SPAIN & PORTUGAL
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STATION SAYS: Spanish wine is like the Spanish themselves, moorish, exciting & fun. Franco destroyed wine in Spain. Like most murderous despots he was no fun and believed wine to be for the sacrament only. He grubbed up ancient vineyards and replaced them with high-yielding varieties. Thankfully he died and a process of rejuvenation began. Rioja was the first region to achieve DOC status, with Priorat following in the 90’s. Ribera del Duero has been an ever present source of serious reds, and the region of Galicia has become en vogue through the varieties of Godello (white) and Mencia (red). Sherry is an old fashioned style that always seems to be on the way back. Forget Harveys Bristol cream - that was a construct for the Brit market - true Sherry is made in a range of styles through solera & biological ageing. The Baleric and Canary Islands are also producing more and more exciting wine that is finally reaching foreign markets.
Portugese wine was also impacted by dictatorship and when it joined the EU in the 80’s it moved power away from the big companies and cooperatives, to smaller growers. Famous for Port, only a certain amount of this famous fortified sweet wine can be produced, leaving a lot of fruit for still reds. Portugese red wine is generally big and meaty, centered in Douro and Dao. they also make fantastic dry whites, the most famous area being Vinho Verde. The island of Madeira is responsible for some of the longest lived wines in the world.