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Flashcards in Spain Deck (84):

What are the 3 sweeping climatic zones of Spain?

Moderate Maritime - north and northwest Spain enjoy Atlantic influence and high rainfall (Galicia, Asturias, País Vasco).

Warm Mediterranean - eastern Spain along the Mediterranean coast going south experiences sea influence and altitude variation.

Hot Continental - the center of Spain (Meseta Central) does not have any ocean or sea influence; rainfall is low and summertime heat is high.


In terms of production, Spain ranks as the ___ largest wine producer in the world.

Spain ranks as the 3rd largest wine producer in the world.

  • Italy is first
  • France is second


What are the main climate challenges that affect viticulture in Spain? 

What effects do these challenges have on the vine?

Climate challenges: Hot weather and drought


  • Water stress
  • Slower ripening
  • Grapes can shrivel before reaching full and phenolic maturity


What is a viticultural benefit of the lack of rainfall in Spain?

Fungal disease pressure is low. 


In what year did Spanish wine law allow irrigation in vineyards?



What is the traditional pruning system of Spain?

What is the newer one that is being used?

How does this newer pruning system affect crop size?

  • Traditional: Bush trained - low density planting, usually dry farmed;
  • Newer: Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP) - higher density planting, irrigation possible. 

Winemakers are now able to produce greater quantities from the same-sized vineyard by using a VSP system.


What is the hierarchy of wine quality in Spain?

In ascending order:

PGI level

1. Vino de la Tierra

PDO level

2. DO: Denominación de Origen

3. DOCa: Denominación de Origen Calificada

4. Vinos de Pago


What is Vinos de Pago?

Vinos de Pago is a category reserved for prestigious single estates whose work exceeds basic DO requirements.  These estates can only use their own grapes which must be grown, vinified and aged on their estate.

Estates which have earned the Vinos de Pago classification lie within established DOs -- notably, though, they do not exist within Rioja or Ribera del Duero -- and they aren't necessarily superior to DOCa. 


What is the most planted red grape in Spain?



What is the most planted white grape in Spain (it's also the most planted grape in Spain, period)?


Airén is generally a low-quality white grape used for bulk wine and is mostly grown in La Mancha DO.


What international grape varieties grow successfully in Spain?

  • Cabernet Sauvignon 
  • Merlot
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Chardonnay

These varieties were mostly planted in the 1980s and 1990s to suit the international market.


Traditionally, what type of oak used in Spain?

American oak

There are several wineries experimenting with French oak today.

The size of the barrel has an important role: usually small new oak barrels are used for shorter aging, where large neutral barrels are used for long, slow maturation.


Spanish white wines are only fermented and matured in stainless steel tanks.


Oak fermentation and maturation for both whites and reds is common practice in Spain, a tradition going back centuries.  

Many winemakers also stir the lees on their white wines to add texture and depth of flavor.


Which white grape varieties are known to make high quality, dry wines in Spain?

  • Viura in Rioja DOCa
  • Verdejo in Rueda DO
  • Albariño in Galicia


Where is Galicia in Spain?

Galicia is in the northwest corner of Spain, just north of Portugal, on the Atlantic Ocean.



Of the 5 DOs in Galicia, which is the most important?

What style of wine is Galicia best known for?

Rías Baixas is the most important DO of Galicia.

Galicia is best known for producing still, dry white wines primarily based on Albariño.



Is Albariño resistant to fungal disease?

Yes, Albariño is resistant to fungal disease, thanks to its thick skin. 


How is Albariño typically trained in Rías Baixas?

Albariño is trained using the Parral (pergola) system in Rías Baixas.

Having the grapes situated high off the ground allows for breezes to lower humidity and the threat of rot and mildew.

Some VSP-wired trellised vineyards using double Guyot (called espaldeira) are also seen.


What natural feature is the border between Galicia and northern Portugal?

The Miño, or Minho, River


What grape variety is planted on both sides of the Miño River?

Albariño, known as Alvarinho in Portugal.


Albariño from Rías Baixas - is it usually aged in oak or stainless steel?

Albariño is usually aged in stainless steel because oxidative aging environments, like oak, reduce aromatic characters.

However, examples of Albariño aged in oak do exist.




What are the two DOCas of Spain?

  1. Rioja DOCa
  2. Priorat DOCa


When did Rioja receive its DOCa designation?



Name all 3 subzones of Rioja DOCa.

  1. Rioja Alta
  2. Rioja Alavesa
  3. Rioja Oriental 
    • Renamed in 2018, previously called Rioja Baja


What are the climate influencers of Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa?

Rioja Alta and RIoja Alavesa are cooled down by Atlantic Ocean breezes and winds from the Cantabrian Mountains.


What is the elevation range for vineyards in Rioja?

500-800 meters


What is the largest subregion of Rioja?

Rioja Alta


Which of Rioja's subregions is the lowest in altitude?

What are some specifics that differentiate it from the other subregions?

Rioja Oriental is the subregion lowest in altitude, which is located east of Logroño (Rioja's most important city).

  • Rioja Oriental receives a strong influence from the Mediterranean Sea, whereas Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa are influenced by the Atlantic Ocean;
  • Climate is more severe in Rioja Oriental with hotter and drier summers;
  • Garnacha is the main grape, not Tempranillo. 


What is the main white grape of Rioja DOCa?

Viura is the main white grape of Rioja DOCa.

Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Verdejo are other principal grapes used in Rioja DOCa.

Malvasia, Garnacha Blanca, Turruntés, Maturana Blanca are allowed in lesser percentages.


What is the other name for Viura in Spain?

In which region will you find it as this other name?

Macabeo, found in Catalunya.


What is the minimum aging requirement for white and rosado Rioja Crianza?

White and rosado Rioja Crianza must be aged for a minimum of 2 years, including 6 months in oak.


What is the minimum aging requirement for white and rosado Rioja Reserva?

White and rosado Rioja Reserva must be aged for a minimum of 2 years, including 6 months in oak.


What is the minimum aging requirement for white and rosado Rioja Gran Reserva?

White and rosado Rioja Gran Reserva must be aged for a minimum of 4 years, including at least 6 months in oak. 


Tempranillo is the main grape of Rioja DOCa.  

Which grapes are traditionally blended with Tempranillo in Rioja DOCa?

  • Garnacha: adds body and richness
  • Graciano: adds rustic, earthy flavors
  • Cariñena: adds tannic structure

International grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot being blended with Tempranillo are on the rise.


Where is Graciano mainly grown in Spain?

Rioja DOCa

Graciano adds acidity, tannins and black fruit notes.


What is the range of styles Tempranillo can be made into?

Joven: made for early consumption (1-2 years of age) displaying punchy fruit; no oak treatments, no aging requirements, and occasional semi-carbonic maceration is used to soften tannin and texture.

Crianza: lightly oaked and fresh with primary fruit flavors, sessionable.

Reserva and Gran Reserva: highly complex wines due to a long maturation process and controlled oxidation.


What is the minimum aging requirement for red Rioja Crianza?

Red Rioja Crianza must be aged for a minimum of 2 years, with 1 of those years in oak.

There is no bottle aging requirement for Rioja Crianza.


What is the minimum aging requirement for red Rioja Reserva?

Red Rioja Reserva must be aged for a minimum of 3 years, including 1 year in oak and 6 months in bottle.


What is the minimum aging requirement for red Rioja Gran Reserva?

Red Rioja Gran Reserva must be aged for a minimum of 5 years, including 2 years in oak and 2 years in bottle.


Sparkling wine is now allowed under the Rioja DOCa.

True - it is called Vino Espumoso de Calidad de Rioja.


Besides Rioja DOCa, what other wine region produces high-quality Tempranillo?

Ribera del Duero DO


Where is Ribera del Duero?

Does it have any sea or ocean influence?

Vineyards are planted at sea level or high in elevation?


Ribera del Duero is north of Madrid and south of Rioja; it is located on the northern edge for the Meseta plateau.

  • No maritime influence due to a ring of surrounding mountains;
  • Vines are planted at fairly high altitudes, which can reach up to 850 meters high.


What styles of wine are allowed to be produced in Ribera del Duero?

The majority of production is focused on still red wines made from Tempranillo, and rosado is allowed but it isn't widely produced.

White wines can not be made under the Ribera del Duero DO. 


Name 2 of the most iconic estates of Ribera del Duero.

  • Vega Sicilia
  • Domingo de Pingus


Name the most important DOs of Castilla y León.

  • Ribera del Duero DO
  • Toro DO
  • Rueda DO
  • Bierzo DO


The Duero River in Spain flows westward and becomes the ___ River in Portugal.

 Douro River


What styles of wine are produced under the Toro DO?

​​Toro DO is best known for its rich, concentrated, full-throttle reds based on Tempranillo, quite similar to the wines of neighboring Ribera del Duero DO.

Toro DO also makes a little rosé and white wines.


What appellation of Castilla y León borders Galicia?

Bierzo DO



What is the primary grape variety of Bierzo DO?


Mencía makes medium-bodied, fruit-forward reds that are supple in texture.


What is Mencía known as in Portugal?




What is the main grape in Rueda DO?


Verdejo produces light and crisp white wines with high acidity.


What is Verdejo typically blended with in Rueda DO?

Sauvignon Blanc

When the two are blended, Verdejo must comprise at least 50% of the blend.


Verdejo is a grape variety susceptible to oxidation.

True, Verdejo is very susceptible to oxidation.

  • Winemakers must work via a reductive process in order to avoid oxidation: stainless steel tank fermentation and usage of SO2.


With the exception of Rioja and Ribera del Duero (as both have more stringent aging requirements), Crianza on a Spanish wine label indicates the wine was aged for how long?

Crianza Reds

  • Wines must age a minimum of 24 months, with at least 6 months in cask

Crianza Whites + Rosados

  • Wines must age a minimum of 18 months, with at least 6 months in cask


With the exception of Rioja and Ribera del Duero (as both have more stringent aging requirements),  Reserva on a Spanish wine label indicates the wine was aged for how long?

Reserva Reds

  • Wines must age a minimum of 36 months, with at least 12 months in cask

Reserva Whites + Rosados

  • Wines must age a minimum of 24 months, with at least 6 months in cask


With the exception of Rioja and Ribera del Duero (as both have more stringent aging requirements), Gran Reserva on a Spanish wine label indicates the wine was aged for how long?

Gran Reserva Reds

  • Wines must age a minimum of 60 months, with at least 18 months in cask

Gran Reserva Whites + Rosados

  • Wines must age a minimum of 48 months, with at least 6 months in cask


Where is Navarra DO located?

Navarra is adjacent to and northeast of Rioja DOCa.  

It is generally cooler than Rioja because it is about 300 ft (90 meters) higher in altitude.


What color wine is Navarra DO most famous for?

Deeply colored rosés produced from Garnacha.


What is the general flavor profile of Garnacha grown in Spain? 

Which DOs are best known for their Garnacha?

Flavor profile

  • Bright red fruits, high alcohol, moderate-low acidity

DOs best known for Garnacha

  • Priorat DOCa, Montsant DO, Navarra DO


Name the 2 most important DOs of Aragón.

  • Calatayud DO
  • Cariñena DO

Both DOs have a Continental climate.


What is the main red grape varietal in Cariñena and Calatayud DOs?




What are the synonyms for Carignan in Spain?

  • Mazuelo (used in Rioja DOCa)
  • Cariñena (used in Cariñena DO)
  • Samsó (used in Catalunya)

These are the best known synonyms, but this grape has other names across the world.


In which appellations does Carignan perform best in Spain?

  • Priorat DOCa: bottled as monovarietal or blended with Garnacha;
  • Rioja DOCa: blended with Tempranillo


Name 3 chief DOs in Catalunya producing still wine.

  • Priorat DO
  • Montsant DO
  • Penedès DO


Name all 3 local white varieties of Catalunya.

  • Parellada
  • Xarel-lo
  • Macabeo (aka Viura in Rioja DOCa)

Mainly used in the production of Cava, these grapes are sometimes bottled as still wines under Penedès DO.


What is the synonym for Tempranillo in Catalunya?

Ull de Llebre


What is the name of Priorat's unique soil?

Llicorella: made of black slate and quartzite

Llicorella is a low-fertile soil but it has good water retention.  Most vineyards planted in this soil are also on steep slopes which must be hand harvested.


Where is Priorat DOCa located in Spain?

Name the main two red grape varieties that go into Priorat.

Priorat DOCa is in Catalunya on the Mediterranean coast, roughly 2 hours south of Barcelona.

Carignan and Garnacha are the traditional, recommended red grape varieties of Priorat.

Some international grapes, such as Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are allowed to be included in the blend.


What is the traditional style of Priorat?

Rustic, rich, textural, highly complex wines that are full bodied and age worthy.

These wines often need time in the cellar and need to be decanted upon opening, no matter what their age.


What is the typical vine training in Priorat?

What is the geography generally like in Priorat?

Bush training

Priorat is hilly and most vineyards are planted on steep slopes.

Between the bush vines and steep slopes, Priorat for the most part is hand harvested.



Are white and rosé wines allowed under the Priorat DOCa?

Yes, both white and rosés are allowed under Priorat DOCa although they are uncommon.


Where is the Penedès DO located in Spain?

Penedès DO is a large, regional appellation of Catalunya south of Barcelona, stretching from the Mediterranean sea coast up to the Montsant Mountains near Tarragona.


What styles of wine can be produced under the Penedès DO?

  • Still (white, red, rosado)
  • Sparkling
  • Sweet
  • Fortified

Penedès DO is a large region, with less restrictions than Priorat DOCa or Montsant DO. Producers have more freedom in their grape usage, production methods, and style of wines.


What are the 3 subregions of Penedès DO and how do their climates differ?

  • Baix-Penedès: near the coast, lowest in altitude and warmest with a Mediterannean climate;
  • Medio-Penedès: in the middle, has mountain and sea influence, a little cooler than Baix-Penedès;
  • Alt-Penedès: most inland, highest altitude, most moderate of the three climates (this is where most Cava is produced).


What are synonyms for Monastrell outside of Spain?

  • Mourvèdre in France
  • Mataro in Australia


Why is Monastrell particularly well suited to a warm or Mediterranean climate?

Monastrell has thick skins and needs a hot, sunny climate to ripen.  It is also well adapted to drought conditions.


Where in Spain does Monastrell grow best?

Monastrell grows best in Murcia (southeastern Spain).

Jumilla DO and Yecla DO grow good examples of Monastrell.


Valencia is known for what styles of wine?

Valencia is best known for two kinds of wine:

  • cheap-and-cheerful, everyday wines made from Monastrell and international varieties;
  • Moscatel de Valencia, a sweet fortified wine made from Muscat of Alexandria.


What is the local white grape of Valencia DO?

Merseguera, a dry aromatic white grape.


What is the largest DO in size in Spain (it's also the largest appellation in Europe)?

La Mancha DO

> 162,600 hectares


What is the local name of Tempranillo in La Mancha DO?



Which grapes are finding success in La Mancha DO?

International grape varieties, including:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon 
  • Merlot
  • Syrah
  • Chardonnay
  • Sauvignon Blanc


Where is Valdepeñas DO located?

Castilla-La Mancha, just south of La Mancha DO.


Between La Mancha and Valdepeñas, which appellation is better known to make higher quality wines?


This region focuses on quality rather than quantity.