With our winter coats firmly zipped up tight, we delve into some seasonal comforts to warm the cockles. Think rich, spicy reds and a creamy white from the land that boasts over 500 grape varieties, and has provided a lifetime of inspiration for Picasso.
Spain’s growth in the global wine industry has been meteoric in the past few decades. It’s now the largest wine exporter in the world and has more space under vine than any other country. And then there’s the quality of it all. Spain now boasts the highest percentage of organic vineyards in Europe, representing an impressive 27% of the continent’s total vineyards under organic management. It’s also seeing an average 200% year-on-year increase in land dedicated to organic agriculture. Spain also has relatively low yields compared to other countries such as France or Italy. This can be attributed to not only the wealth of older vines that produce less volume of higher quality fruit, but also careful selection of fruit picked, vinifying only the best grapes for the bottle.
The greatest challenge that Spain will face is the survival and success of its native varieties in the face of the continual threat of monoculture, in which an increasingly small selection of varieties are planted and vinified. This reduces not only agricultural diversity but also disease prevention in vines. However, with the current resurgence in popularity of artisanal products and provenance, hopes are high for the future of Spain’s vinous treasures in all their shapes, sizes and flavours.