When you think of wine, Spanish wines are probably not at the top of your radar. But did you know that these wines have some impressive rankings? In fact, Spain is the third largest producer of wine by volume. With its plateaus and consistent temperatures, the country has more vineyards by area than any other country in the world.
Many of Spain’s wine producers are deeply rooted in Old World traditions. However, the times are changing, and more and more producers are turning to modern winemaking methods while keeping with their heritage.
Here are a few wines that come from this beautiful country.
Red Spanish Wines
One of Spain’s most recognized wines is Rioja. It’s made from a blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha grapes, and can sometimes include Mazuela, Viura, and Graciano grapes. It pairs well with salty foods such as olives, Manchego cheese, and Jamon Serrano. Similar to Cabernet Sauvignon, there’s a fruit element to Rioja with hints of cherry, plum, and vanilla.
Another favorite red wine is Pirorat. A modern vintage that’s gaining popularity throughout the world, Pirorat is full-bodied with high acidity as well as high alcohol content. It’s like taking a trip through different stages of flavor: First, you get the fruity hints of blackberry, plums, and currants; next comes the slight minerality that comes from the soil of the region; and finally, an herby, licorice-like aftertaste.
Finally, there’s the Old Vine Garnacha. Steeped in tradition, “old vine” means the vines the grapes hail from are 50 years old. It’s becoming more and more fashionable, and much more affordable, than your classic Rioja wine. Again, this is a very fruit forward wine, with hints of berry and finishes with a subtle peppery spice.
White Spanish Wines
Meet the “wine of the sea,” Albariño. This high acidity, white wine is named after the grape found in northeast Spain and northwest Portugal. It’s a lighter bodied wine, with a citrusy, refreshing taste with hints of saltiness. It’s a fantastic choice to pair with seafood such as ceviche, fish tacos, and shrimp.
Rueda Verdejo is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and another white grape. This wine must contain at least 85 percent of the Verdejo grape to be considered a true Rueda Verdejo wine. It has a clean, crisp, bright flavor with hints of citrus, melon, and fennel.
The up and comer Txokolina is from Basque country. It was brought to the United States by sommeliers and is only consumed in its local region and the U.S. This fresh, floral white wine is a little tart with a slight effervescent. Much like the Pirorat, there is a hint of minerality, and you can detect notes of peach flavors.
Cava is Spain’s sparkling wine. It can be either a white or rosé and, much like Champagne, it must be produced in the traditional way in the region of Cava. The medium-bodied wine has a high acidity level with notes of apple flavors.