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Surprising New Wines from Old-World Spain

Grape growing and winemaking in Spain need little introduction. Spain is an ancient wine-producing country second only to France and Italy in production. Spanish wine is at least 3,000 years old, with vines in the Sherry region planted around 1100 BC (although the Islamic Moors put a stop to it for nearly 800 years until their defeat in 1492).

But international recognition was slow to come to Spain. The Franco regime—which was rumored to have drunk mostly French wines—did nothing to rebuild the traditions or improve the quality; in fact, the regime retarded innovation and the development of modern winemaking techniques that had swept through the rest of Europe. For this reason, most American consumers have never tasted a Spanish wine and are confused by the labels and quality laws. Since the 1970s, though, there has been an influx of new thinking, equipment and winemaking.

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