Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Take that, Italy and France. With the 2013 vintage, Spain stomped on its grape-growing European counterparts to become the biggest wine producer in the world. According to the Spanish government, Spain produced roughly 6.7 billion bottles of wine last year - more than a bottle apiece for every single person on the planet, at least if you subtract kids.
Here’s the hitch: Spain, despite making all this wine, isn’t drinking it. According to the secretary general of the Spanish Wine Federation, Spain has the lowest per capita wine consumption in Europe, except for Norway. (What the Norwegians are doing, who knows, but one thing they aren’t doing is sucking down tanker loads of wine.)
This means, in order to prevent a civilization-threatening worldwide glut of Spanish vino, we all need to start drinking as much Spanish wine as possible, immediately. To aid you in this noble and humanitarian goal, here are some great Spanish bottles to seek out. I suggest buying them by the case. Otherwise, lord knows what disasters might occur.
2012 Evodia Old Vines Garnacha ($10)
High altitude, old vines Grenache, from Spain’s Calatayud region - think ripe black cherries with a light spicy note - for a strikingly low price. A hard-to-argue-with bargain.
2012 Telmo Rodriguez Gaba do Xil ($12)
Godello, a crisp, peachy white variety from Spain’s Galicia region, isn’t well known in the US yet, but it certainly ought to be. Rodriguez’s version is a great introduction.
2012 Artazuri Garnacha ($12)
Rioja’s Artadi makes extraordinary, high-end reds, the most famous of which runs $300 a bottle. However, owner Juan Carlos Lopez de Lacalle also make this peppery, berry-scented Garnacha from Navarra, just north of Rioja, and it's a complete steal.
2009 Bodegas Franco Espanolas Royal Rioja Crianza ($15)
This well-priced Rioja crianza—Rioja being the place, and "crianza" being a term referring to how long the wine's aged (one year in barrel, and at least one year in bottle) offers crisp red cherry fruit and an appealing touch of earthiness.
2012 Licía Albarino ($16)
Classic Albariño grapefruit flavors lie at the core of this minerally Galician white. It would be ideal with any sort of seafood, but particularly raw oysters.
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Terrible article, first it mentions Spain being tops in wine sales, then it mentions how much they produce and not how much then sell. And I find it VERY hard to believe that Spaniards drink less wine per capita than say Poland or many other European nations.
You are correct, I looked it up Poland is below Spain, so is the U.K, and Belgium, and Germany.
Where did you look it up?
My sister-in-law once bought a bottle of Spanish "sparkling wine" as a gift for me as it was in a pretty bottle. It is the only alcoholic beverage I have *ever* poured down the drain it was that bad. Still have the bottle though.
Spain? Well no wonder, their vino is suited for little more than table wine. It is truly awful. Granache? Bleck. Good for cooking I suppose. They don't drink the stuff because they cannot afford it, and the world is willing to pay $20 for a bottle of grapes, versus $4 for the same grapes in their "raw" form. THAT is why they grow the most... because they can (they live in a wine friendly region) and they are poor.
Sigh, move along hater.
Trevor, people in Spain cannot afford wine? Are you thinking about Spain or Sudan? They might not be in their best economic moment, but come on...
What???? Spain sells the most wine With 2 buck chuck flying off the shelf at the corner market I would think that the US sells the most wine
HA! Thought it said "Spam stomps ... "
try with habla and buche. about 10 dollars each
Everythings better with wine in the belly.
Nice article, but you failed to mention the lovely and inexpensive Spanish Cavas that are available.
I am not sure about Spain, but in Catalonia, they drink the Cava like water. Maybe the rest of the Iberian peninsula is dry.
For your information, Robert, Cataluña IS a part of Spain.
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