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Wine information > Wines from Spain
Wines from Spain
WINES OF SPAIN
SherryThe wine of Spain par excellence is Sherry,
a name once restricted to the products of the vineyards of Jerez de la Frontera in the province of Cadiz, but now extended so as to
cover the vineyards of the South of Spain.
Good Sherry has a well-developed bouquet and aroma, a fine and delicate taste with varying degree of alcoholicity according to type and age. Very old Sherries reach eventually a good strength.
Sherry has great value as a restorative, and is prescribed by Spanish physicians when we should prescribe Brandy. It is said that it is the only wine of which one can drink while smoking without losing some of its savour. Of Sherry alone it is said 'It improves in the decanter.' It maintains its excellence unimpaired for many
days. It is made of white grapes only, which are crushed lightly in a press, and after a short fermentation the pulp is again pressed, native earth burnt to a dust being sprinkled on the pulp
as an essential part of the process. The second fermentation lasts about three months, when the young wine is racked into fresh casks. When the wine falls bright, the decision is made whether the quality be good enough to make into Sherry proper, in which case it will be racked off, fortified with Brandy, and left to ferment without
further disturbance. If of poor quality it is reserved for distilling. The style or type of the ultimate Sherry depends very largely on the development of the ` flor' in the secondary fermentation. Quality can only be determined with time. Three main
types emerge: fine, clean, dry, and delicate; a fuller and richer wine, Raya ; and a third composite type with the cleanness of the Fino, another full body of the Raya-Palo Cortado.
The wines, however, are shipped not under these names, but the Finos as Amontillado and Vino del Pasto, the Cortados as Oloroso and
Amoroso, the Rayas as Golden.
Other well-known names are Palo Cortado, Old Solera,
Montilla, Marcharnudo, Manzanilla, Maduro, Modinetta, Molino, in addition to the usual English acceptive titles: Pale Full, Pale Brown, Old Brown, etc.
Sherry is very definitely a blended wine. And the making of Sherry is an expensive and long process. Cheap Sherries, therefore, are likely to be false or faked or bad Sherries.
Sherries are sweetened and coloured to meet requirements of taste and fashion. Dry Sherry alone or with Vermouth is an excellent appetizer. A good full Sherry mixed with aerated water is a refreshing beverage .
Sherry, being a fortified wine, is bottled with an air space, not right up to the cork. Among the more important Sherry shippers
may be named:
Duff Gordon & Co (Port St. Mary)
Garvey & Co (Jerez)
Gonzalez, Byass Ltd (Jerez)
Mackenzie & Co. Ltd (Jerez)
Manuel Misa (Jerez)
Williams & Humbert (Jerez)
Pedro Domecq (Jerez)
Tarragona is a sweet dark red or white wine which comes from Catalonia. The wines of the neighbourhood of Mataro are much sought
after. The Priorato reds are. held the most in esteem, as are the white wines of Villafranca, de Panades. Other wines are the Malvoisie (made at Sitjes, with the grape-vine of this name), the
Muscat, the Grenache, the Rancio, the Panades,
and the Macabeo.
Tarragona is especially noted for its Priorato (dry, musque, sweet, and even syrupy). The Maduro and Cardona from this district are
much in demand. Tarragona in England is quoted under such
descriptions as: Blended Tarragona, Spanish Red or Pure Tarragona.
Special Tawny (Spanish Red).
Malaga is the wine grown on the hills round the town of this name. Malaga blanc is a vin fin, which the French describe as liquoreux
(sweet), and very delicate. Malaga color is a dark wine. It is the product of a mixture of Malaga bianc and one or the other of two preparations known respectively as Arrope and Color. There
are other varieties of Malaga, such as Malaga Muscat, etc. Malaga wines are exported exclusively from the Port of Malaga.
Malaga is sold in butts like Sherry. This wine can be kept in wood for over 100 years.
Other well-known Spanish wines are Rioja, red (often called 'Spanish Claret'), and Rioja, white (sometimes described as 'Chablis cha-
racter'), from La Mancha the famous district of Don Quixote.
There are also Valdepenas and Valencia wines, etc.