Spanish Wine Age Categories

It seems as though when I’m ready to write a post, I’m super sleepy. Here I am on a Saturday night, not yet 11 pm and exhaustion wants to take over. But as they say, there’s no rest for the wicked, so let’s get down to business.

I am currently having a glass of this wine shown below.

wine from Yecla DO in Spain

Very good value wine: $10.49 at the BC Liquor Store. I thought it would be in the $15 range when I tried it blind.

I recalled something about the age being indicated on the label for Spanish wines, but as you can see for yourself, I wasn’t crazy when I didn’t find that on this bottle. Although, based on the current year (2013) and the vintage year shown on the label (2012) we can conclude this is a Joven wine.

Joven wine or young wine has spent very little time in oak, if any even, before it was bottled in the year following the vintage. It’s meant to be consumed right away.

Why would you want to know how long a wine has aged in oak? Because oak affects the structure of the wine. According to the WSET 3 book, oak is “primarily used to add tannins.” Tannins are a contributing factor to how well a wine ages in the bottle, plus tannins are sometimes desired, especially when eating a rib eye. Also, extracted from the oak are aromas such as toast, vanilla, and smokiness. The longer a wine is aged in oak, the stronger its influence.

The other age categories defined by Spanish law are:

Crianza Spanish wine

This wine was aged for at least 24 months and 6 of these months were in small oak barrels.

Crianza – Red wine is aged for at least 2 years and 6 months of this time are spent in small oak barrels. White and roses are aged for at least 1.5 years, and no oak ageing required.

Reserva – Wines from selected vats or vintages. Red wine is aged for 3 years minimum and one of these years must be aged in oak. White and roses are aged at least 1.5 years, of which 6 months are in small oak barrels.

Gran Reserva – You’ll only see this on a label if the vintage was an outstanding year. Red wine has to be aged for at least 5 years and 1.5 of these years in small oak barrels. White and rose wines are aged for at least 4 years, of which 6 months are in small oak barrels.

Ok, now that I’m done writing, I’m no longer sleepy. What’s up with that? Well, the remaining wine in the bottle is calling my name. Cheers!

Follow me on Twitter @VinoVanny.

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