Cosecha. Joven. Viejo. And the list goes on. Many wine-producing countries use local-language wine-related terminology without realizing their consumers are unaware of their meaning. Even native language speakers are sometimes confused by these terms as they are technical and/or relate to wine law.
No need to worry! Below is your very own Spanish Wine Glossary (in alphabetical order) providing the top 25 wine terms you need-to-know to navigate Spanish wine.
Rick's Pick: Miguel Torres discusses the winery's role in the fight against climate change discussion as well as the recovery and rediscovery of Spain’s lost indigenous grapes.
Over thirty years ago, Familia Torres embarked on an exciting project close to its heart: the recuperation of ancestral varieties which were believed extinct after the devastating phylloxera plague of the late 19th century. The idea was to recover the winemaking heritage of Catalonia, and thanks to the efforts of the family's fifth generation, the project is going stronger than ever! More than 50 varieties have been rediscovered so far, a few of which are very interesting from a winemaking perspective.
Miguel Torres, who is now heading these efforts, will share more about this amazing project and how it is also making a positive impact on climate change.
Miguel Torres Maczassek is fifth-generation and has been the General Manager of Familia Torres since 2012. Miguel started as Manager of the Jean Leon winery (Penedès), later at Familia Torres he oversaw the new ventures in Priorat, Ribera del Duero, Rioja, Rueda and Rias Baixas and worked as General Manager of Miguel Torres Chile. Today, his primary focus is the production of wines from unique vineyards and historical estates, climate change and the recovery of ancestral varieties.
Galicia not only has an astonishing green landscape, but it produces some of the freshest and most vibrant wines in Spain. The wet, green corner of Spain is home to some of the steepest vineyards of the world, some which have an inclination of more than 100%! The diversity of the different wine growing appellations and the wide array of local grape varieties creates a fantastic diversity of styles to explore.
Jonas Tofterup, who is based in Spain, is the first Danish Master of Wine. He holds an M.Sc. in Viticulture and Oenology and has worked as a winemaker at a number of wineries, from the main wine regions in Northern Spain to Yecla, Stellenbosch, Baden, Rheingau and in Denmark. In 2015, Jonas moved to the commercial side of the wine world where he became the European export manager for Viña Valdivieso of Chile. Along with working for Valdivieso he is a wine consultant for ALDI Denmark and owns Iberian Wine Academy, a wine school which offers WSET qualifications based in Andalucía.
Ribera del Duero is an up-and-coming Spanish wine region, along the Duero River in central Spain. Its signature grape Tempranillo has found its place in high-altitude plateaus in this arid and demanding region. Vineyards are found throughout the valley between 750 and 1060 m shaping the style of wine. Local winemakers are carving a name for themselves in small rural communities totally off the beaten track.
Ribera del Duero wines are deep coloured, robust and powerful with an incredible ageing potential yet intrepid winemakers are adapting to world trends. There are some delicious easy drinking young wines on the market with even a white wine being added to the eclectic Ribera del Duero range.
Jeni Wilson an Australian/Scottish wine lover and English teacher arrived in the Ribera del Duero in 2001 and in 2004 opened her wine academy Vintage Class to teach English to the local wineries. She also became one of the first WSET centres in 2012 and now teaches the Spanish Wine Scholar and French Wine Scholar programs. A holder of the WSET 4 DipWSET and High Honours in Spanish Wine Scholar, she is passionate about her local area Ribera del Duero where she has formed close relationships with local winemakers over many a glass of Ribera del Duero wine. She is a passionate Spanish wine lover and will happily travel all over Spain and the world visiting wineries as the learning curve never stops.
Jerez is among the older wine regions in the World, with nearly 3,000 years of continued wine activity. Over the centuries, wine production has evolved into very unique methods of production and a whole series of different wines of very strong identity, which were finally regulated under the first DO appellation in Spain, 85 years ago. But wine production continues to evolve in the Sherry region and local winemakers are now experimenting beyond the DO rules to find new ways of expressing the true identity of the Jerez soil, climate, and cultural roots.
Join us as we explore the key moments in the history of Sherry wines, understand how the DO was established, and investigate some of the new oenological developments in the region.
César was born in Jerez, Spain, and, although closely related to the world of the Sherry bodegas since his very early days, César started working as a firm consultant in Madrid. He returned to Jerez in 1985 to join the Sherry trade, first as an Export Manager at González Byass´ International Division and then at The House of Sandeman as Commercial Director, with marketing and sales responsibilities over both the Sherry and the Port side of the company.
In 2000 he joined the Consejo Regulador de las Denominación de Origen de los Vinos de Jerez as General Manager where he interacts with the more than 2,000 growers and approximately 90 bodegas (wine shippers). In his position, César spends a significant part of his time lecturing on Sherry wines and Brandy de Jerez, both in Jerez and internationally.
Apart from his position at the Consejo, César Saldaña is a member of some of the Spanish official bodies involved in the promotion, regulation, and protection of Spanish quality wines and spirits. He is also General Manager of the Regulating Body for Brandy de Jerez and President of the Ruta del Vino del Marco de Jerez, the leading wine route in Spain, with over 100 members and more than 580,000 visitors in 2018!
SWS Education Director Rick Fisher talks about on one of Spain’s most popular white grapes - Albariño!
Are you ready to dive into one of the world’s greatest wine-producing countries? If so, our next Spanish Wine Scholar Instructor-Led course is about to start, and we would love to have you join us! If you still aren’t sure, then take a look at these ten reasons why you should be studying Spanish wine.
Lisa's Pick: A “must-view” for wine lovers intending to hike the Camino; visually stunning and inspiring.
In the fall of 2019, Wine Scholar Guild member, Bill “Papi” Sanders from Nashville, Tennessee walked the 790 km/500 mile Camino Frances (French Way) route of the El Camino de Santiago. Being 65 years young at the time, he carried only what could be stuffed in his 36-liter backpack. For over 1,000 years, folks have been making the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Northwest Spain where it is believed the remains of Jesus Christ’s apostle Saint James are interred. In addition to its spiritual significance, it’s no coincidence that the “Way of St. James” passes through some of Spain’s oldest and most famous wine regions. Bill will share his experiences and discuss the wines on, perhaps, the most unique, inspirational, and demanding food and wine adventure on earth. His journey begins in Paris drinking grower Champagne before embarking on his 35-day journey across the Pyrenes and through the Spanish regions of Navarra, Rioja, Castillo y León, and Galicia. Pour yourself a glass of Albariño or Rioja and join Bill’s trek.
In March 2005, Bill finished third in a professional olive oil tasting course at the University of California-Davis’ Olive Oil Center. Upon conclusion of the course, he drove to Napa for some winery touring where he began to consider learning to taste wine. After all, wine had to be more fun than olive oil. It wasn’t long before he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America-Greystone Professional Wine Studies Program where he completed programs in Mastering Wine I & II and Wines of Spain (sparking a dream of walking El Camino de Santiago).
His passion for wine earned him a master’s certificate in the Rhone and Provence regions from the Wine Scholar Guild. In 2010, he chaired the French Wine Society’s (Wine Scholar Guild) annual three-day conference held at the French Embassy in Washington, DC. Additionally, He has traveled extensively to the great wine and olive oil regions of Europe and the U.S., authored an olive oil, wine and food blog Crush+Press, and is a frequent attendee of the International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon. Bill has been involved in the international olive oil industry for over 20 years.
In 2019, Bill fulfilled his dream of walking the 500-mile Camino Francés route of the ancient El Camino de Santiago. Today, Bill resides in Nashville, Tennessee where he is teaching his three grand-kiddos the ways of the world.
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