Spain, New South Wales

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

Home to 14 official wine regions, New South Wales offers a diverse and wide ranging expanse to produce wines that appeal to every palate.

From Australia's oldest continuous wine region – the famous Hunter Valley – to exciting new cool climate regions such as Orange, the Southern Highlands and Tumbarumba, these regions can be found to produce some of the best Australia Wine around. Recognised as the second largest wine producing state in Australia, New South Wales is also the most populous state with its wine consumption far outpacing the region's wine production. Although the Hunter Valley region is well known, the majority of wineries are located along the Murray and Darling Rivers (in the south-east of the state) which supplies water for many of the regions wineries.

Other regions within New South Wales includes the Canberra District, Cowra, Hastings River, Hilltops, Mudgee, New England, Perricoota, Riverina and the Shoalhaven Coast.
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