Spain, Hunter 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

Internationally, Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s two most well known wine regions, alongside Barossa Valley in South Australia. Located about a two hour drive north of Sydney, the region is very popular for weekend escapes from the city of Sydney.

Hunter Valley’s climate includes regular droughts or floods, seemingly less than desirable conditions to grow grapes, with the hot, humid summers and cool winters. Nevertheless, the region has been under cultivation since the 1800’s and is responsible for putting Australian wine, in particular Sémillon and to a lesser extent Shiraz, on the world wine map. Winemaking pioneers such as Bruce Tyrrell (Tyrrell's Wines) and Len Evans helped the region gain worldwide recognition.

The famous Hunter valley Sémillon was for many years known as ‘Hunter Valley Riesling’ and is never matured in oak. It is however one of the most ageworthy whites in the country with bottles showing an inordinate ability to age gracefully. Bottle-aged Sémillons will often exhibit burnt toast and honey characteristics, slight nutty notes and supremely complex flavours on the palate. This palate complexity is coupled with soft acidity and the finish can be very long indeed.
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  1. Bin Ends Box- Clear out the Cellar BOX 5 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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