Wine culture in Spain is very old and deeply rooted. It may come as a surprise to many that wine in Spain is treated more as a food than as an alcoholic beverage. We rarely see Spaniards drinking a glass of Spanish wines without being accompanied by a hearty ration of food.
The tradition of Spanish wine
In the old days it was very normal once a year to go to the village winery or the nearest one and stock up on Spanish wines for the whole year, this meant many liters of wine. Taking into account that no meal should be without a glass of wine, especially Spanish red wine.
Another curiosity is the containers that are used when drinking wine, it is rare that Spaniards drink wine in a glass at meals, the most normal is to drink it in flat glasses, called "chatos" or "txikitos" in the Basque country. It is also very normal to go to a bar and ask for a "chato", normally they will serve you a house wine, this is usually a young Spanish red wine. And we are sure that you will be pleasantly surprised and also its price.
Other curious ways of drinking wine in Spain are the "bota" or the "porrón", now almost in disuse, but still used by the older ones.
The wine "bota" is a container made of goatskin. It is used to transport and keep the wine fresh. Normally it was used by men when they went out to the countryside, either hunting or to take care of their animals.
On the other hand, the "Porrón", is a glass jar with a shape designed to drink without touching the container with the mouth, in this way it can be shared among several people without the need to use glasses.
Consumption of Spanish wines
Spanish is one of the largest wine regions with lots of denominación de origen and grape variety. For so many years of history around this juice, the Spanish have certain traditions and time to drink wine.
One of the most surprising moments for foreigners to have a "chato" of wine is mid-morning, around 12 am, taking into account that in Spain people don't eat until 2 or 3 pm. This break in the middle of the morning is accompanied by a small glass of wine and some food, in the best case maybe a tapa of Spanish omelette. If you are in Spain or planning to go there soon, do not hesitate to go into a bar and order a wine and a tapa, sit down and enjoy.
On the other hand, the times when Spaniards never drink wine are in nightclubs or pubs. As we have already mentioned, wine is closely linked to food and is usually consumed together.
Spanish wine & gastronomy
Wine is undoubtedly the ideal match for food and this has been known in Spain for centuries. In the Spanish wine regions, such as La Rioja o Ribera del Duero, they make red wines that will be consumed in hundreds of homes at lunch and dinner time.
Many Spaniards drink a wine called table wine on a daily basis. It is a wine without denomination of origin, but they usually have good quality and good price, which results in that it can be purchased in large quantities. It is usually a blend Spanish wine, with different grape varieties like, Tempranillo grapes, Graciano, Mazuelo, and Grenache...
Another curiosity is that in Spanish restaurants there is the called menu del día, which includes a starter, a main course and a dessert, and do not be surprised when I tell you that it also includes Spanish wine, sometimes they leave the bottle and you can serve yourself as many glasses as you want all for a price between $12-15.
In the south of Spain it is also very popular to get one of the famous Tapas for free when you order a wine.
Traditional Spanish food is usually very copious, so it is normal to accompany it with a red wine. It should also be noted that in the years of scarcity wine provided nutrients to those who had to perform hard work. It was not surprising that in the mid-morning break people who worked in the countryside ate only a little bread dipped in Spanish red wine that gave them all the energy they needed to continue their work.
The traditions change over time but some are so deeply rooted that they remain. In this case, wine is inextricably linked to the Spanish people. The wine production, as well as the styles of wine, has been changing over time, but always combining innovation and tradition to obtain the best Spanish wines, whether red wine, white wine, rosé wines or sparkling wine (cava).
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