The wines of Spain offer seemingly endless opportunities to compare and contrast wildly different styles not only of the wines themselves but also the traditions, techniques and cultural importance of what is produced. In this months case I want to introduce you to two superb wines which really couldn't be more different.
Bagordi Crianza, Rioja
Easily the best known style of Spanish still wine are those reds produced in the Northern region of Rioja. The red wines from this region are subject to extremely strict rules regarding the types of grapes used, the ripeness of the grapes, how long they must be aged for before release, and what kind of vessels ageing must take place in. On the one hand this has led to the style and quality of the wines of the region largely being maintained but some would argue that it stifles the creativity of the winemakers and has to a degree led to a certain uniformity of what is produced.
This particular wine is made in the Crianza style which means that it has to be aged for at least 2 years before release with at least 1 of those spent in an Oak barrel. this has resulted in a wine very typical of the style with vibrant red fruit and strong aromas of vanilla and aromatic spice.
Basa Blanco, Rueda
A little further South and to the West lies the lesser known region of Rueda. Here the laws regarding wine production are far more lax and allow for greater freedom for winemakers to experiment both in the vineyard and the winery. Maverick wine maker Telmo Rodriguez is a perfect embodiment of this unshackled approach to wine making. For this wine alone he used many different fermentation and maturation vessels of varying size and composition which helps create the many layers of complexity and depth of flavour in the wine.
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