James Roscoe wrote:Here's a question for all the Spanish wine experts. I have had a few older Spanish wines from the early 1990's and some from the later 1990's. I'm not a big fan of the newer wines. I read a lot about the modernization of Spanish wines. When did this take place? What is the problem? Why did they do it? (Am I asking too many questions?) Too many of the Spanish wines I've tasted recently taste like they could be from California. What's the deal? I await enlightenment.
I guess you could say it started with Contino in the late 70's, by those standards the wines would be "modern" due to some forward thinking. Of course, modern then was simply choosing to make a Reserva in lieu of a Gran Reserva (rather than in addition to) and being a little more plush. Now, modern is defined by 100% new small French barriques, late harvests, 100% Tempranillo or Tempranillo and Cab*, later Harvests, and "other" less forthcoming methods.
The change really started to take place in 1991 and went from there. I can't think of any Rioja or RdD producer prior to 1991 who was modern-modern. I think 1994 will be remembered as the "coming out" vintage for modern wines. That was the first great vintage for wineries to unveil their expensive heavy-glass bottles and get a lot of attention from Parker, Spec and the like.
*instead of a blend with Graciano, Mazuelo, Garnacha or even Viura/Garnacha Blanca