Gran Reserva and Crianza: types of wine according to their classification.
As wine lovers, all of us used to believe that a Gran Reserva is always better than a Crianza. However, that rule of thumb is not unbreakable and we are explaining why.
TYPES OF WINE. WHAT IS BEHIND THIS CLASSIFICATION?
That classification is exclusively used with Spanish red and white wines and considers the time a wine has spent into oak barrels. A wine aged into those barrels for 12 or more months could potentially be classified as Crianza or Reserva. Moreover, those which spent 24 or more months may be classified as Gran Reserva. These minimum ageing requirements have to be completed with a minimum ageing time into their glass bottles as well.
France, for instance, has a more complex wine classification and they change depending on the wine region. They can classify according to different qualities, villages, regions or vineyards as in Burgundy, or the trajectory of the producer periodically reviewed as in Bordeaux.
WHY CAN A CRIANZA BE BETTER THAN A GRAN RESERVA?
Wine goes through an evolution while the time when they are into the oak barrels flies by. Depending on those characteristics from the oak barrels, the wine changes its aromas and composition, becomes more rounded on the palate, its colour evolves and its complexity is improved. That is a continuous evolution process: as longer the wine is into the barrels, the greater the transformation is.
After that process, winemakers can find out that a wine with an ageing of 12 months is still too young and powerful, meaning wines need different ageing times due to their weakness or strength versus the oak influence.
We need to get away from the idea that the longer inside the barrel, the higher the quality. Each type of wine needs to reach its exact refining point. That point where the wine maintains its freshness and the barrel has given it elegance. At this point, the role of the winemaker is truly important. He must know his vineyards well, extract their maximum potential and know which plots will give a good Crianza and which are more suitable for making a Gran Reserva.
Forcing wines to undergo a long aging period, whatever the year goes, simply with the aim of complying with the regulations, may not provide the expected results. This is why we can find Crianza wines that taste much better than some Gran Reserva.
WINE CLASSIFICATIONS AT RESALTE
At Resalte, we want to achieve the best version of each vineyard and each wine. Every year we do the exercise of considering the harvest, analyzing the meteorological trend and the impact it should have on the wines. We correct possible mistakes and read the vintage in order to obtain the best possible wine.
With that in mind, we have evolved our aging processes to adapt the plots to the variety of barrels. As if we were making a tailor-made suit, we look for the right barrel for each wine. Some of them have large volumes (400 liters and 500 liters) to keep the freshness and qualities of the vineyard intact until the moment of bottling. When we see it appropriate, we keep it much longer inside the barrel than the established minimum time.
7 different cooperages, with different roasts and volumes
Therefore, at Resalte we do not follow the traditional wine classification. Our wines are launched with the strip that corresponds to the classification “Cosecha”. This allows us more freedom to create increasingly honest wines each vintage, even if some of our wines have stayed more than 18 months inside the barrel.
We work with 7 different cooperages, with distinct toasting and volumes: 225, 400 and 500 liters, in addition to a 3,000 liter fudre (wine container made of oak), so we can find out differentiated expressions of the variety of soils which we work with.