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Alliance’s Spanish portfolio is all about rising stars - extraordinary wines from amazing winemakers who are at the top of their game.

One of the three big European producers, Spain has been tantalising us for many years with its potential. A large country with many different climates and regions - not to mention as many grape varieties as Italy if only we could identify them! Yet it has never quite caught the consumer's attention in the way that its neighbours have. Maybe it's because of the dominance of large wineries, or is it that the appreciation of Italian flair for design or the French vigneron's confidence has prejudiced the consumer against Spain over the years?

Nowadays however, spurred on by its reputation for great food, the younger generations of growers (note growers, not bodegas) are confident in their land and in their fruit, so that they do not need to bury it under lashings of American oak. As a result, we find a country vibrating with enthusiasm for individuality and expression in its wines. There is a very strong sense that we are now studying the vineyards and the fruit grown there far more intently, rather than the techniques in the winery.

If the past has always been about the elaboration of the wine in the bodega, exemplified by the Rioja classification system (Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva), then the present is about the grower and his vineyards. It is, as if, the people who do least in the winery are the most cherished.  They are the ones who have worked hardest in the vineyard to ensure that they receive great fruit, needing little encouragement to express its character. Look at the wines from growers like Abel Mendoza, working painstakingly in Rioja, Laurent Corrio and Irene Alemany in the Penèdes (still part of Spain as we write), Ana Quintela at Pazo Senorans in Rias Baixas, Anna and Jurgen at Capçanes, you find this same attitude and attention to nature. This also extends to the larger scale producers such as Victor Manzanos who is increasingly exploring the expression of single vineyard wines amongst other projects. In Spain, no longer do we shout 'roll out the barrel' - It is all about the vineyard these days.