Spain

About Spanish Wine

Given the size of the wine growing area, and the range of climates it covers, Spanish wine can offer a huge variety of styles and characters. This means the country offers a brilliant selection of wines that are often very affordable and undervalued!

Key Spanish Grapes & Regions
  • Rioja – Tempranillo, Garnacha, Gracinano, Carignan (Mazelo) Viura, Malvasia and Garnacha Blanca
  • Ribera del Duero – Tempranillo
  • Jerez – Palomino, Pedro Ximenez
  • Jumilla – Monastrell
  • Priorat – Garnacha, Cariñena and Cabernet Sauvignon

History

Spain has a wine history dating back to the Romans, when they were a major supplier to Rome itself. Of course, the wine industry has changed considerably since this time and Spain is now the third largest producer worldwide.

Production increase is not the only significant change the Spanish have experienced. They have embraced modernisation over the last 30 years and some of their wineries have the best kit in the world. This means quality and consistency is of a level that is the envy of other wine producing countries.

Oak ageing of wines is another important factor in Spain. The terms Joven, Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva only have relevance in Spain, although other countries such as Chile will frequently use these terms on their labels to make their wine seem more attractive and premium.

In the vineyard

With the largest area under vine of any wine growing country, the climate and other vineyard conditions vary considerably.

The North West of the country has the most moderate temperature with some cooling influences from the Atlantic coast contributing to vintage variation. As you head further south the land becomes hotter and drier. Bush vines are most common in the more arid areas, although in some of the higher bulk producing sub-regions there is a move to wire trained vines, to allow for machine harvesting to take place.

Other Spanish Grapes & Wine Regions

Penedès – Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir

Catalunya – Paralleda, Macabeo, Xarel-lo (for Cava) Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon

Rías Baixas – Albariño

Bizero – Mencía

La Mancha – Airén, Tempranillo, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon

Valdepeñas – Tempranillo

Cariñena – Garnacha and Tempranillo

Navarra – Tempranillo, Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Garnacha Blanco

Rueda – Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc

Hennings Wine says

Rioja might be the first region to spring to mind but don’t just stick to reds; there are rosés and some incredible white Riojas to discover too. Other wines to look out for are great value Cava, unbelievably old vine Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero and of course Spain’s biggest secret treasure – Sherry!

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