200 Monges Reserva 2010: 3 Qualities That Make Spanish Wine Truly Great
What are the qualities that make Spanish wine great?
- Native grape varieties
- The unique variety of Spanish wine
- Quality control is of utmost importance
When it comes to wine, Spain is usually not the first country that comes to mind with France and Italy usually taking the top spot. However, what most people don’t know is that Spain is one of the leading producers of wine in the world. Not only that, winemaking in Spain also has a long and rich history with viticulture (the cultivation and harvesting of grapes) having been known to exist since 3000 BC. What this really means is that Spanish wine in the Philippines gives you a taste of the old world.
With that said, let’s take a look at one of the special Spanish wines Alcoline has on offer and then look into some important details that make Spanish wine so special.
Introducing the 200 Monges Reserva 2010
The 200 Monges Reserva captures the very essence of what it means to be a premium Spanish wine because of its many different qualities that stay true to Spanish winemaking and tradition. Aside from that, it is produced in one of the most renowned winemaking regions in Spain, Rioja.
In terms of its vinification, it is made with a strict selection of three grape varieties that are all manually harvested: 85% Tempranillo (a famous Spain-native grape), 10% Graciano, and 5% Garnache. The grapes that are used are partially, if not totally, destemmed. They are then fermented in Allier oak vats for about 11 days and then left in contact with the oak skins for another 25 days to extract the right amount of tannins. Tannin is a bitter-tasting yellow or brownish substance that is naturally present in oak which gives wine some bitter flavors.
Once the 200 Monges is finished, it is further aged in new barrels made of French and American oak for a minimum of 20 months. After it is bottled the wine spends another 16 months or so in the cellars of the winemakers before being shipped out to multiple markets across the globe — an impressive achievement as you would come to find out.
The 200 Monges has a red cherry color with a dark garnet rim that is accompanied by a sophisticated and refined taste. Fruity aromas from cherries, picotas, and wild blackberries abound along with hints of fine oak. Once it enters your mouth, the mouthfeel is friendly but expressive — showing a good balance between a fresh acidity, fine bitterness, and an ever so subtle touch of sweetness.
Specifically, for the vintage 2010, 230 oak barrels of 225 liters were selected, with 130 coming from American oak and the other 100 from French oak. This ratio ensures the best quality wine that is bottled in standard (.75 liters), magnum (1.5 liters), and double magnum (3 liters) bottles. Last but not least, the optimal serving temperature 17-18 °C
Now that you understand the whole process and taste that comes with the 200 Monges Reserva 2010, it is time to take a look at why Spanish wine is on par with all of its contemporaries.
Native grape varieties give them a distinct taste
Spain has a plethora of native grape varieties, as many as 600, that help make the many types of wine that can be found in the country. However, all major production is based on something like 20% of 600. Each of these grapes has subtle, unique flavors that combine for wine tastes.
Some of the most widely-used varieties include: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Graciano, Moscatel, Palomino, and Prieto Picudo.
The unique variety of Spanish wine
Given that Spain has produced vino (Spanish for wine) for more than a millennium, the country has developed different winemaking techniques that produce some of the wine that you know and love as well as a unique variety that can only be made in certain locations in Spain.
Spanish winemakers call the red wines that they produce “tinto”, a word that means “tinted” or “stained”. The 200 Monges Reserva is an example of vino tinto and a great choice at that.
If you are not familiar with rose wine, it is a type of wine that incorporates some of the color from the grape skins which is why it usually has a light, pinkish tinge. The Spanish call this vinos rosados or simply rosados.
If you are a white wine kind of person, then the vinos blancos is for you. This is the Spanish version of white wine.
Meanwhile, if you’re a fan of sparkling wine, then you’ll enjoy vinos espumosos. Espumosos is the general term for all sparkling wines from Spain. There is a special kind of espumoso called “Cava” which can be likened to champagne, the very famous French sparkling wine, thanks to their similar production process.
Last but not least, you have the sherry. Also called Jerez, Sherry wines are fortified wines that come from the Jerez de la Frontera municipality of the province of Cadiz, Andalusia. Made primarily from Palomino grapes, there are many varieties of sherry and most of them are higher in alcohol content than traditional wines. Some variants of sherry have even aged for decades.
Quality control is of utmost importance
One thing that ensures the quality of Spanish wine is its complex and strict classification system that is governed and enforced by country and region-wide laws. In general, the lower quality wines are sold only within Spain and are not allowed to be exported worldwide.
That being said, here are 2 types of wine that can be found only within Spain:
- Vino de Mesa (VDM) – Spanish table wines that are made from average vintages and average to low-quality fruits.
- Vino de la Tierra (VdlT) – A step above VDM, these low-priced wines don’t meet the country’s standard in terms of blend, age, fruit yield, and general quality to be considered premium.
- Vinos de Calidad con Indicación Geográfica – This is one step below true premium quality status, but one step above the less stringent Vino de la Tierra on the ‘quality ladder’.
As we continue to go up the quality ladder, in terms of Spanish wine, there are strict guidelines enforced by Spanish laws that separate Premium from the previously mentioned types.
Denominación de Origen
Most, if not all, of the Spanish wines that are available outside of Spain are Denominación de Origen (DO) wines or higher. Each winemaking region of Spain has its own regulations in terms of quality indicators for DO wines. The Consejos Reguladores are the governing body that set standards, grade vintages, and control labeling laws that winemakers have to abide by in order to have their wines labeled DO.
Denominación de Origen Calificada
A level above DO is Denominación de Origen Calificada. The 200 Monges Reserva is an example of this which is a testament to its quality. A national committee decides if a region qualifies for DoC status and determines which regions meet the criteria for being a DoC wine. Only two Spanish regions are currently considered DoC status, Priorat and Rioja, the region where the 200 Monges Reserva is made. That being said, DoC wines tend to be more expensive and hard to get than DO wines.
Now that you are well-acquainted with Spanish wine and the 200 Monges Reserva, you are that much closer to becoming a wine connoisseur. Click here to see Alcoline’s offer on 200 Monges and here to check out our other Spanish wines.