Types of Spanish wine: a guide to the best varieties according to grapeAccording to the latest figures from the World Tourism Organization, Spain is the world´s second largest destination for tourists. This is no surprise, given the country´s extensive cultural heritage. But there is also another important reason for this enthusiasm: the country´s food and drink culture and the wide range of different Spanish wines on offer.
While getting to know a country through its landscapes and historical sites is a great reason to visit, going on food and wine tours makes for an unforgettable experience that will give you a special insight into a country´s culture.
Spain´s varying climates and landscapes mean winemakers can plant all kinds of different vineyards, thus adding a wealth of variety to the wines produced in Spain. The different types are classified not only according to grape variety, but also area of production, which are called Designations of Origin (DO). So let´s find out more by taking a look at the best known Spanish wines through the grape varieties from which they are made.
Types of Spanish wine: redsFor many, a meal is not complete without a glass of red wine. And it´s no surprise, because the perfect pairing can add an extra touch to a dish, with a wide range of Spanish red wines presenting us with unique aromas, flavors and textures. So let´s take a look at the most common ones.
TempranilloThis is the most commonly grown red grape in Spain. The name, which comes from the Spanish word temprano or early, describes the fact that this grape reaches maturity weeks before any others.
This versatile red grape produces many different kinds of Spanish wine, from young wines matured for less than a year to more mature wines, which are barrel aged with excellent results.
Rioja wine is made from this grape variety and, as you may know, is available in different styles based on maturity, going from Crianza to Reserva to Gran Reserva. Would you like to try some? If so, come and find out more on a private tour around the La Rioja region where you can discover key locations for wine lovers along with some tasty local dishes.
GarnachaGarnacha or grenache is the country´s second most frequently used grape variety and is responsible for some amazing wines that are among the most reputed in Spain, including wines from the Rioja, Priorat and Méntrida Designations of Origin.
Wines made with the garnacha grape are not exclusive to a single region, however, coming from a range of different regions across Spain. They include Aragon, Navarre, La Rioja and especially Catalonia, where you can enjoy a gourmet short break food and wine in Priorat & Penedes county, which includes the chance to taste a range of DO wines made with this grape.
BobalThe bobal grape variety comes from Utiel-Requena in the Valencia region of eastern Spain, which also has Domination of Origin status. Bobal is also prevalent in other regions such as Castilla La Mancha. Visit this region on a wine day trip from Valencia.
MenciaMencía is another of Spain´s best known grapes, which can be found in the north western area of El Bierzo, while it is also used in three of the Galicia region´s best known Designations of Origin: Monterrei, Valdeorras and Ribeira Sacra. One of the best tasting experiences for this kind of grape is our southern Galicia coastal and wine country walking trails, which also include trying out the region´s best seafood, cheese and other wine varieties.
MonastrellVineyards growing this grape variety can be found near the Mediterranean. It is typical of the Murcia region and used especially in Spain’s renowned DO Jumilla wines.
Types of Spanish wine: whitesIf enjoying red wines from Spain wasn´t enough, just wait until you discover the marvels of the country’s white wines, which have long been emerging, with consumers showing increasing interest in their fascinating tastes.
Many of these wines come from the north, which means a food and wine tour of northern Spain is an unforgettable experience. And not only will you enjoy delicious dishes and drinks, but you can also marvel at some of the area’s best landscapes.
VerdejoThis grape variety gave us some of the most sought-after Spanish wines of recent years, which may be down to their highly aromatic characteristics and excellent taste. There are many verdejo vineyards in the north western region of Castilla y León, with the grape being the main variety used in DO Rueda wines.
If you’d like to visit the area and find out more about its culture and amazing monuments, while also enjoying the very best food and wine, we recommend you try one of our tours of Castilla y León. You won’t regret it!
AlbariñoThe white wines of Galicia are some of Spain’s most famous and the predominant grape variety here is albariño. The most prolific area is Rías Baixas and the grape can be found in a range of wines with Designations of Origin from Galicia such as Valdeorras, Ribeiro, Ribeira Sacra and Rías Baixas.
Enjoying the albariño variety while visiting Celtic sites in the Salnés valley or a visit to the seaside town of Baiona along with a tasting in a local winery represent some of our most popular tours, given the beauty of the region and the quality of its food and wine varieties.
GodelloOf all the Spanish varieties, this grape, which is mainly found in Galicia, is most frequently used in DO Valdeorras wines. You will also find godello in wines from Castilla y León, although far less frequently than in Galicia. Vineyards growing the godello grape can be found along the waterways of southern Galicia, where you will come across wineries where visitors can take part in tastings featuring this grape variety while surrounded by astounding landscapes.
AirenThis grape variety may not give us one of the best known Spanish wine types, but this unknown quantity is worth a try. Mainly grown in Castilla La Mancha, Madrid and even in the Murcia region, Airen is used in DO wines such as Valdepeñas, Vinos de Madrid and Origen La Mancha. And you may even have come across excellent quality blends of Airen-Verdejo in recent years.
Macabeo o ViuraThis grape variety can mainly be found in La Rioja and Catalonia and is used in the latter for making cava. Macabeo is also becoming increasingly well known thanks to some excellent tasting wines. This grape variety is used in several different Designations of Origin, including Rioja, Utiel-Requena, Valdepeñas, Rueda and Cava for sparkling wines. Taste the DO Cava wines at Codorniu winery. If you still haven’t tried some of these wines, a wine tour in Spain with eatourspecialist.com is a great option. Not only will you be able to taste the wines, but you will also visit wineries, enjoy traditional dishes from different regions and see incredible monuments and landscapes. So why not check out our list of tours and find your favorite!
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