Spain, Clare Valley

Spain is definitely one of the new-world players to keep an eye on. It is the land of old-vines, american oak and sherry! The main varieties grown in Spain are Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache) in the reds, and Airén, Viura/Macabeo, Verdejo and Albarino for the whites. Lesser grown whites include Palomino. Other reds successfully cultivated include Carignan, Mourvedre and Mencia.

Although Spain can be quite a warm country, the vast majority of vineyards are 600m or so above sea level, so the cooler nights allow the grapes to develop full colour and acidity.

Rioja is undoubtedly the long-standing king of all the Spanish wine regions, where Tempranillo and Garnacha are commonly blended. However more recently many more regions have come to the forefront of interest. Ribera Del Duero is producing excellent Tempranillo blends rivalling those coming out of Rioja. Jerez in the South is the home of the fortified wine Sherry.

Spanish wine laws created the Denominación de Origen (DO) system in 1932 and were later revised in 1970. These include:
  • - Denominación de Origen Calificada (formerly called DOCa) Priorat calls itself DOQ for Denominació d'Origen Qualificada in Catalan and has a track record of consistent quality and is meant to be a step above DO level.
  • - Denominación de Origen (DO)- Used for mainstream-quality wine regions. Nearly two thirds of the total vineyard area in Spain is within the boundaries of a DO region.
  • - Vino de Calidad Producido en Región Determinada (VCPRD) - This is somewhat of a stepping stone to DO status.
  • - Vinos de la Tierra (VdIT) - A level similar to France's vin de pays system, where the regions are much larger.
  • - Vino de Mesa (VdM)- The equivalent of 'table wines' from France or Italy

Located 120km north of Adelaide, Clare Valley is one of the oldest wine regions in Australia. The region is set on softly undulating hills covering a length of some 35km and ranges from 5 to 10km in width. In fact, Clare Valley is also one of mainland Australia's coolest wine growing regions.

The five subregions of Clare Valley are - Sevenhill, Clare, Watervale, Polish Hill and Auburn, each influenced by the interweaving creeks and valleys and each with its unique soil types, climate and altitude. Throughout the region, the moderately continental climate, with its cool to cold nights and warm to hot summer days are ideal for producing its most important white, Riesling.

Whilst Riesling is no doubt the king white grape for the region, very elegant Shiraz with soft palates and Cabernet Sauvignons are produced there too. Lesser amounts of Sémillon are grown, though Grenache and blends like Shiraz/Cabernet or Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec can also be deliciously smooth and textural.

Grosset produces arguably Australia's finest Rieslings from his Clare Valley Winery. Atlas and Leo Buring too create nice Rieslings.
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  1. Bin Ends Box- Clear out the Cellar BOX 4 Whites

    We need to clear some space in the warehouse! As the Christmas rush approaches we are needing to make room and there are a few Bin End wines that need to find a good home! Nothing wrong with the ... Learn More

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