The Phoenician settlers began, in the 8th century b.C., the cultivation of wine in Girona. From there, it was spread through the Mediterranean and Romans mechanized its cultivation a few centuries later. In the 16th century, Jerez and Málaga became the first wine-growing regions.
Spain is divided into regions with 69 different Denominations of Origin that have given rise to high-quality wines with a great variety and diversity of nuances. As a result, all palates will find a Spanish wine to love.
Spain is a paradise for wine enthusiasts and I can’t wait to share with you some of my favorite grape varieties and favorite Spanish wines. I am by no means an expert, that’s why this Spanish wine guide is particularly suited for beginners.
Please take care; the best Spanish wines should be enjoyed with moderation!
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1. Rioja Wine
Rioja is the oldest and leading Denomination of Origin in Spain (1925). There are 567 wineries in the country that sell their great product to 124 different countries.
It is possible to find white, red and rosé Rioja wines produced in La Rioja, the Basque Country, Navarra and Castilla León.
Rioja wine is exceptional not only because grapevines are cultivated in regions of Spain with extraordinary weather conditions and exceptional soils, but also because production processes must pass very thorough quality controls in order to get these amazing Spanish red wines.
Without any doubt, it is one of the best Spanish wines you must try!
3 Rioja Wines to Try:
- Lopez de Heredia Viña Bosconia Reserva 2008: Full-bodied Spanish red wine, tempranillo with a deep color and good structure. – Check prices here
- Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja 2012: Aromatic and balanced tempranillo with outstanding red fruits and balsamic notes. – Check prices here
- La Rioja Alta Reserva Finca Martelo 2014: Persistent, elegant, and enjoyable tempranillo with intense black fruit and wooden aroma. – Check prices here
2. Albarino Wine
A spectacular Spanish white wine is the Albariño, which is a variety of white grapes native to Galicia. It is mainly cropped in the Rias Baixas Denomination of Origin.
The Albariño white wine is a yellowish wine with golden sparkles. On the palate, they are fresh and soft wines with fruity aromas, which makes them ideal to be served paired with seafood.
3 Albarino Wines to Try:
- Pazo de Galegos 2018: Fresh, citrus, and tangy notes in a Spanish white wine with strong persistence. – Check prices here
- La Caña Navia 2017: Very aromatic Albariño wine that has been fermented and aged in chestnut wood barrels. – Check prices here
3. Cava Wine
The Spanish cava is a white or rosé wine that contains carbon dioxide naturally obtained after the alcoholic fermentation of the grape must. The result is this delicious festive drink that must be served really cold, precisely at a temperature of 4 to 6ºC.
Nowadays, 99% of the Spanish cava produced comes from wineries near Barcelona.
However, there are also Cava wineries in Valencia, La Rioja, Zaragoza, Álava, Navarra and Badajoz. Nowadays it’s one of the most visited wine regions in Spain.
It’s one of the best Spanish wines to mark very special events.
3 Cava Wines to Try:
- Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava Brut: Fresh cava with a fruity aroma and abundant bubbles. – Check prices here
- Anna de Codorniu Blanc de Blancs: Bright yellow Spanish sparkling wine characterized by its aging aroma and persistent bubbles. – Check prices here
- Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad: Elegant and versatile cava with slight hints of honey, fruit, and petals combined with the presence of nuts from its aging. – Check prices here
4. Ribera del Duero Wine
Most Denomination of Origin Ribera del Duero wines are made using tempranillo grapes, which provides the wine a strong violásea color. Moreover, it gives the drink aromas of blackberry and black fruits of the forest.
Vines are cultivated in high altitude lands – located in the northern mountain plateau of the Iberian Peninsula – with severe climate conditions. As a result, winegrowers from Northern Spain obtain these exceptional grapes.
3 Ribera del Duero Wines to Try:
- Protos Crianza 2016: Dry Spanish red wine with pillory red and purple flashes indicating its youth. It is ideal to pair it with roasted meats. – Check prices here
- Arzuaga 2017: Born in the most select vineyards that the firm owns in Valladolid and Burgos. Elegant red wine that gives your palate persistent soft and mellow sensations. – Check prices here
5. Tempranillo Red Wine
In Spanish, tempranillo means ‘earlyish’ and this kind of grape receives this name because it is the variety that takes less time to mature among all the existing ones.
Maybe that’s the reason why it is the most planted kind of grape in Spain.
Tempranillo is mainly cultivated on the lands of the Ribera del Duero, where the extreme climate conditions allow the harvest to be earlier than in the rest of the country.
Indeed, it is considered the best wine region in Spain by some experts.
However, you can also find plenty of tempranillo wine from La Rioja region.
It is possible to get red and white bottles made with tempranillo grapes and none of them will disappoint you!
3 Wines to Try:
- CVNE Viña Real Crianza 2016: Wine made from grapes from the area of Rioja Alavesa harvested manually in Viña Real. It can be an appropriate Spanish wine for sangria. – Check prices here
- Marques de Murrieta Reserva 2015: If you are looking for good Spanish wine, you should give this a try. I am sure you will love to taste this reserva wine, which has been partially aged in American oak barrels and in the bottle. – Check prices here
- Marqués de Cáceres Crianza 2017: Traditional wine with deep aromas of fruits and ripe fruit. Suits a wide variety of snacks from Spain, such as serrano ham or meat croquettes. – Check prices here
6. Spanish Cabernet
The strain of Cabernet Sauvignon has its origins in France but nowadays it is also cultivated in Spain. However, the Spanish Cabernet is often combined with other varieties of grape strains (such as Merlot or Syrah) to give the wine some softness and avoid its acidity.
The Cabernet Sauvignon can be used to make elegant and balanced white, rosé, and red wines, which are ideal to pair with fish and meat.
3 Cabernet Wines to Try:
- Vega Sindoa 2016: Expressive, deep ruby color. Aromatics of white chocolate and minerality. Medium-bodied with supple tannins and abundant fruit. – Check prices here
- Marques de Grinon 2016: Aromatic, full-bodied, and well-structured Spanish Cabernet with deep notes of wild berry fruits and species. – Check prices here
- Mas La Plana 2015: Torres Winery (Spain) offers the possibility to the world to know what is Spain known for: the creation of intense and expressive Cabernet wines, that will show you the passion for attending to every detail. – Check prices here
7. Spanish Orange Wine
Orange wines are nothing but white wines fermented as red. For its elaboration, the skin of the grapes is kept in the pressing process as it is done with red wines.
However, we should not confuse this kind of orange wine with the Spanish Vino Naranja, which was originally produced in Huelva.
These are liqueur wines, in which the skins of bitter oranges are macerated inside amphorae to give them a special flavor.
It’s one of the best Spanish wines if you want to try something different.
3 Orange Wines to Try:
- Vins Nus Siuralta Orange 2020: One of the most special, tasty, and aromatic Spanish white wines, with fresh and aromatic citrus notes standing out. – Check prices here
- Sicus Xarel·lo Brisat 2018: Full-bodied and unctuous wine with ripe fruit, Mediterranean forest, and dried flower notes. – Check prices here
- O Morto Combullo 2017: A special Spanish wine different from the vast majority of orange wines. Original and fresh, a delight for your senses. – Check prices here
8. Spanish Sherry Wine
There is a Spanish Sherry wine for all tastes and occasions because of the wide and varied range of this alcoholic drink.
The general consensus is that three Spanish wine types of Jerez can be distinguished: dry Sherry wines, naturally sweet wines, and liqueur wines.
3 Sherry Wines to Try:
- Valdespino Palo Cortado Calle Ponce: High-quality and traditional dry Spanish Jerez wine with caramel and tobacco notes. – Check prices here
- Emilio Hidalgo La Panesa Especial Fino: Exceptional Sherry wine characterized by its honey and citrus aromas leading to a long bitter almond note. – Check prices here
- González Byass Viña AB Amontillado: Refreshing and delightful Spanish Jerez that perfectly balances nutty, lemon, and apricot flavors. – Check prices here
9. Priorats Wine
Some of the most beautiful places in Spain can be found in the Priorat Denomination of Origin, which is a mountainous region in the province of Tarragona.
This kind of wine has got the highest quality distinction in Spain and they are ideal as an appetizer or to pair with cheese or desserts.
3 Priorats Wines to Try:
- Costers del Priorat Pissarres 2017: Blend of Samso and Garnacha grapes with a fresh aroma of flowers and fruits. – Check prices here
- Clos i Terrasses Laurel 2018: Easy to drink a ruby combination of Garnatxa, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with citric and red berry notes. – Check prices here
- Torres Cos Perpetual 2015: Textured and fruity Priorat wine that should be paired with roasted meat. – Check prices here
10. Godello Wine
The Godello variety is a white grape that grows in the northeastern region of the Iberian Peninsula. In fact, it is found throughout Galicia, Portugal, and Bierzo.
Godello wines are characterized not only by their acidity but also by the powerful and fresh citric aromas.
3 Wines to Try:
- Bodegas Raúl Pérez Ultreia 2018: Fresh, mineral-rich, and harmonic Spanish white wine. If you are wondering what to eat in Spain paired with this drink, fish and seafood will be the best option. – Check prices here
- Ladeiras do Xil Branco de Santa Cruz 2017: Mediterranean and richly-textured blend of Godello, Treixadura, Doña Blanca and Palomino grapes. – Check prices here
- Emilio Moro La Revelia 2017: This fresh Spanish white wine highlights the freshness and acidity of the Godello grape variety, which is balanced with citrus and floral aromas. – Check prices here
11. Pedro Ximenez Wine
Pedro Ximénes is a Spanish dessert wine whose grapes are naturally sun-dried and converted into raisins. The result is a sweet and dense wine reminiscent of liquor.
It’s one of the best Spanish wines for dessert or to drink with cheese.
3 Wines to Try:
- Alvear 1927: Sweet Spanish wine characterized by its density and the notes of figs, caramel syrup, and honey. – Order here
- Gonzales Byass Nectar: Spanish dessert wine that is a little bit less sweet than the usual but still is the perfect dessert pairing. – Order here
12. Malaga Wine
Malaga vineyards are considered the most beautiful places in Spain to enjoy a traditional tapa and wine tasting.
The most famous wines from Malaga are a variety of liqueur and sweet wine with Designation of Origin.
You can’t visit Malaga province without trying this typical drink from Malaga town. It’s a must when wondering what to eat in Malaga.
3 Malaga Wines to Try:
- Botani Old Vines Moscatel 2018: A young, elegant, and perfumed wine with aromas of ripe fruit and floral notes. – Check reviews here
- Molino Real Málaga 2014: New, fresh, and most authentic expression of traditional muscates. – Check reviews here
- Number 1 Selección Especial 2017: A naturally sweet wine with D.O. Málaga made with Muscat grapes from Alexandria. – Check reviews here
Short FAQ about Best Spanish Wines to Try
Which region of Spain produces the most wine?
The region of Spain that produces the most wine is Castilla La Mancha. 13 million hectolitres are produced every years: 1/3 of Spanish wine output. However, La Rioja is often the most famous one.
Who are the top wine distributors in Spain?
Among the top wine distributors in Spain are considered Rioja and Rivera del Duero for red wines. Penedés region in Catalunya and Galicia are famous for white wines. Andalucia is famous for its sweet wines such as Pedro Ximenez, Malaga wine or Montilla wine.
Which is better Garnacha or Tempranillo?
Whether Garnacha or Tempranillo is better, is a question of taste. While Garnacha is much more planted over the world, Tempranillo is mostly associated with Northern Spain.