The days when people thought that decent wines could only come from France are long gone but French wines still account for one third of all bottles sold in the UK and enjoy over 50% share of the UK On Trade Market. Some producers are listening to the changing demands of the marketplace however, hence the recent success of Vin de Pays, many of which are based on grape varietals and have a “New World” appearance. These are always worth a try – most are brilliant and offer very good value for money.
Amongst Europe’s largest wine producers Spain provides an enormous range of wines which represent excellent value, from the Cavas of Penedes, the Riojas and the huge region of La Mancha in the arid centre of Spain which provides much of the everyday drinking wine. Quality has improved enormously since the 1970’s with cool fermentation and stainless steel allowing fresher and crisper wines to be made in spite of the high summer temperatures.Rioja remains the most popular and widely consumer wine from Spain with its soft fruity style and lightly oaky nose.