Winewatch: Spanish wines

Globally, Spanish wines had another good year in 2015 with exports up 7.8% in volume and 3.6% in value in the first 10 months of the year according to the Spanish Observatory of Wine Markets, or ‘OeMv’ for short, which goes on to claim that Spain is now the world’s most popular winemaker.

According to the Observatory, sales of Spanish wine will have topped 266 million cases last year – that’s 44 million cases more than France sold although not surprisingly the value of these wines at just $2.8 billion was well down on France’s $8.7 billion figure.

But a growth in bulk shipments of 9.9% coupled with a 10% decline in average prices has helped drive this growth in Spanish wine exports according to RaboBank in its Q1 2016 report.

Nevertheless, bottled wines also enjoyed solid growth of 6.9% driven largely by a 33.8% increase in exports of wines with Protected Geographical Identification.

Exports of the higher-value DOP wines were stable (0.8%) but these enjoyed a solid 4.9% growth in average prices states RaboBank.


Irish market for Spanish wine

At €21.2 million, we spent 24.5% more on Spanish wine (shipped direct) here in Ireland last year than we did in 2014, more than twice the average increase in this market according to the Spanish Observatory of Wine Markets.

And at over 822,000 nine-litre cases (shipped direct) Irish consumers also bought 18.4% more Spanish wine in 2015 than they did in 2014.

According to OeMv, this increase in the value of Spanish wine sales in Ireland was second only to the value growth enjoyed by New Zealand which witnessed a 35% leap in value in 2015 over 2014.

Perhaps being one of the most popular ports of call for Irish holidaymakers abroad, the Irish are comfortable with Spanish wines. Spain lies in fifth place in the list of top wine importing countries of origin to Ireland after Chile, France, Italy and Australia.

Sparkling wine sales from Spain also enjoyed a good year here with imports of Spanish sparklers up 80% in value to over €700,000 and up by 56% in volume to over 33,000 nine-litre cases according to the OeMv.

But the OeMv’s Spanish wine figures for Ireland in 2015 differ markedly from those of our own Irish Wine Association because they refer only to direct shipments here. A good deal of Spanish wine is also imported from UK suppliers where it’s initially landed from Spain, thus swelling the supposed export figure to the UK for Spanish wines.

The real end-user for a significant 190,000-case quantity of this ‘UK’ wine thus landed, is Ireland.

According to the IWA, the world’s second-largest wine exporter by volume and third-largest by value in 2014 has enjoyed steady growth on the Irish market in 2015 going from sales of 257,000 cases in 2000 to 866,430 cases in 2012 and breaking the million case mark in 2014 to hold nearly 12% of the 8.565 million nine-litre case wine market here in 2015 with sales of 1,012,536 nine-litre cases.

“These are estimated figures for all Spanish wine sold in Ireland irrespective of whether it comes directly from Spain,” points out the IWA.


Raimat Abadia Cabernet Sauvignon Tempranillo


Raimat makes all its wines with grapes from its own estate because Raimat backs quality. It knows that only with the choicest grapes can you make a fine wine. Not only is Raimat heavily focused on quality, it’s also dedicated to sustainable practices. Raimat is Spain’s only major winery to have all vineyards sustainably certified.

Sustainable winegrowing enables Raimat to make premium wines, naturally excellent, without straining or altering the environmental balance of the land.

Every cellar has its flagship wine and Abadía epitomises Raimat’s essence. The Raimat Abadia Cabernet Sauvignon Tempranillo is the perfect combination of red fruit, liquorice and spice nuances from the exquisite Tempranillo variety and the opulent Cabernet Sauvignon’s vibrant blackberry, plum and blackcurrant aromas. This wine is 40% Tempranillo and 60% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Raimat Abadia Cabernet Sauvignon Tempranillo is a very versatile wine and one that’s suitable for all occasions. It’s ideal for the classic pairing of meat with red wine as the animal proteins help soften the wine’s tannic structure. It also pairs well with dishes containing cured cheeses, vegetables and all kinds of pastas.


Viña Pomal

vina pomal reservalow

Viña Pomal is one of Spain’s most outstanding traditional wines. The excellent features of the estate-owned vineyard, the careful selection of the grapes – 100% Tempranillo – and the painstaking aging process in American oak barrels, result in the unique style of Viña Pomal, a standard-bearer for Rioja wines.

As well as its size, the vineyard stands out due to the proximity of the winery itself which is quite unique within the Rioja region. It’s a factor which enhances quality, reducing the transit time between picking and delivery to the winery. The land is made up of different soil types including lime, marl and sand (unique in the northern area of the Rioja Alta) and combined climates, with gentle Mediterranean conditions influenced by Atlantic weather patterns, producing excellent harvests which are perfect for making crianza wines.

The Viña Pomal Rioja Reserva Rioja is a deep picota cherry red with an intense ruby rim. Intense and elegant on the nose, with floral notes and red fruit, these blend with sweet spices and roasted coffee.

This wine makes a perfect pairing with rice dishes, vegetables, venison and red meats.


Bodegas Valdemar – Conde Valdemar Rosado 2015

Conde Valdemarlow

Bodegas Valdemar, one of the most internationally respected Rioja houses, has introduced Conde Valdemar Rosada to its range for the Summer season – its most symbolic Rosado with a deep, strawberry rose colour that’s bright and lively.

The Valdemar Rosada is a delightful wine to be enjoyed on its own, as an aperitif or paired with grilled vegetables, pasta and salads. Its 30 year-old vine Grenache (85%) berries deliver delicate aromas with fresh, floral and red berry notes and the Tempranillo (15%) gives the wine a quality silkiness in the mouth. The combination of these two grapes produces a well-balanced fruity wine with a long finish and a savoury edge.

All Valdemar wines are estate-bottled, made solely with grapes grown on its own land. The estate of Bodegas Valdemar in Oyón, Rioja, Alavesa, is a family-owned company with roots going back to 1869. The winery is one of the most modern and technologically advanced wineries in Europe. It owns over 400 hectares of vineyards with nine different grape varieties planted to the three sub-regions of the Rioja DOC. It’s a dynamic company and has been a pioneer in developing new styles of wines in Rioja and Spain.



Nothing says Summer quite like a glass of crisp, chilled white wine and nobody does the Summer quite like Marqués de Riscal, a legendary producer of Spain’s most iconic red wine, Rioja and one of the oldest wineries in the region.

Riscal Summer Wineslow

But as renowned as it is for producing red Rioja, 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. As is typical from Verdejo, it has high aromatic intensity with tropical fruit and hints of fennel and fresh grass.
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 that the Marqués de Riscal Rueda Sauvignon Blanc gives today’s most fashionable grape variety a Spanish twist which offers fresh grass and abundant citrus fruits, pineapple and melon.
By helping to 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.
Marqués de Riscal is exclusively distributed in Ireland by Findlater Wine & Spirit Group.


Bodegas Torres, Ireland’s Number 1 Spanish wine brand, has continued its unprecedented run in Drinks International’s annual ‘World’s Most Admired Wine Brands’ rankings by becoming the top European winery for a sixth year in a row, the only brand to achieve such an accolade as well as coming second overall.

According to the magazine, “Torres has an impeccable track record with this list – it has never been out of the top two and this year is no different”.
And for the second year running Torres Brandy has been listed among the Top 10 preferred brandy and Cognac brands by the world’s best bars and cocktail establishments, according to Drinks International.

This rounds-off an incredible run of accolades for Jaime I, Torres’s 30 year-old brandy which was named the world’s best brandy at the World Drinks Awards 2015, the best Spanish brandy with a double Gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2015 and more recently a double Gold at the CINVE 2016 International Wine and Spirits Competition.
Finally, this year has also seen Torres continue to refresh the look of some of its most popular and notable wines with a fresh new look now complete for its famous San Valentín range, its tempranillo-based Coronas, the aromatic Viña Esmeralda and Ireland’s favourite de-alcoholised wine Natureo.
As always with Torres there’s lots more to come, so the famous family winery can be expected to go from strength-to-strength into 2016 and beyond.
Torres is distributed by Findlater Wine & Spirit Group.



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