The Asturias wine region is one of the least known in all of Spain. In fact, many
Spanish people are not even aware that this area, famous for its prolific cider production, produces its own wine. However, the region boasts a wine making tradition that strecthes back for centuries and the area of Cangas de Narcea now holds Denominación de Origen Protegida (D.O.P.) status.
Cangas de Narcea is situated in the southwest of the region
on the border with Castile and Leon. The zone has a landscape and climate suited to viticulture
and wine has been produced there since at least the ninth century. Between the 11th and 19th century, wine production in the region continued to grow with around 6,000 hectares dedicted to viticulture.
In the middle of the 19th century, the vineyards of the regions suffered massive crop loss
through disease. After a brief recovery between 1850 and 1889, the
phylloxera pest arrived from the USA causing further devastation. During a 20 year
period, over 2,500 hectares of vineyards were lost.
During the early part of the 20th
century, another revival ensued and Asturias wine production once again flourished, resulting in many
In 1959, a freak storm destroyed many vineyards and in the
following years, the appetite to produce wines dwindled. Workers were attracted
to the better wages offered by the nearby coal mines and the wine industry was
left on its knees.
By the 1990s, those producers that remained embarked on an ambitious initiative to revive the industry, a project that has so far proved successful. If they can maintain this momentum, and get the necessary backing from the local government, the region could soon break out onto the national scene. At last, this once forgotten corner on the Spanish wine map is now looking forward to a bright future.
While it may takes some time to convince the rest of Spain that Asturias can produce high quality wines, some intrepid wine buffs have already started to take notice, with local bodegas now welcoming visitors from all over the world.
As well as wine, many of the bodegas also produce the liquor known as orujo. This pomace brandy is made from remains of pressed grapes and is popular throughout the north of Spain. The liquor can be enjoyed in pure form or flavoured with fruits, herbs or honey.