Every now and then it’s worth stopping to take a closer look at some aspects of the wine world that are important and ones that, as consumers, we sometimes aren’t aware of. This is the case with the grape varieties that are grown in Spain and in Catalonia. Can you guess how many hectares of vineyards there are in Spain? Do you know how many are used for white wines and how many for red wines?
According to data taken from the “Encuesta de Viñedo 2015” [“2015 Vineyard Survey”], in Spain there are over 440,000 hectares dedicated to growing white varieties and over 484,000 hectares used for producing red wines. These high figures clearly demonstrate the importance of wine in Spain, and if we look at the region of Catalonia in particular, the figures are also interesting: over 36,000 hectares dedicated to white wines and just over 9,000 hectares for reds. This significant difference is due to the important wine production in Catalonia reserved for making cava, which is mainly produced using the indigenous white varieties Macabeo, Xarel·lo and Parellada.
With the data at hand, we wanted to analyze in detail the percentage of hectares by variety. To do this, we’ve focused on the seven varieties that we use at Jean Leon to produce our wines: Chardonnay and Xarel·lo for the whites and Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Pinot Noir for the reds.
There is only very limited planting of Chardonnay and Xarel·lo in Spain: just 1.74% of the total hectares planted are Chardonnay and 2.18% are Xarel·lo. As for the red varieties, 4.2% of the total hectares are Cabernet Sauvignon, 2.6% Merlot, 0.4% Petit Verdot, 0.22% Pinot Noir and 0.15% Cabernet Franc.
In Catalonia, Xarel·lo accounts for over one-quarter of the white varieties, while Chardonnay represents nearly 10%. These two varieties are in fact the region’s second (behind Macabeo) and fourth most-produced whites, respectively. In terms of reds, Merlot (34.30%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (31.84%) are the two most-grown varieties by far (second and third in the ranking of the total red varieties grown in Catalonia), while Pinot Noir (9.71%), Cabernet Franc (1.46%) and Petit Verdot (0.21%) follow at some distance.
Now that we know a little more about the extent of the hectares in Spain and Catalonia dedicated to each of the varieties we use at Jean Leon to make our wines, we thought it would be interesting to share the main characteristics of each of these varieties with you, in the form of infographics.
Now that you know a little more about the varieties we use to make our wines (both the single varieties and blends), when you try them you’ll surely have a better appreciation of the aromas and notes that characterize them. Cheers!