This certification program focuses on the important wine regions of Spain. We take the student on a region-by-region tour of Spain’s rapidly changing vineyards and wineries. All aspects of Spanish wines are covered in depth, from soil types and vineyard classification to the most innovative bodegas and newest styles of red, white, and sparkling wines.
Several of the wine regions to be covered:
Halfway between Madrid and Santander, this region near Burgos is the fastest developing wine district in the country and the beneficiary of massive investments in the past few years. Cold nights, sunny days, the highest altitudes of any wine-producing region in Spain, and fertile alkaline soil produce flavorful, award-winning wines. Among the noteworthy individual vineyards is:
In ancient times, thousands of vessels of wine were shipped from this region of Catalonia to fuel the orgies of the Roman Empire. Much of the inspiration for the present industry was developed in the 19th century by French vintners, who found the climate and soil similar to those of Bordeaux. The region produces still wines, as well as 98% of Spain’s sparkling wines (cava), which stand an excellent chance of supplanting French champagne in the minds of celebrants throughout the world. In fact, Freixenet is the largest selling sparkling wine in the world.
Set in the foothills of the Pyrenees close to the French border, La Rioja turns out what most people have in mind when they think of Spanish wines. The region produced millions of gallons during the regime of the ancient Romans, and it boasts quality-control laws promulgated by a local bishop in the 9th century. Here are some of the best vineyards for a visit:
This Celtic outpost in the northwestern corner of Spain produces white wines praised by connoisseurs as the perfect accompaniment to local seafood. The marketing name for the product, appropriately, is El Vino del Mar (Sea Wine), although the Denominación de Origen includes the appellations Rias Baixas and Ribeiro. Per-capita wine consumption in Galicia is the highest in Spain; a majority of the wine produced here was formerly consumed locally. Massive investments during the 1980s changed all that.
Although little more than 20 km from the Catalan Mediterranean coastal plain, Priorato is remote. Few decent roads penetrate this wildly beautiful region whose steep-sided mountains rise quickly to over 1,100m, and travel between its scattered villages can be laborious. The trip is well worth it, as this is one of the top wine regions in the world.