There's a first time for everything and finally, after many failed attempts, I got to experience Spain this past January.
I know, while it seems like an obvious place for an early landing by any respectable wine guy, I just never got around to exploring what I discovered was one of the most liquidly lucrative countries on the planet.
The Spaniards love their vinos with an appreciation that just might surpass their counterparts in France and Italy. What really excited me - especially in the major wine regions – was that you'd be hard pressed to find a tapas bar packed with anyone other than wine drinkers.
The city of Logroño in the province of La Rioja (pronounced Ree-oka) sold me on the level of Spanish wine appreciation. Its older city centre is known for a wide variety of tapas and it was an amazing experience to walk into a tiny bar, order their specialty and enjoy a glass of Rioja red with two dozen like-minded souls.
Internationally known Rioja brands are as popular there as they are in Canada with rich, fruit-infused wines like the 2007 Marqués de Cáceres Crianza ($16.95 - $21.99) offering plenty of regional personality.
Prices reflect the range across the country. Some products may not be available in all provinces.
Peter Rockwell is the everyman’s wine writer, working in the liquor industry for more than 25 years and travelling the globe looking for something to fill his glass and put into words.