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closing the spanish campogate

A heart-felt piece here.

I always think wtf (sorry…) when I hear of Spain being an ‘up-and-coming’ wine-region; I mean, how lazy is that? It simply suggests to me that I can’t trust what the writer is going to type next. Ryan’s Catavino piece (above) simply paints a picture of a region (sorry, country) with wine-styles so diverse that people around the world haven’t the basic knowledge to buy a Spanish wine, and that’s clearly not helped by producers that have clutched in desperation at every available style, process and presentation.

The essential problem is that people think of Spanish wine as an entity, and while you might also hear the phrase ‘French wine’, buyers of French wine are usually buying Burgundy or Bordeaux (or even Loire…!) with a decent idea of what it will taste like and really don’t consider ‘French wine’ an entity. Most people would be hard-pressed to come up with a Spanish wine region other than Rioja – here’s the nub of problem facing ‘Spanish wine’ – Pancho might not have been the solution but he clearly wasn’t the problem.

Perhaps Spanish wine really needs a bunch of MW business-men and women, but with their hands more on their hearts than in the tills, resolute about each region they represent and able to showcase a consistent style in their region – without consistency they will continue to have problems selling their wares. The local wine critics need also to be a part of the solution; criticising Neal Martin (that’s even a Spanish name isn’t it?) as the WA’s new man in Spain as ‘biased’, because several years ago he had the gaul (sorry, that’s not in Spain) to publish his experience of several sub-standard bottles, is not really part of any solution is it?

Let’s see what happens, but the country has to offer engagement and focus if it is to be a success in the market – quality is only an entry-ticket to the game – with Neal Martin I can’t think of another wide-circulation writer who offers such opportunity for real engagement, but I remain worried about the focus…

[Yes I have a cold – maybe another day or two before I exercise my corkscrew!]

One response to “closing the spanish campogate”

  1. Rick Dalia

    There are some very good wines from Spain (I’ll avoid using the term “Spanish wines”), but I wish it were better. I see a region trying to please the score-keepers, even more traditional producers making wines with a more international flair. While there is certainly a place for this, the bottles are not cheap. Why would I spend $60 on a bottle of XYZ Rioja with 92 points when I can buy a respectable, even fine, 1er Gevrey which shows much better character. I was recently at a tasting featuring one of Rioja’s older producers and I’d have to say overall I was disappointed in the style of wines being featured. I did buy a case of the lovely 2001 “traditional” Rioja, however.

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

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