It really doesn’t matter whether your trip to Spain is inspired by the country’s history or its culture or its natural beauty, not tasting the wines in Spain when you are in that country is nothing short of sin!
Spain is the home to some of the world’s most famous wines, and not indulging in wine tasting when you are there will simply mean that you will lose a lifetime’s opportunity.
Spain has a wide range of wines to offer but which ones should you taste? If this question is bothering you, we have prepared a list of some of the finest wines that you can lay your hands on when you are in that country. So, read on!
Top 11 BEST Wines in Spain
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1. Rioja (Reds)
The Rioja wine region in Spain is world-famous for its wines. It is particularly known for its big reds, but the region also produces some of the finest white wines. But the truth is, you cannot afford to miss the Rioja reds.
The reds are made by blending Tempranillo with other reds like the Graciano, Grenache, and Mazuelo.
Fun fact! Did you know that Rioja is one of the only two wine regions that hold the top quality designation of Spain? The designation is known as DOCa or Denominación de Origen Calificada.
Rioja wines come in different styles, and these styles are dependent on the time length of aging the wines.
For instance, you will find the Gran Reserva is a style in which aging takes place for at least 5 years, out of which at least 2 years are meant for oak aging, and another two are for bottle aging.
Then there is a style known as the Reserva, which is aged for a minimum of years of which, 1 year is oak aging, which another 6 months in bottle aging. You will also find the famous Crianza, which is aged for a minimum of 2 years with at least 1 year of oak aging.
Finally, you will also find the generic Rioja, which is not labeled. It will have no aging or even making requirements.
As far as flavors and styles are concerned, the Rioja wines have a wide range to offer that include fresh, light, and fruity to deep, complex, tannic, and bold. Don’t be surprised if you find flavors of plums and cherries with vanilla, leather, and herb notes.
Try out the Contino Rioja Reserva, Finca Allende Aurus, and Bodegas Artevino Rioja Orben.
2. Tempranillo (Red)
You can find two types here. The Young Tempranillo and the Aged Tempranillo. The Young variants have a juicy and spicy style, and they typically receive less than 365 days of aging.
This explains why they are tarty, fleshy, and spicy. They do not have the complex flavors of brown spices that are usually a result of oak aging.
The Young Tempranillo wines will usually give you the notes of bay leaf, spicy black pepper, and sour cherry.
The Aged Tempranillo wines, on the other hand, are known for being bold high tannin wines. They are made using the best quality Tempranillo grapes and are aged for several years in both oak and in a bottle.
This aging ensures that the spiciness and the flavors are softened, making them distinctively dried and sweet. In case you are going for Aged Tempranillo wines, do look for the labels which read Gran Reserva and Reserva.
3. Ribera del Duero (Red)
These red wines come from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain and are made from Tinto Fino. The Tinto Fino is only another name for the Tempranillo.
The Ribera del Duero wines are known to bold with typical Tempranillo flavors ranging from hearty tannins to dark fruits and berries.
Three of the most famous Ribera del Duero reds that you must try are Garmón Ribera del Duero, Pesquera Ribera del Duero Tinto, and Pata Negra Ribera del Duero Crianza.
The first one will give you flavors of chocolate, blackberry, and boysenberry. The second one is a bit earthy, and you can get berry flavors that eventually end with a cocoa finish.
The last one is a cheap option with a bottle, typically costing under fifteen USD. This one is all about the introduction to the red wines from the Ribera del Duero region.
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4. Monastrell (Reds)
Did you hear of the Mourvèdre? It is a famous wine from France. Monastrell is the same thing. Interestingly, the Mourvèdre is of Spanish origin.
Monastrell wines are famous for their intensely bold flavors. You can experience the flavors of chocolates, black plum, black pepper, and tannins.
The usual tasting notes for Monastrell wines are Potting Soil, Chocolate, Blackberry Sauce, and Smoke. Monsatrells are produced in central Spain. You can find several options in regions like Yecla, Bullas, Jumilla, Alicante, and Valencia.
5. Priorat (Reds)
Priorat is a wine region of Spain that is located in the Catalonian province. It has the DOC status (in Catalan, it is called DOQ). The DOC is the highest category when it comes to wine regulations in Spain.
The local Carineña and Garnacha make the backbone of the Priorat reds. Still, they do contain some amounts of Syrah, Merlot, and French Cabernet Sauvignon.
With typically firm tannins and a tendency of high alcohol content, the Priorat wines come in various aromas and flavors. Some of the flavors include dark berries and fruits with herbal, mineral, spicy, and salty notes.
6. Cabernet Sauvignon
When it comes to wines in Spain, people usually do not think of Cabernet Sauvignon, but you must give them a try, especially the Mas La Plana, which is often touted as the greatest Cabernet of Spain.
In case you didn’t know, the Cabernet Sauvignon is the most famous red wine variety in the world, but it only plays a supporting role in Spain. Fortunately, however, you can lay your hands on some of the vintages or even the most regular ones.
In case you are looking for some true vintages, go for Torres Gran Coronas Mas La Plana (1979) or the 1982 Torres Gran Coronas Mas La Plana.
For more recent ones, you can take Abadia Retuerta Cabernet Sauvignon Pago Valdebellón or Dehesa Del Carrizal Cabernet Sauvignon.
7. Sherry (White)
We have already listed some of the finest wines in Spain, but you desire to learn more, here is another type – the Sherry.
Sherry wines are made using grapes that grow in a region near Jerez de la Frontera in Andalucía. Sherry is a fortified white wine. The wines can vary from very sweet to very dry, or they can be simple to complex.
Sherry imitations are available all across the world, but true Sherry comes only from Spain. Sherry wines don’t really have a big fan following, but some people are not only passionate but are also loyal to Sherry. Sherry wines are known for their nutty and unique flavors.
8. Albariño (White)
Albariño is a white grape variety that is grown in Galicia in Spain. Albariño is used for making a variety of white wines that are known for their crisp, fresh, and light characters. They are also known for their high acidic along with aromatic and floral characters.
The commonest aromas include honeysuckle, mango, pineapple, melon, apricot, and white peach, but they come with a hint of underlying minerality.
In case you love to pair your wine with food, the Albariño wines are perfect for that, and they go perfectly well with Thai, Indian, and Chinese cuisine.
9. Merlot (Red)
Merlot is a French grape variety that made its way into Spain and became quite famous. Though we need to say that Merlot did not become as famous Cabernet. Merlot can be found in different regions of Spain.
Merlot is used to make some of the finest red wines you can find in Spain. In case you want to know which ones to go for, you can opt for Abadia Retuerta Winemakers’ Collection Merlot, or Diva Rabbit Merlot, or even Arínzano Agricultura Biológica Merlot.
Merlot wines go perfectly well with some hearty, meaty meals like veal, lamb, and beef.
10. Verdejo (White)
Verdejo is a white grape variety that most likely originated in North Africa but was later imported to the Iberian Peninsula.
The wines produced by Verdejo are known to be fruit-forward, light-bodied, lively, and fresh. The acidity is well-balanced and comes with herbaceous flavors of fennel, fruit, and citrus.
In case you love the nutty almond flavor, you can lay hands on some varieties that develop the flavor with aging. Verdejo wines are also food-friendly and go pretty well with fried and grilled veggies, seafood, fresh cheese, and salads.
11. Godello (White)
The right way to pronounce it is Goh-day-yoh. Godello is a delicious wine that is a perfect match for summer months. It is known for its fresh acidity, flavors of grapefruit and lemon, and a perfect balance of minerality and salinity. Oh, did we mention that it is very dry?
If you want to find Godello wine, be in Galicia. That’s the place where Godello grapes are grown. Some of the famous Godello wines include Gotas de Mar Godello, Bodegas Avancia Godello Valdeorras, and Vina Godeval Valdeorras.
Now that you have a quick list of the most famous wines in Spain, which one do you think suits you the best? Which one do you prefer – the red or the white? Do let us know through the comments section.