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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Saying 'Aged in Oak' in Spanish

From the time that we spent in California wine country we learned a lot about Sonoma, Napa, Central Coast, Valley of the Moon and all of the other appellations. From there it wasn't too big a stretch to Oregon and Washington.

We could ride our bike to wineries along the Russian River, where we learned much about each grape, every winery, the differences between the valleys and even changes from one vineyard to the next.

But we admittedly have a lot to learn about the nuances of French, Spanish and Australian wine and wineries. So it might come as a shock that we never knew what "Crianza" meant on the label of some Spanish wines.
It means that the red wine has spent a minimum of six months in oak barrels — and in the case of a wine from Rioja, 12 months in wood casks.

For wines that had not been aged in oak, the slightly derogatory term used to be sin crianza. But in the last 10 years, that term has been replaced by joven. The Sabor Real Toro red we recently reviewed included "joven" on its hind label. It would not be uncommon to find the term on value wines from Spain. It doesn't mean they're no good. It just means that they're not as complex, which makes sense, right?

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