SPANISH NATIONAL CUISINE: PASSION FOR FOOD (part 1)
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Spanish wine: choosing and drink properly

Did you know that Spain is one of the three world leaders in wine production along with France and Italy? Moreover, it is Spain that can be proud of the largest area of vineyards in the world, although most of the wine material is not used for the production of quality Spanish wines, but is exported to other countries. In addition, the Spaniards themselves are happy to consume local wines, so the export takes a relatively small proportion of products. However, Spanish wines are well represented on the shelves of French, Italian, Dutch, Chinese and even Mexican stores, finding fans around the world.
What is the difference between the wines of Spain and wine products of other countries? Spanish wines are very fragrant, they clearly feel the bouquet, and the tastes are dominated by sour and tart notes. Spaniards give a clear preference for dry and strong wines, and sweet or semi-sweet alcoholic beverages are produced in relatively small quantities and usually do not belong to high-quality wines. However, if you like “sweet”, young wines like Mistela, Malvarrosa or Impresiones will satisfy your needs. But in order not to make a mistake with the choice, you should carefully read the information on the label.

What does the label say?
If you are not a wine connoisseur and you just need to pick up the wine to taste, look for the words “seco” (dry),”semiseco” (semi-dry),”semidulce” (semi-sweet)or “dulce” (sweet) on the label. If you prefer a certain color of wine, do not rely only on the appearance of the drink. The line between shades is subtle, and the color of the bottle can significantly affect the perception. Read the label: “Blanco” means white wine, “Rosado” – pink and “Tinto” – red. If the label says “Cava”, then in front of you is a Spanish sparkling wine made by traditional technology from local grapes and different from the famous French champagne.

How to drink?
At first glance, it seems that the question is ” how?”there is an extra: just open the bottle with a corkscrew and pour the wine into a glass. But in order to fully appreciate the aroma and taste of Spanish wine, it is still necessary to do everything not “as usual” and “how to”.
So, white wine can be poured before use, but the red should be opened in advance: a bouquet of wine will sparkle with all the colors, if you give the drink enough oxygen for half an hour. When uncorking, do not pierce the cork through and shake the bottle, as in the first case crumbled pieces of cork will fall into the wine, and in the second you shake the sediment.
The question of the necessity and duration of wine cooling before serving remains a subject of debate among connoisseurs, the average consumer should remember the basic rule: the simpler the wine, the longer it can and should be cooled before serving. Red Spanish wines with a complex bouquet can be put in the refrigerator or ice bucket for a few minutes (unless the temperature in your apartment is 17-18°, as in wine cellars). White and rose wines, especially young ones, should be left in the cold longer (up to half an hour). It is believed that at room temperature, the taste of white wine becomes sharper due to excessive release of carbon dioxide. In the red wine at a low temperature is more clearly felt the taste of tannins, which can significantly spoil the taste of the already tart Spanish wine.
If your house has several sets of glasses, for the Spanish red wines like Tempranillo or Garnacha is better to choose a narrowed up a glass of the type “Bordeaux” and wine labeled Vinos de Pagos perfectly reveal its bouquet in the glass type Burgundy, with a barrel shape. For dry white wines usually choose glasses of “Bordeaux”, but a smaller volume, and high narrow glasses are designed for sparkling wines. As for the famous Spanish sherry, it is generally drunk from glasses, tapering up. And no need to fill the glass to the top – enough to pour 2/3 to appreciate the flavor and color, gently rotating the drink in the glass.

What to drink?
Naturally, Spanish wines are subject to the basic rules of combination with different dishes. Red tart wine Cabernet Sauvignon is perfect for fried steaks and chops, smoked and aged cheeses, “peppered” Syrah – to spicy meat and salty cheeses, while lighter dry wines such as Merlot, Garnacha and Tempranillo are good with pizza, pasta and other pasta, as well as red fish, sushi, berries and fruit. If you bought a bottle of Pinot Noir, prepare a mushroom snack, which is in harmony with the delicate taste and rich aroma of this wine. A sharp taste of Monastrell will make a perfect pair of chicken pate or a dish of game.
Dry white wine like Chardonnay, Albarino or Verdejo perfectly complements seafood, poultry, paella, soft cheeses, salads (without vinegar), vegetable dishes and low-fat sausages. It is worth trying Verdejo with sauces and gravies that have a sweet taste, and Albarino – with dishes that have a lot of greens and herbs.
Semi-sweet whites, such as Moscatel, go well with cheese, fruit and chocolate, while semi – sweet Reds labelled Tinto Semidulce go well with meat, fatty fish, ice cream and dessert. If you like semi-sweet rose wine (in particular, Tempranillo Rose), enjoy it paired with dessert or cheese.
Sparkling wine Cava is suitable for almost any dishes and desserts, you just need to choose the right concentration of sugar: Brut is better suited to fish, meat and salads, and Dulce – to sweet dishes.By the way, if you do not know how to complement the salty dishes, try it Brut. Color also matters: complement risotto or pasta with pink sparkling wine and see for yourself.
As for the dessert wine Jerez, you can SIP it, eating a piece of blue cheese, vanilla ice cream or pastries.

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The diversity of culinary traditions: from Africa to America, the cuisine of Spain has absorbed the culinary traditions of the Arabs, Italians, Greeks, learned a lot from the gastronomic preferences…

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