With an extremely variable climate, terroirs, and winemaking traditions throughout the country, each wine region in Spain has something to offer– from La Rioja’s Tempranillo rich red wines to decadent cava bubbles (the first sparkling wine in Spain) and dry fortified Andalusia sherry. Consequently, the best way to learn about Spanish wine is to divide the country into seven different climatic zones.
The Spanish islands have a wide selection of wines, from red Listan Negro to sweet white wines made from Moscatel. The volcanic soil on the Canary Islands makes the wines of the region seem sand-like and rustic.
In Central Spain, the main wine producing regions include La Mancha, Valdepenas, Jumilla, Almansa, Valencia, Mendrida, Mondejar, Manchuelo, and Pagos. The dominant region here is La Mancha, home of Don Quixote and his companion Sancho Panza, now one of the oldest wine regions in Spain.
Wine has been made in the Rioja region of northeastern Spain for at least 1,000 years. Its landscape of small hills and jagged mountain peaks creates a mosaic of vineyards below. Cellars carved out of stone are the literal foundation of the region’s wine heritage, and you’ll find medieval villages and towns throughout the area. Although oak-aged red wines are produced here, the region is best known for its cava, a light sparkling wine that pairs well with lunch (most notable tapas) in the sun.
The next stop on our journey north is Navarra which is blessed with both wine regions of Navarra and La Rioja. Our route begins in Barcelona with a jump into the country of sparkling wines Penedès, then zigzags into the prominent region of La Rioja, then descends to Madrid and continues south to the coastal town of Sanlúcar de Barrameda.
La Rioja is home to the most recognizable name on any map of Spanish wine regions, and it serves as part of the border between Portugal and Spain. Despite being one of the best red wine tasting spots, it is one of the least appealing spots to visit, since there are no vineyards to be seen. Albarino is the best grape variety of Rias Baixas, which grows in the far northwest of the Spanish wine list. La Rioja has long been the most famous wine region in Spain with a well-deserved reputation as a master, so a trip to the country for wine lovers would not be complete without stopping here.
The last three zones are:
Bordering the Basque Country and situated between the Ebro River and the Sierra de Cantabria, the Rioja Alavesa region has the distinction of having some of the best-designated wines produced here.
Must-see places in the Priorat region include the Scala Dei wine cathedrals and cellars and the Cornudella de Montsant monastery.
The best way to see the Riaz Baixas region is to take a boat tour of the coastal towns and vineyards.
We could spend hours talking about our favorite wines in the world, including Spain. To get started on your next wine adventure, set-up a time that works best for you for us to begin that conversation. Cheers!