Day 2 Judging at the International Wine & Spirits Competition 2014.
I was delighted today to see that there were so many Vino de la Tierra (VdlT) wines entered in this year’s competition.
No longer the wannabe DOs of yesteryear these areas of Spanish Wine Production now have nothing to prove!
If you look in any Spanish Wine books of perhaps 15 years ago, certainly 20 yrs ago – you’ll see that VdlT was considered to be a class under the esteemed Denominaciónes de Origen. Quite good, but not quite good enough to make it to the top echelon!
In the pioneering intervening years this has all changed. There are some bodegas in recognised DOs, and indeed some DOs, who stubbornly still believe that only Denominaciónes de Origen make the real top wines of Spain they would do well to look at the French wine model of some years ago.
This head-in-the-sand mentality lost the French considerable market-share when New World wines started infiltrating Europe! The Spanish DOs had better not make the same mistake.
It is true, of course, that there are many excellent DO wines in Spain – but there is also poor quality, sometimes all the way down to dross! Wines which are legally correct in portraying the epithet ‘DO etc’ on their labels, as they adhere to all the rules (probably!), but which are really not at all representative of the quality that is required.
Consumers are slowly catching on, led, it has to be said, by the extranjeros, the foreigners living in Spain, like the British, Germans, Scandinavians etc who are not bound by machismo ethics or loyalty – we just want to drink good quality wines!
Often the extranjeros are also more clued up re wine appreciation as well, as there are many column inches (centimeters?), radio and TV programmes that include a wine element in their home countries.
Vino de la Tierra wines are filling that gap and I’m pleased to see that some of these wines will be winning highly prized IWSC medals in this year’s competition, which will ignite sales and spur on others in VdlT areas to continue to improve their wine-making skills and therefore the finished product, and to enter next year’s competition.
And tomorrow at the IWSC? Will the DOs fight back? Let’s see!