In the 1970s and well into the 1980s (some might even say through 1992’s Barcelona Summer Olympics and Expo Sevilla) “Spanish,” to most Americans, meant “South of the Border” and “searingly hot.” How then, as Spanish pioneers and specialists, could we profess a philosophy of “cool-climate viticulture?”
Our presentations of Spain have always included an essential dose of geography, starting with relative latitude—so intrinsic to the concept of fine wine. We found useful comparison in the wine regions of America’s West Coast: Northern Spain equating to Russian River and Southern Oregon; Sevilla to San Francisco. We got some attention.
An amazing antipodal relationship makes things even clearer. Antipodes are exact latitudinal and longitudinal counterparts (doppelgängers?) in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, i.e. where one would pop up upon digging a hole straight through the center of the earth.
Statistically, drowning is the almost certain result, as only a minuscule percentage of landmasses coincide.
But as it happens, Northwest Spain and New Zealand’s South Island are a precise match. No wonder we adore Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Central Otago Pinot Noir in like manner to Galicia’s Albariño, Godello and Mencía!
Unlike New Zealand, however, no one ever told the galegos that it was too cold to grow grapes there…