The Wines of Asturias – Part 2

We continue our wine tour through the hills and mountains of Asturias to discover even more about these great boutique wines. The production of wine in this rather inhospitable area of northern Spain is to say the lease difficult. Many of the vineyards are located on terracing due to the terrain and this leads to a very labor-intensive form of wine making. Because the vineyards are on fairly small plots, the wine production is kept to fairly low batches. This means that the wines produced are of a very high quality and are highly sought after.

The Grapes

One of the most difficult problems in producing wine in mountainous areas such as the Cangas region, is getting grapes to actually grow. Only certain species of grapes are hardy enough to survive in such conditions and the natural varieties include, Albarin Negro, Verdejo Negro, Carrasquin, and Albarin Blanco. Most of the wineries in Asturias are family run concerns and independent, this means that extra care is put into the making of the wines from this area. The wines are handcrafted from the nurturing and caring of the grapes to the picking and harvesting of the fruit. All is done by hand with love, which means these wines are limited editions and very special indeed.

However, not having the economies of scale that major wine producers have, the wines of Asturias are more expensive. Transportation, bottling, labeling, marketing are all more expensive as it is done on a small scale, so don’t expect cheap supermarket prices for this wine.

Visiting the Wineries

Some of the vineyards in Asturias are happy to accept visitors who want to learn about their wine, but unlike the major estates don’t expect grand driveways and acres and acres of vineyards as far as the eye can see. Most of the wine production in Asturias is little more than one or two small vineyards together with some farm buildings used for the production. Many of the wine producers in this region will send their wine away to be pressed and bottled as their yield is so small they cannot afford the equipment to do this. However if you do venture on the paths less trodden then you can have a truly unique wine experience.

You can see how small production wine making is really a labor of love, talk to the man who actually raises and cares for the grapes and learn all about the wine he makes and how he does it. Then sample one or two glasses of his produce to finish the whole experience. At the moment a real concerted effort is being made in Asturias to reclaim and recover old vineyards and to introduce new varieties of grapes. This is in tandem with making Cangas wines more popular around the world and easier to obtain.

At the moment the vast majority of wines produced in this area are for home consumption and it is easy to see why. There is not much excess production for export, but the new program of expansion may change things in the future, time will tell.