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Spanish and Portugese wine 101

spanish wine 101

Hattiesburg, MS

Most wine aficionados know about the vintages from France and Italy, but the nations of Spain and Portugal also have a rich history of developing quality wines. Your local Hattiesburg wine experts at Lincoln Road Package Store want to educate you on these delicious and exciting varieties, with this guide to Spanish and Portuguese wines.

The benefits of aging

Spanish wines are known for their aging, whether that aging occurs in oak barrels at the winery or in the bottle. The term “Crianza” technically refers to any oak-aged wine, meaning one that is matured in oak barrels. However, within Spanish wine regions like Rioja, the term “Crianza” is applied to wines that are matured for at least two years—part of that in oak barrels—before being released to the market. A Crianza wine is known for retaining its freshness, but also developing more complex aromas and flavors as a result of the oak aging process.

Other age classifications of Rioja wines are as follows:

  • Rioja – referring to wines that are aged for at least one year before being sent to market
  • Reserva – referring to red wines that are aged for at least three years, with a minimum of one full year spent in oak barrels, and white wines aged for at least two years with a minimum of six months in oak barrels.
  • Gran Reserva – used to classify red wines that spend a minimum of five years aging, at least two of which must be spent in oak barrels; and white wines that are aged for at least four years, with a minimum of six months spent in oak barrels.

Price of Rioja wines is determined by a host of factors including the yield at the vineyard, the type of oak being used, the brand itself, when the winery was built, market demand for a type of wine, and more. Wines of a greater age usually are more expensive, as these aged wines have been produced as a result of more investment of capital and labor.

Bold grapes, bold flavors

Looking to shake up your wine cellar? Airen is a variety of Spanish grape known for its high alcohol potential. Used in popular varieties of red such as Tempranillo and Garnacha, Airen grapes were used for many years as a base for Spanish brandy.

Cava wines, which emanate from the northeast region of Spain, use traditional means of secondary fermentation to produce bold, delicious sparkling wines that match well with rich foods such as bacon cheeseburgers, pork roast, and thickly-sauced seafood dishes. Most Cavas are known for being both rich and dry.

You probably have heard about Spanish sherries, which are fortified wines from grand barrels that house a blend of different wines with a floating layer of yeast. Spanish sherries come in a variety of different flavors, from dry to sweet.

Portuguese wines

Often overlooked by more prominent wine countries in Europe, Portugal is famous for Port Wine—a widely popular fortified wine shipped from the town of Oporto in northern Portugal. Port Wines are available in a plethora of different varieties to suit any palate, ranging from fruity (Ruby) to nutty (Tawny) to sweet (Madiera). Despite not having quite as well-known a reputation for wines, the winemaking history of Portugal actually predates the Romans and, with more than half a million acres of grapevines within its borders, Portugal actually ranks as the 11th-largest wine producer in the world.

Wine in Hattiesburg

If you would like to learn more about wines from Spain and Portugal, Lincoln Road Package Store boasts a fine selection of wines from these countries. You may find a new favorite, or just want to explore new tastes from unlikely vintages. Just visit our location at 2800 Lincoln Road, Suite A, in Hattiesburg, MS. Got a question? Contact our courteous and experienced staff by calling us at (601) 268-3677 or send an e-mail to jamiefarris@gmail.com.

Lincoln Road Package Store is here to serve the adult beverage needs of customers in the area of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

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