Old-style typically defines heavy, overly alcoholic and oxidated red wine. New-style reds are described as huge, serious and rich. Somewhere in between those definitions are the best traditional-style wines [source: Stevenson].
The classic grape from the region is Garnacha Tinta (also called Grenache). Other grapes include Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan (also known as Carinera or Mazuelo), Grenache blanc (Garnacha blanca), Merlot, Mourvedre (Monastrell), Pedro Ximenez, Syrah and Viura (Macabeo). The region produces more red wine than white wine. Spanish labels on white wine will often include descriptions of how sweet a particular wine is.
You might find handy a cheat sheet of Spanish words translated into English or more detailed descriptions when trying to select a bottle from the region. Consider printing out the following:
- Brut is used to describe a dry sparkling wine.
- Seco means "dry;" semi-seco means "medium dry."
- Semidulce means "medium sweet;" and dulce "means sweet."
- Blanco means "white."
- Tinto means "red."
- For sparkling wines, espumoso is made by any method; cava is made by the same method as champagne from France and is a higher quality.
- Vino de aguja is a semi-sparkling wine.
- Rosado seco is a dry rosé.
- Tintillo is a light red wine.
- Claret lies somewhere between light red and a dark rosé.
- Cosechero translates as "wine of the year."
- Nuevo means "fresh, fruity or new-style."
- Viejo means "old."
- Generoso is a fortified or dessert wine.
- Vino de mesa is table wine.
- Vino de pasto is inexpensive "ordinary" wine [source: Stevenson].
Don't worry, you won't be tested on these words, but knowing them will only benefit you as you search for that perfect wine. Need more help? Look at the suggested wines below from the region, and enjoy.
- Bodegas Alvaro Palacios: Finca Dofi, Clos l'Ermita, Las Terrasses
- Rene Barbier fill: Clos Mogador
- Clos Erasmus
- Costers del Siurana: Clos de l'Obac, Miserere
- Masia Barril
- De Muller
- Scala Dei: Cartoixa, El Cipres, Novell
- Vinicola del Priorato: Mas d'Albe, Onix [source: Stevenson]
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