Spain Modern wines with tradition.
Europes third largest wine-producing country, Spain is the country with most land under the vine in the world. It has a wine industry blessed with a blend of tradition, innovation and ideal climate conditions, which have pushed it to the forefront of the fine wine scene in the last decade. The most widely planted grape variety is Tempranillo, whose elegance forms the backbone of all great Riojas. Foreign grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay are increasingly important, especially in Catalonia and Navarra.
Many now consider Spain the most ambitious and exciting in European food and wine terms. The Spanish are shedding their traditional image with innovative restaurants, modern wine styles and new wineries such as Ysios and Riscal.
2004 High humidity and random localised summer storms has made 2004 a bit of a roller coaster for certain areas of Spain. Luckily the autumn was unseasonally warm and dry. Fantastic wines have been made in the south and in the foothills of the Pyrenees. A huge vintage in Rioja and much of the north, but quality is mixed. Overall a good but not great year.
2003 Spanish winemakers are cautiously optimistic about their 2003 wines. Rioja received rain in August and September, which revitalized the vines and helped rebalance grapes that had high sugar levels but little acidity and colour.
2002 A hot vintage, as it was in the rest of Europe. Spain is probably the best suited to cope with such high temperatures. A vintage for the big red wines. Garnacha and Tempranillo are star varietals of the vintage making some big, big wines.
2001 Drought in 2000 and frost in spring 2001 caused problems in Rioja, with lower than usual harvests, but quality is excellent.
It has a wine industry blessed with a blend of tradition, innovation and ideal climate conditions