Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Wines of Spain and Valencia
The Wines from Spain Web site, a department of the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade, is a great starting point to get acquainted with the regions and sixty-seven “Denominations of Origin” which distinguish regional wines. You can search for many Spanish wines at this site, but it is not a site for ecological wines and doesn’t include some of the ones I know of in their database. However, it is useful for basic information and worth exploring. The map at left is from their site and I highly recommend viewing the map in its full size glory. You will find the map under “Search and Find” > “Quality wines” > click on the PDF “Quality Wines (V.C.P.R.D) map” to download.
While I am on maps and basic information, another excellent map source can be found at De Long’s Wine Info web site where they sell wine maps – one of the Iberian Peninsula, and one of California with Italy and France in the works. The Iberian Peninsula Wine Map is detailed and includes some information into France and Morocco. It sells for $29.95 plus shipping.
Since I am currently in Valencia, I will start with wines from this region. John Maher has developed an informative blog dedicated to the wines of the Valencian region as he found they were largely overlooked even here in Spain. John’s blog can be found at http://winesofvalencia.com, and he published a detailed book on the subject called, Valencia: Land of Wine, by Joan Martin, a compendium of articles originally published in the El Pais newspaper, and translated into English for this volume.
Vino Valencia is another excellent resource. They hold monthly wine “events”, which they prefer to simply tastings as they feel that the social element is as crucial to the enjoyment of wine as taste. At their web site you can see dates for their “events” as well as a wonderful list of wines and wine stores in the area. While they cover all wines, they definitely have a soft spot for organic varieties. At the last event, two of the three featured wines were organic.
As John Maher explains on his site, “Pago” is the term used for a winery that makes wine solely from its own vineyards in the immediate vicinity of the main house, like a French château. A number of the local organic vineyards are just this and I will share information about three of them in upcoming posts.