Denominación de Origen (DO)
In Spain the Minister of Agriculture is in charge of the “denominacion” system. Here is a summary of the different classes and types of wines in Spain.
“Denominación de Origen Calificada”(DOC): These vineyards have already been recognized as “Denominacion de Origen” for over ten years and its supplier chain needs to be in the geographic delimited area. It cannot coexist with any other wine and it is subject to a meticulous verification process. This is the highest ranking in Spain. Currently there are only two areas with this designation, Rioja and Priorat. Under this denomination, it is necessary that 100% of the grapes be produced in the region, and that the land of the vineyards must be properly recorded in cartography.
“Denominación de Origen” (DO): these wines are guaranteed to have the geographical and human impute of a region in its totality; they need to have been qualified as wine of high quality for over five years.
“Vinos de Calidad con Indicación Geográfica” (VCIG): these wines are guaranteed to be from a specific area, and hence, having the geographical and human factors of the region. However, it has not yet been given a denomination status. An 85% of the grapes have been grown in the region and they were subject to environmental conditions examination.
Both denominations require that the grapes varieties be obtained from Vitis Vinifera, which is a Mediterranean vine that has been known to humans since the Neolithic period.
“Vinos De Pago” (VP): Pago is the term used in Spain to describe vineyards. Hence, this wine is subject to the administration of specific vineyards that can be recognized as “Pagos Calificados” (VPQ). They need to be registered and to comply with the “Denominación de Origen” from the Ministry of Agriculture.
“Vinos de La Tierra” (VDLT): This midterm qualification guarantees regional characteristics, but the wines are not yet registered with the “Denominación de Origen”.
“Vinos de Mesa”: This type of wine has been delimited for its environmental characteristics that confer the wine with a specific characteristic. It can include up and coming vineyards, as well as experimental wines of well-known vineyards.
General Practical Classification of Spanish Wines
Vino Tranquilo: they can have between 9 to 14 degrees of alcohol.
Vino Blanco: it has been obtained from white grapes of separated red grapes without their skin.
Vino Tinto: it has been obtained from red grapes none separated from their skin, which is left in the macerating process.
Vino Cava o Espumoso: Its elaboration process is similar to that of the Champagne.
Vino De Aguja: it is a slow bubbling wine with a similar production to the “cava”.
In Spain, wines can be classified for their aging process in three categories.
Vinos Jóvenes: These young wines need to be consumed around 3 to 18 months from the vintage. They posses a similar flavors to the fruits.
Crianza: They have been aged for a maximum of 6 months in barrels, and 2 years in bottles. They are often red wines, but some white ones can be found and very rarely some pink (rosé).
Reserva: these wines have been aged for 2 years in barrels, and 3 years in bottles.
Gran Reserva: These wines have been aged for up to 2 years in barrels and up to 5 years in bottle.
Wines can also be classified for their sweetness content.
Vinos Secos: they contain no more than 5 grams of sugar per litre.
Vinos Semi Secos: they can contain between 5 to 15 grams of sugar per litre.
Vinos Avocados: they contain between 15 to 30 grams of sugar per litre.
Vinos Semi Dulces: they contain between 30 and 50 grams of sugar per litre.
Vinos Dulces: They contain over 50 grams of sugar per litre.
Look for the DO logo on the bottle and have fun tasting Alicante Wines and see you soon.