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-   -   Explaining The Label (https://www.forum.puertopollensa.com/wine-more-wine/99-explaining-label.html)

JH02JLH 03-07-2005 00:34

Explaining The Label
Facing rows of bottles on the supermarket shelves can be a daunting experience!! Where do you start?:eek

Old World wines (i.e. European) give little away making it difficult for anyone to make an informed choice. There are however some clues that we can learn by a little knowledge of the label.


Spanish wines range in quality from:

Vino de Mesa - "Table wine" - normally a blend of different regions. Label may show a brand name, but no regional name, grape variety or vintage year.

Vino de la Tierra - "Country or regional wines". The label will state which region or district the wine comes from and will carry a label on the back with a serial number.

Vinos de Calidad Con Indicacion Geografica - (quality wines with a Geographical decription) - One stage down from a DO (Denominacion de Origen). Wines of this status may apply to be a DO wine after 5 years.

Denominacion de Origen - the main quality wine classification in Spain.

Denominacion de Origen Calificada - Mainly applies to Rioja and since 2002, wines from Priorat.


As well as the quality status Spanish wines also display the period of ageing (if any) the wine has had. This appies to all DO and DOCa wines:

Vino Joven - "Young wine" which may or may not have spent some time in oak before being bottled in the year following the vintage.

Crianza - Wines of at least 2 years old - aged in oak for at least 6 months. Whites and roses must be at least one year old.

Reserva - Wines produced in better years. Reds must have been aged in cask (oak) and bottle for a minimum of 3 years before being released. However, 12 months must be in cask. Whites and roses must be aged for 2 years of which 6 months must be in cask.

Gran Reserva - Wines produced in exceptional vintages. Reds must have spent at least 2 years in cask followed by a further 3 years in the bottle or vice versa. Whites and roses must be aged 4 years with a minimum 6 months in cask.

Hope this helps a little in choosing your wine!

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