Spain is the reason for a lot of things you know and love — tapas, paella, sangria, Flamenco, and, of course, the ever-famous siesta. One thing they’re not as well known for — but should be — is Spanish wine.
Spain has the largest land area of any country dedicated solely to vineyards — about 2.4 million acres, in fact. Yet somehow, their delicious wines don’t always land at the top of the lists of wine lovers worldwide.
Spanish wines range from being treasured collectibles (with the price tag to show for it) to bargain buys that still taste great. They have delicate whites, opulent reds, and so much more.
For this wine region by country, we’ll venture into the land of Spain. The diverse environments and varieties of wine are something wine lovers worldwide can’t miss.
As of 2020, there are a whopping 128 official wine designations in the country of Spain. That’s a big number, but we can divide the country into climates to make understanding the categories seem more manageable.
Green valleys, mountains, cities along the water — Northwest Spain doesn’t exactly feel like the rest of Spain. Still, it produces excellent wine.
The grape to know in this luscious region is the Rías Baixas. It is made to produce white wines that are zesty and mineral-driven. Red wines from this area, on the other hand, will be elegant and aromatic.
Often said to have the perfect climate, the Northern Mediterranean Coast is a prime location to grow grapes. Cava is the go-to grape here — and also Spain’s way of producing Champagne. (Instead of using French grapes, though, they add some indigenous ones to make the final product a little more savory.)
The red wine of choice from this area is the Priorat, known for its fullness and hints of black cherry, plum, licorice, and chocolate.
If you love fruit, you’ll love Spanish wines from the Southern Mediterranean. The two reigning wine varieties are Monastrell (a rich red) and Bobal (a juicy, daily drinking red).
Bordeaux varieties (like a Cabernet Sauvignon) also round out the region nicely when combined with the grapes from Monastrell.
Those most noteworthy Tempranillo wines come out of the Ebro and Duero River Valleys with their more moderate and predictable climates. Along with Garnacha, they end up being much fruitier and more elegant styles.
As for whites, there’s a minerally Spanish white wine grape from this region called Verdejo, which is truly exceptional.
Home to the capital, Madrid, the Central Plateau is sunny and dry. As a result, the vines are grown far apart and close to the ground.
Key grapes from this region are the Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Albillo. There’s also the white Airén, which is a common grape for this climate.
From Listán reds to Moscatel sweet whites, there are a wide range of grapes that grow in the Islands.
The Canary Islands, in particular, have volcanic soils and are seen as gritty and rustic. As a result, there are only a few exporters of the rare island wines (but they’re worth a try if you come across one!).Andalucía
Sherry is the name of the wine game in Andalucía. The soil in the region resembles the moon with its powdery whiteness. But the flavors are ones that are loved around this planet.
One particular subregion of Andalucía produces one of the sweetest wines — the PX. Made from Pedro Ximémez grapes, this is as sweet as maple syrup.
Knowing the lay of the land in Spain is just the beginning. The fun part is determining which wine to pour into your favorite wine glass — and on what occasion.
Spain is a red wine country. Savory red Spanish wines are complex and brooding. They tend to be a little lighter than a California Cabernet, but fuller and richer than a Pinot Noir.
Two popular grapes in Spain are the Tempranillo and Garnacha, which are both lovely and rich.
From the Tempranillo grape comes the most famous wine, Rioja. This wine is savory and incredibly complex. From the Garnacha grape comes the Priorat, which is full of spice, vanilla, and dark fruit.
Enjoy either of these with heavier meals, like beef, pasta, veal, or poultry. This would be a great wine to pair with Thanksgiving dinner or lasagna night.
Though Spain is famous for its red wines, it has all the makings for excellent white wine. The country has more than 3,000 miles of coastline, along with a lively fishing and seafood industry. So naturally, white wine is a staple for many Spanish wine drinkers.
One popular white wine from Spain is Albariño, which comes from the Rías Baixas region. In 2016 and 2017, roughly 80 percent of the wines reviewed were deemed very good to excellent, with scores over 86.
Albariños have hints of apple blossom, honeysuckle, and sea scents alongside tropical flavors and citrus fruits.
Open a bottle of Albariño for some summer sipping, paired with a fresh salad or seafood. This would be great for a cookout on a sunny day while you grill up some salmon or tilapia.
Want to host a wine tasting or simply want to enjoy your newfound love for Spanish wines with style (and maybe a few friends)? Make sure your bar is stocked with the right equipment.
If you want to enjoy a glass, make sure everyone knows whose glass is theirs with these stylish wine glass charms.
If you’re committed to drinking a few glasses, why not open the whole bottle? Be sure to get yourself a quality decanter, like the 1000ml Etched Glass Globe Whiskey or Wine Decanter or Golf Ball Shaped Decanter.
Spanish wines range from complex to refreshing, timeless to unique. Whatever your wine palate is, there’s sure to be a Spanish wine that you’ll love. It all starts with a little exploration — and a lot of sipping.
Which Spanish wine are you going to indulge in first?