Friday, 23 August 2013

Red Wines from the Sherry Zone

Plantations of red grapes in Cadiz have doubled in the last decade, now covering 400 hectares which are producing 20 successful brands of red table wine. This wine which is excellent cannot call itself Sherry, naturally, but goes under the title of Indicacion Geografico Protegido or Vino de la Tierra de Cadiz – as does much white table wine. Of course, with the white wines there is plenty of experience, but the reds are comparatively new, and are still finding their feet.

There is an native red grape, however, grown in Cadiz for centuries, and that is the Tintilla (de Rota). It was almost extinct, covering barely 3 hectares, until it earned a place in the Vino de la Tierra appellation. Tintilla de Rota, a fortified sweet red wine, has all but disappeared (except for Gonzalez Byass releasing one recently), and the grape finds itself in blends. Table wine production has grown roughly in line with Sherry’s decline, and there are reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy in the air which might benefit them.

At the end of 2012, there were about 90 ha of Tempranillo, Syrah 63 ha, Cabernet Sauvignon 60 ha, Merlot 48 ha,Tintilla 23 ha, Petit Verdot 10ha. Garnacha and Cabernet Franc also have a presence. The vineyards are mostly owned by three big companies; Gonzalez Byass, Barbadillo and Taberner, each with around 65 hectares, but there are lots of small yet successful holdings of between 2 and 5 hectares as well. These are helped by the Junta de Andalucia, which gives them not only technical and analytical help via the Viticultural Station, but also experience gained at the Rancho de la Merced and help with paperwork. This help is vital to their success. 

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