...Spain’s most dependable customer has always been the distilleries. Therefore, any grower heeding the international call for improved quality has had to confront both a backward winemaking culture and the widely held prejudice that Rioja was all that Spain was capable of producing. One criticism levelled at modern winemaking is that it diminishes individuality, yet in Spain it has done the very opposite. After an excess of technological advances Spain is rediscovering her indigenous strengths and traditional practices. The latest generation of white wines from Rueda, Galicia and Navarra are diverse and distinctive, whilst regions such as Priorato have proven that within a region modernised by French grape varieties, Spain’s indigenous varieties produce world class wines. The traditional regions of Rioja and Ribera del Duero are also flourishing and starting to abandon a historical over-dependence on oak, allowing grapes picked at their ripe potential to dominate the wine. Spanish wine is enjoying a surge in international popularity with the growers rarely needing to worry about bringing their grapes to full ripeness due to the warm climate and consequently low cost. Spain offers bargains with individual character.