Spanish Wines in the Heart of Belgrade

Not long ago synonymous with cheap wines, Spain today offers some world-class bottlesIf by some chance you stopped by the cinema some 20 years ago and decided to see a Spanish film, the odds are that the director was Pedro Almodóvar and the main cast Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz. The situation with Spanish wines was similar. Back then, an invitation to a glass of Spanish wine meant almost without exception enjoying an oak-aged red Tempranillo from the La Rioja region. Today, the situation is completely different, and now the conversation over a glass can be had with a fresh white Albariño from Rias Baixas or a light red Mencina from the Bierzo region. These are just some of the countless options because, as of late, high-quality wines of completely different styles lurk from almost every Spanish wine region.

Spanish wines in numbers and letters

Spain is the first country in the world when it comes to planted surface vineyard area, third by wine production, and the second when it comes to the quantity of exported wine. According to the latest results, there have been 235 grapevine varieties identified in Spain, as many as 111 of which are autochthonous. The most widespread varieties of red are Tempranillo, Garnacha, Bobal, and Monastrell. Prevalent among whites are Airén, Macabeo, and Verdejo. Varieties Mencia, Graciano, Mazuelo, Albariño, Pedro Ximénez, and Godello are, although not the most extended, very important in the perception of Spain as a wine country.

Spain barely has a region where wine is not made. There are close to 70 wine regions in the country. Different climate conditions, locations and types of soil, and the diversity of vineyard and winemaking practices have resulted in a colorful array of wine styles. If one adds to all the mentioned innovative spirit of the young generations of winemakers, it comes as no surprise that Spain, although still famed for its price/quality ratio in wines, is becoming a place whose trademark is the diversity and modernity of the wine industry. Of course, one must not forget the undisputed quality that adorns the finest Spanish wines from Rioja, Ribera, Priorat, or Bierzo that score the highest marks at respectable wine evaluations, reach high market prices, and have an almost cult status.

Spain barely has a region where wine is not made

Geography of Spanish wines

The most popular Spanish wines come from a dozen regions. The undisputed number one is still Rioja, located in the Ebro Valley, which is also one of the biggest producers of reds, mainly of the Tempranillo variety.

The sunny region of Catalonia in the vicinity of the Mediterranean Sea is famed for its cavas and also the Priorat region, known for its reds. The most widespread varieties in Priorat are Garnacha, Cariñena, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot. Due to small vineyards and difficulties in cultivating them, the Priorat wines are not cheap, but they justify their price with their complexity and superior quality. In Penedes, there are Garnacha, Cariñena and Monastrell. This region is also known for its sparkling wine Clàssic Penedès, which is very similar to cava, but with a few significant differences. The first is that, since the 2017 vintage, the Clàssic Penedès only comes from organic grapes, which makes these the first 100% organic sparkling wines in the world.

Castilla y León, in the northwest, is the biggest part of the Spanish geography where wines are produced. The main wine regions there are Bierzo, Rueda, Toro, and, of course, Ribera del Duero. While the red tempranillos from Rioja are generally elegant and refined, frequently with a strong presence of the American oak, Ribera del Duero wines are frequently more intense and perhaps more concentrated, with a stronger presence of black fruit aromas.

Galicia, also in the Spanish northwest, is the biggest producer of whites in the country. The main wine region is Rias Baixas, famous for the mainly crispy and vibrant Albariños.

In the south of Spain, there is Andalusia, famed for the strong Sherry wine from Jerez.

Wines from almost all relevant wine regions of Spain are present in Serbia

Spanish wines in Serbia

The popularity and the offer of Spanish wine on the domestic market is growing and it seems that this trend is aided by the event Spanish Wines in the Heart of Belgrade (Španska vina u srcu grada), which takes place each year within the Belgrade Wine Week festival. The main part of this Spanish Wine Week of sorts is the exclusive Spanish Food and Wine Salon, which offers a number of workshops and tastings inspired by Spanish wines.

Wines from almost all relevant wine regions of Spain are present in Serbia and on the shelves of local wine shops and the wine lists of restaurants, one can find the champions of the Spanish wine scene, such as Vega Sicilia, Dominio de Pingus, Muga, Marqués de Riscal.

What makes the offer of Spanish wines in Serbia exciting is the fact that more and more of the top-shelf wines come from regions like Rias Baixas, Rueda, Navara, Toro, or Bierzo. It is also a pleasure to see the array of different wine styles, so there is now, in addition to the collector’s gran reservas from well-known wine producers of Rioja and Ribera, an increasing number of modern and slightly avant-garde wines from boutique wineries.

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