SELECCION ELVARA - TASTE AND DISCOVER THE WINES OF SPAIN
SPANISH WINE REGULATIONS
The Classification System
or D.O. designated wine is the gold standard for wines produced in Spain, and
is subject to each region's own regulating Council (Consejo Regulador) which
sets strict quality rules with supervision. Wines must be made with grapes approved by and only grown within the D.O. geographical limits, and are subject to strict quality regulations in the vineyard, the wine-making process, cellar management, labelling and marketing.
Origen Calificada or D.O.Ca. is a higher category granted to a region's wines where
the highest quality has been consistently maintained. For many
years Rioja was the only region accredited D.O.Ca since this ranking was
inaugurated in 1988; most recently the Priorato region is the only other D.O.
to assume this status.
are currently 67 D.O.s throughout Spain of varying size
and longevity, all ultimately ratified by EU wine laws.
de Espanya: This is a new appellation recently approved by the EU,
which in effect allows producers in Spain to
source their grapes from any accredited vineyard in the country. Greater flexibility
in terms of yield, winery practices, barrel ageing and labelling information is
designed to facilitate the production of economically priced wines, but with
minimum quality standards in place.
Vino de la Terra (VdlT), equivalent
to the French Vin de Pays, is a
category given to wines from an officially demarcated region that have
potential to attain D.O. status. However, some VdlT producers prefer to retain
this status rather than become D.O. accredited, on account of there being less
regulation and therefore greater flexibility to pioneer new styles and methods.
Ageing Regulations in Spain
wines have minimum standards for ageing depending on each region. These
regulations are designed to ensure wines are sufficiently mature on release,
ready for immediate drinking, although many wines will continue to improve with
further bottle ageing.
Unlike some wine
producing countries where the term Reserva is loosely used to suggest a higher
quality of wine, the word Reservawhen used on a bottle of
Spanish wine, has a very specific meaning for the consumer. Reserva labelled wine
is required to spend a minimum three calendar years in the bodega before
release, including a minimum 12 months in oak.
wines bearing the name Crianza, which
simply means ageing, must have minimum two calendar years in storage before
they can be sold, including a minimum 6 months in oak (12 months in Rioja
and Ribera del Duero).
Vino Joven has usually seen no oak
and is ready for immediate drinking, normally being sold in the spring of the
year following harvest. The unofficial designation Roble or Barrica
is increasingly found on certain wines which means they have been aged for an
undefined period in oak and with no restriction placed on when they can be
released following bottling.