As the Romans used to say: “in wine, there is truth”. Although it is the drink of confidence, we do not need to be under the influence of alcohol to tell you the whole truth about the best wine regions in Spain.
Spain, along with France and Italy, is part of the European wine triumvirate, or “big three”. That’s no knock to smaller and up-and-coming wine regions, like Slovenia, but they just are not at the level of these three. Beyond the popular sangria, there is a wide variety of top-quality Spanish wines, so no matter which region you visit, take the opportunity to discover the country’s many appellations. From the international Riojas and Garnachas to the sparkling Cava, below we explore the Spanish wine regions you cannot miss. Cheers!
Choose from this selection of Galician origin wines: Ribeiro, Ribeira Sacra and Rias Baixas. These wines are very aromatic due to the humidity of northwestern Spain. Young and fresh, the flavors convey the green Galician landscape, with notes of white flowers and stone fruits. Your visit to Galicia isn’t complete until you enjoy a good plate of fresh seafood accompanied by a glass of Albariño
The Priorat area is located in the southwest of Catalonia, where monks began to plant vineyards in the Middle Ages. In addition to being a region with a lot of charm, thanks to its traditional atmosphere (we recommend you visit the town of Gratallops!) and rugged landscapes, Priorat wines are known for being full-bodied, and of high quality. Among the most popular are the Cariñena, Grenache, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon grape varieties.
Penedès (with its capital in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia) is the land of Cava, the well-known Catalan sparkling wine. It is also the ideal starting point to visit vineyards and wineries, such as the magical Codorniu and Freixenet, and to learn the elaborate process of making this fine wine. A few kilometers from Barcelona, you will find mostly white grape varieties here, although some great barrel-aged reds are also produced. If you go in September, don’t miss the Phylloxera Festival, a celebration in honor of Cava.
4. Ribera del Duero
Ribera del Duero is another one of Spain’s most renowned wine regions. Located on a high plateau in the south of the Burgos province, this region enjoys moderate rainfall throughout the year, very dry and hot summers, and cold winters. As a result, Ribera del Duero wines have unique characteristics, made from albillo (white grape), tempranillo (red grape) and blends of malbec, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon. A wine tour through this area is guaranteed to please all kinds of wine connoisseurs.
Rioja is undoubtedly the most internationally known Spanish appellation of origin. To no surprise, the region is home to 60,000 hectares of vineyards and some of the oldest wineries in the world, which are well worth a visit. Although several styles of wine are produced, Rioja wines are usually characterized by their earthy and fruity flavor, the result of combining tempranillo with maturana, garnacha or mazuelo, among others. They also stand out for their aging.
Navarra is known for its rosé wine production, which accounts for 95% of the total “made in Navarra” wine production. Its wines reflect a unique diversity, the result of the privileged location of this region, where the Atlantic, continental, and Mediterranean climates converge. The main production areas are Ribera Alta, Ribera Baja, Tierra Estella, Valdizarbe and Baja Montaña.
Andalusia is home to a historic D.O. known around the world: Jerez. The city of Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto de Santa Maria and Sanlucar de Barrameda are full of wineries, so you will not find it difficult to taste the several types of sherry: dry, oloroso and sweet sherries (Jerez Dulces), made from Pedro Ximenez, palomina and moscatel grapes. To enjoy a good pairing, attend a sherry and tapas tasting.
8. Castilla-la Mancha
Its vast extension makes it the largest wine-growing region in the world, with 700,000 hectares dedicated to the cultivation of vines. The most popular varieties in Castilla-la Mancha are Garnacha and Tempranillo, from which rare wines are obtained, some of them organic thanks to the good health of the region’s vineyards.
The three appellations of origin of Murcia are Jumilla, Yecla and Bullas. With the Monastrell grape as the protagonist, we recommend you try the 2014 Altamente Monastrell as a sample of the richness of flavor that the wines of this region possess, with lots of tannins and, therefore, lots of color. One again, Murcia’s favorable climate is key to obtaining a high-quality wine.
Utiel-Requena wines are produced in the west of Valencia, more specifically in the Fuenterrobles, Camporrobles, Siete Aguas, Caudete de las Fuentes, Sinarcas, Villagordo de Cabriel and Venta del Moro districts. In this area, which is located at an altitude of between 600 and 900 meters above sea level, almost three-quarters of the grapes come from the Bobal variety. A wine route is the best option to taste them all.