When it comes to buying and drinking Spanish wine, most of us probably know the basics. For example, grilled meat is best paired with a glass of bold and plummy Rioja. Planning to throw a party? Buy Cava, Catalonia’s budget but bubbly wines. These kinds of things might be easy to memorize, but mapping out which wine regions one should visit while on vacation to Spain might be difficult. In fact, given the handful of wine regions this country has, even some Spaniards would not even know where to start. We can’t blame them because no matter where you are in Spain, you are never far from a vineyard. If you are a casual drinker or a wine enthusiast, we are here to give you tips on where to go on your vineyard-hopping or wine tour on your next Spanish vacation.
Wine Regions in Spain
1. Priorat or Catalonia
For quite some time, this area has been abandoned because they were quite challenging, expensive, and dangerous to work and maintain. This is because most of the vineyards here are built on the too steep terraces that climb the mountains and hills of Priorat. However, they still managed to reemerge in the production of wine over the last decade. The region’s warm and sunny exposure helps produce tome of the richest, heartiest wines in the world, and its poor, slate soils help balance this power by giving it a refreshing minerality. Most of the red wines produced here in Priorat are a blend of Cariñena, Grenache grapes with Cabernet, Syrah Sauvignon, or other red varieties. Priorat is the only region aside from Rioja to have the respected DOCa qualification.
Rioja is the most famous wine region in Spain. It is located in North-Central Spain, near the Ebro River. Wines that are produced in Rioja can differ in style. Still, they usually have earthy and fruity flavors that are accompanied by a very smooth taste. Rioja is a well-respected wine region with a wine law wherein it is stated that Tempranillo grapes can be blended with Mazuelo, Maturana Tinta, Graciano, and Garnacha grapes. This mixture of grapes creates sweet flavors with a rich and sour taste, hence, producing some of the most unique tasting wines in the world.
This wine region is located in Catalonia, North-East of Spain. It is situated in the coastal hills of Serra Del Garraf. The Penedes wine region is considered to be one of the oldest and best Spanish wine regions. The wine region’s most famous wine is the Cava, which is a white wine worthy enough to go against Prosecco and Champagne as the best European sparkling wines. Most of the grapes grown in Penedes are white varieties, but they also develop a few red grapes types, which produce some of the excellent oak-aged wines.
This wine region is one of the oldest wine regions in Spain because grapes have been cultivated here since the Neolithic Era. Most of the wines produced in the Valencia wine region are exported worldwide, which is why Valencia is on the international wine map. This wine region is located along Spain’s east coast, and almost all the vineyards are situated deeper inland. The limestone-rich and sandy soil of Valencia enable this region to produce different kind of grapes, including the world-renowned Moscato grapes.
5. Ribera Del Duero
The Ribera del Duero is also one of the most well-known wine regions in Spain. It is situated on the elevated plateau of the southern plains in the Burgos province and stretches along the Duero River. This region has long, dry, and hot summers followed by harsh, cold winters and receive moderate to low annual rainfall. Most of the grapes grown in Ribera del Duero are red, and the only white grape grown here is the Albillo. This region produces mostly Tempranillo grapes, and they do minimal mixing or blending. Some of the blends that are produced here are Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Merlot.
Grapes of Spain
Also known as Grenache, when grown in France, this type of grape has thin skin and is often blended with other varieties. In Spain, it is commonly combined with the best wines in the Priorat region, and it is also considered as a blending grape in the Rioja region. G
This is the most universal type of grape in Spain. It is the backbone of the two most famous wine regions in the country, Ribera del Duero and Rioja. In other areas, the Tempranillo is known as Ull de Llebre, Cencinbel, and Tinta del Pais. Tempranillo grapes help develop the structure and age-worthiness of wines. It also gives the aroma of red cherry and dried red currant with notes of leather, smoke, and cedar.
This is the most famous white grape in Spain, and it mostly grows in northwestern Spain. Wines produced using this type of grape are tropically scented with notes of bergamot and orange smell. This type of grape also brims with juicy acidity, which is why wines that are made with Albariño grapes are great paired with food.
This type of grape is used all over Spain, and it is also known as Carignan. This is a blending grape in the Rioja region and considered as a top grape in Priorat. The Cariñena grape helps bring out weight, structure, and tannin to the wines.