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Published:  23 July, 2008

The Spanish foreign minister, Michel Angel Moratinos, has been chastised by his countrymen's winemakers after he admitted that he knew little about his own country's produce and that he preferred wines from Bordeaux. Moratinos' comments have angered the Spanish Wine Federation (FEV), and its president, Pau Roca, has invited the minister to visit any Spanish cellar and taste any Spanish wine, to remedy his ignorance'. After declaring that his knowledge of Spanish wines was less than comprehensive, Moratinos added: The wines that I know the most about are Bordeaux wines.' Roca said: The minister must remedy his ignorance of our wines. We open our cellars to him and offer all the tastings necessary.' The Rioja Regulatory Council has, unsurprisingly, predicted an above-average 2004 harvest. The total yield was 470 million kg of grapes, 7.4% higher than 2003. The harvest began on 15 September in Rioja Baja, and was completed on 9 November in Rioja Alavesa. Tom Perry, MD of Rioja Wine Exporters, said: Although the first grapes to be harvested show moderate alcohol levels, growers who picked later are reaping the rewards.'