When we think about Spanish wine Rioja is probably the one most people associate with Spain so it might surprise you to know that La Rioja has over 47,000 hectares of vines compared to Castilla-La Mancha with over 474,000 hectares. A little unfair you might say, as the region of Castilla is far greater than that of La Rioja, but true.
Why should it be that wherever we are in Spain when in a bar and we ask for a red wine – Rioja? That is usually what we get. It isn´t always the case though, on a trip to Castilla-La Mancha, Quixote´s windmill country we asked for just that ´dos vinos tintos, Rioja?´ The waiter was not very amused. Here in La Mancha we serve wines from La Mancha we were told. That is what we got, a very nice local Tempranillo. We now know to ask what is a good local red.
Wineries on the Wine Route Condado de Huelva
Heading south to the 30,000 hectares dedicated to producing wine in the region of Andalucia and to the far west corner and possibly least known province – Huelva with the Designation of Origin (D.O) Condado de Huelva and its 6,000 hectare of vineyards.
This D.O (granted in 1979) with its micro climate of warm summers and mild winters grows its native Zalema grape but also Moscatel de Alejandria, Garrido Fino, Listan de Huelva, Palomino Fino and Pedro Ximenez. There are thirteen wineries on the Wine Route Condado de Huelva
Bodegas Iglesias – founded in 1935 in an 18th century convent. Visits and tastings.
Bodegas Sauci -Founded in 1925, multi-award winning. Visits and tastings.
Bodegas Virgen del Rocio – Founded in 2000, a union of three old cooperatives, grows mainly Zalema grapes.
Bodegas Marques de Villalua – Founded in 2000. First selection of grape done mauallly.
Bodegas Andrade -Founded in 1885, with over 140 hectares and two wineries. Tours, tastings, visitor centre and lunches.
Bodegas Diaz – Founded in 1955. Online and on site shop.
Bodegas Doñana – Founded first half of 20th century.
Bodegas del Nuestra Séñora del Socorro – Founded first half of 20th century. Online store.
Bodegas Contreras Ruiz – Founded 1918. Guided visits.
Bodegas del Diezmo Nuevo
As well as many bodegas or wineries offering visits and tastings there is a Centro del Vino – Wine centre for visitors in Condado-Campiña, an interesting and informative visit with a shop selling a huge variety of the local wine, brandy and vinegar.
Orange Wine from Huelva
Vino Naranja or Orange Wine also comes from the D.O Condado de Huelva it is Spain’s only flavored wine with a Denomination of Origin. This sweet wine is made by macerating thin, sun-dried bitter orange slices with a base wine in a ratio of 96% wine alcohol for at least 6 months. It is then filtered, added to the base wine and matured for at least two years, so it isn´t a wine made from orange but flavoured by oranges. Several of the above wineries make rather delicious Orange Wine.
This one from Bodegas Diaz is just one I sampled while on the Tasty Andalucia blog trip, if you like sweet wine you´ll probably like orange wine.