out there’s no rule as to whether the oak barrels need to be old or new. Love to know if I’m wrong there.