Winewatch: Spain

Spain usually holds third place among the world’s top wine producers by volume. Here in Ireland, it’s responsible for over 11% of the wine market. Should you consider offering a wider variety of Spanish wines?

Spain produced 50,000,000 hectolitres of wine in 2013. This made it the largest volume producer of wine in the world, with more land under vine than anywhere else on the planet, easily beating Italy’s 47 million hl and France’s 42 million hl. China has a larger grape-growing area but this is not all wine-destined growth.

Normally the Iberian Peninsula would hold third place among the world’s wine producers but the 2013 harvest was by all accounts ‘bumper’.

2014 too enjoyed a healthy-sized crop which had the Spanish government at one point considering measures to protect pricing according to RaboBank’s 2015 Q2 report on global wine markets. Oversupply remains a problem.

While EU markets will remain important destinations for Spanish bulk wine, the industry must focus efforts on building market demand outside the EU, stated an earlier RaboBank report, while pointing out, “Spain will need to build stronger brands in international markets and adopt a more consumer-driven marketing focus which will require continued improvement of grower and brand owner alignment”.

Here in Ireland, Spanish wines have enjoyed an increasing profile on our wine market, more than doubling in volume from 4.1 million litres in 2007 to some 8.4 million litres in 2012 according to Euromonitor.

This in turn more than doubled the value of Spanish wines here from €16.1 million to €36.1 million over the five year period.

According to the Spanish Observatory of the wine Market (el Observaratorio Espanol del Mercado del Vino), 2013 saw Ireland importing 7.3% more Spanish wine giving it a 9.9% share of Irish wine imports, up from 6.5% in 2005. This is not all that far off the Irish Wine Association’s own share figure of 11.2% for sales of 8.2 million litres, up from its 2008 share figure of 6.8% for sales of 4.9 million litres.

Not bad for a country where nine out of 10 vineyards lie at altitudes higher than any of France’s major wine regions.


Marqués de Riscal

Nothing says Summer quite like a glass of crisp, chilled white wine and nobody does Summer quite like Marqués de Riscal, believes Marqués’ exclusive distributor here Findlaters Wine & Spirits Group.
Marqués de Riscal is a legendary producer of Rioja, Spain’s most iconic red wine and one of the oldest wineries in the region. But as renowned as it is for producing red, Marqués de Riscal is equally adept at producing stunning wines from Rueda, a region quickly being recognised for producing some of the country’s finest whites.
In fact Marqués de Riscal was instrumental in leading the way in establishing Rueda as an officially-recognised Denominación de Origen in the 70s after recognising its potential for producing incredible white wines thus introducing the world to this region which has now become immensely popular.
Verdejo is Rueda’s signature grape and the Marqués de Riscal Rueda is one of the best examples available.
But in establishing its presence in Rueda, Marqués de Riscal was also the first to introduce Sauvignon Blanc to the area in 1974 with the result being the Marqués de Riscal Rueda Sauvignon Blanc, giving today’s most fashionable grape variety a Spanish twist.
By helping create an enormously successful white wine region and offering two different variants from the area, Marqués de Riscal is the ideal go-to white wine producer for this Summer.




Masi is famous for establishing the ‘ripasso’ tradition with its famous Campofiorin and bringing a historic classic up-to-date with its Costasera Amarone. But lately it has turned its expertise to producing a rosé wine using the same skills as its world-renowned reds.
Made entirely with the native Refosco grape, Rosa dei Masi is produced by semi-drying a portion of these grapes on traditional bamboo racks using the ancient ‘appassimento’ technique, softening out what is often a harsh variety and adding some complexity to the final blend.
The Rosa dei Masi has garnered considerable praise from the Irish press over the last year. The Sunday Business Post’s Tomás Clancy called it “stunning … startlingly good”; Leslie Williams said that it’s “elegant with a touch of complexity” in the Irish Examiner and The Sunday Times’ Martin Moran gave it the thumbs-up.
This Summer, Masi will be introducing a fashionable accessory exclusively for the on-trade for its Rosa dei Masi: based on the ‘candy bags’ currently in vogue, the Rosa dei Masi Ice Bag is suitable for display but also for on-trade service.
Completely water-tight, making it suitable to hold ice and water, it’s embossed with flourishes that echo Rosa dei Masi’s elegant rococo labelling. All the elements, in other words, for a stylish glass of wine al fresco in the sun, Italian-style.
Be sure to ask your Findlater Wine & Spirit Group Wine Specialist for more details.


Three from C&C Gleeson

Raimat Abadia – Chardonnay Albarino

Raimat Abadia Chardonnay.Albarilow

Recognised as Spain’s pre-eminent wine estate, Raimat champions innovation, sustainability and precision agriculture from the new and exciting Costers del Segre wine region. The symbol of Raimat is the union of the vine (raïm, in the Catalan language) and the hand (má).

Cultivated on a number of plots, this is one of Raimat’s more exciting wines, pale yellow in colour with greenish hues. It also has intense aromas of citrus, dried flowers and tropical flavours plus sweeter notes of peach and nectarine to give a long finish with lingering freshness.

A perfect pairing with white meats, fish, seafood, rice and pastas, ideal with Japanese and Thai cuisine, tempuras and grilled vegetables. Serve with aperitifs like octopus salad and olives.


Codorníu Cava Brut

Codorniu Brutlow

Codorníu Raventos is one of the oldest family-run companies and the largest Cava-producing company in the world. Codorníu Raventos is renowned for its quality, consistency & innovation.

Codorníu Cava Brut NV is a true reflection of Codorniu’s traditional cavas and an excellent choice for consumers just discovering cava.

The grapes used in producing Codorníu Cava Brut (Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel-lo) are sourced primarily from the area in DO Cava with the most Mediterranean climate. The ageing process allows the full array of aromas and flavours from the indigenous Spanish varieties to emerge.

The Cava brut is very pale straw yellow in colour with elegant, fine bubbles. On the nose, citrus and almond flowers are prominent.

This easy-drinking Cava is great on its own or as an accompaniment to seafood or light salads.


Terras Do Cigarrón Godello

This Godello is from the Monterrei DO within the Galicia region of Spain. It has a mild Mediterranean climate enhanced by the clear influence of the Atlantic Ocean, perfect for the Godello variety.

The bottle is unique, featuring the drawing of the traditional Cigarron mask of the Entroido of Verin (Carnival in Galicia).

At the carnival, Cigarróns run through the streets brandishing whips and making their unmistakable sound caused by the cow-bells tied to their waists. They’re the real protagonist of the region – “Terras do Cigarron”.

The wine is a yellow colour with lemon hints. On the palate, the wine is intense and upfront with a depth and structure that derives from lees contact and a long, persistent finish.

Perfect with creamy pasta dishes or roast chicken.







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