Do all these Spanish label designations baffle you?
Spain is the third largest wine producing country (the number one being France, followed by Italy) and has one of the most wide stretching regions of old vines planted on infertile, dry soil. When you visit Spain, you still see a lot of old bush vines that produce authentic, hand-crafted, complex wines, that are indigenous to the region. Spanish wines come in all “stages” of aging – Joven (“young”), Crianza (“caring for”), Reserva and Gran Reserva.
What do those terms mean you ask? Just as France has its stringent rules of qualifications and vinification, Spain does not shy away from it either. The country adheres to the following classification in terms of its aging designations on labels.
Crianza designation on the label has two separate meaning: If it’s designated for a red then the wine should be aged for at least two years with six months or more in oak. For whites (and roses), the aging should be at least one year and six months or more in oak.
Reserva designation on the label adds another year of aging for reds and whites. Thus three for the reds and two years for the whites with six months or more in oak. Generally, Reserva wines are smooth, complex, full-bodied and have great age potential.
Finally, the Gran Reserva designation tops it up a notch. Reds age for at least five years, of which 18 months in oak followed by a minimum of 3 years in bottle. The whites (and roses) age for at least four years of which six months in oak. Gran Reservas are the cream of the crop and made of the best grapes in vineyard. The winemaker only makes Gran Reserva when the vintage is really good. These wines are complex, full-bodied and have greater age potential than Reservas.
So now you know how much work goes into each of these bottles!
(Provided by Velvet Palate.)