Binissalem is relatively small DO area of just 312 hectares on the island of Majorca (Mallorca) in the Balearics, making it the first of DO to gain recognition in the Balearic Islands and moreover the first Spanish DO outside the mainland. Wine-growers have made wine for local consumption in the Balearic Islands for many years. Once these islands became home to the package holidays and Club Med in the 1960s the local wine trade went into top gear. Most of the bodegas are happy with this situation with just a few far-sighted growers believing better results were possible. Their struggle for better quality was rewarded in 1991 with the award of the highly coveted DO status.
This is the newest DO of Spain (1997) located in Extremadura, the region which borders on Portugal, in the extreme west of central Spain. Wine had already been exported from this area for some years under the name of the Tierra de Barros sub-region of Ribera del Guadiana.
Renewal has also won the day in Extremadura. It had seemed as though Extremadura would forever remained linked with past glories of towns such as Badajoz, Câceres, and Trujillo, renowned from the past history of the sixteenth and seventeenth century conquistadors. The landscape here is attractive, hilly, soft, and green, but there are also high plateaux which are the domain of agriculture and cattle breeders. The economy of Extremadura once relied on the income from cork and the output of the olive trees but with drastic renovation of the Spanish wine-growing hopes for a better economic future have also grown.
We have already dealt with one of the DO regions of Castilla y León with Bierzo. Bierzo is officially one of the five wine areas that form Castilla-León. Our website, seven-wines.com has separated Bierzo (León) from the other areas for both geographical and climatalogical reasons.
The other areas are all situated in Castilla. These remaining four DO areas are sited on the banks of the Duero river (which is known in Portugal as the Douro). The Toro and Rueda DO areas are situated south of Valladolid in a rectangle formed by the towns of Zamora, Salamanca, Segovia, and Valladolid. The Cigales and Ribera del Duero DO areas are found to the north and north east of Valladolid.
Valencia is one of Spain’s major cities and its largest wine-shipping port. The province surrounding the city is also called Valencia, together with the autonomía region of Valencia as provincial capital. As if that is not complicated enough, Valencia is also the name given to a DO wine area. There are two other DO territories: Utiel-Requena in Valencia province and Alicante, the province bearing its name.
The growers of Valencia would prefer that there should be one large DO area of Valencia with three sub-regions which would be permitted to bear their own name on the label. This would enable them to use grapes harvested throughout the region so that reasonable quality could be ensured in poor years. In the best years the sub-regions would make their own wines in their own ways. The fact that this would cause monumental confusion among their consumers does not appear to have dawned on these creative Valencianos, but they continue to try to bring their plans to fruition. The growers of Utiel- Requena and Alicante of course have no time for these plans which only serve the interests of the Valencianos.
Valencia still produces an enormous lake of vino common or vin ordinaire or plonk in the English vernacular, to the great concern of the agriculture commissioner of the European Community who is trying to reduce the enormous wine lake.