Popular Spanish Wines

Enjoy the adventure of Spanish wine.
Enjoy the adventure of Spanish wine.

Now that it's growing in popularity, everyone is looking for Spanish wine information.

Most Popular Spanish Wine

It used to be that Spanish wine was sort of the troubled child people never talked about in the wine industry. Now, wine lovers and experts alike are slowly discovering just how fantastic (and comparatively inexpensive) Spanish wines truly are. Keep reading to get a little more Spanish wine information about the most popular varietals to come out of this country.

Most Popular Reds

The following reds are the most widely planted red wine grapes that make some of the best selling red wines from Spain.

Tempranillo

Pronounced tem-pra-nee-yo, this native Spanish grape is grown in both north and central Spain. The Tempranillo grape by itself is sort of the middle-of-the-line grape, bearing neither too acidic or tannic flavor characteristics, which is why it lends itself so well with blending with other grapes. This grape is often blended with Rioja and Garnacha.

Rioja

Arguably one of the most popular wines to come out of Spain, Rioja is usually blended out of the following grapes:

  • Tempranillo
  • Garnacha Tinta
  • Graciano
  • Mazuelo

Garnacha

Garnacha (Grenache elsewhere) has flavor characteristics of vine ripened blackberries and cherries with the slightest hint of peppery spice. It is generally medium bodied with light acidity and tannic properties. This grape is often blended with Cinsault, Syrah and Carignan grapes. Generally, there are two main types of Garnacha on the market, Garnacha Tinta (sometimes sold as Garnacha Tinto) and the blush wine, Garnacha Rose.

Most Popular Whites

For the most part, Spain is better known for its red wines, but it does turn out some fantastic whites.

Albariño

Properly pronounced al-ba-reen-yo, this northwestern Spanish grape produces a white wine that displays soft apricot, nectarine and slightly tart Granny Smith apple flavors. Aromatically, this Spanish white wine tends to display nutty and herbaceous scents. The body of Albariño leans toward the acidic and tart.

Airen

The Airen grape is actually the most widely planted grape in the world, though it is beginning to lose ground, especially in Spain. Spanish vintners have been pulling up Airen vines in favor for the increasingly popular Tempranillo. Funny that most of us have never heard of the grape, but that is mainly due to the fact that it's generally used for a blending grape. This Spanish white has a relatively high alcohol content, usually around 13 to 14 percent. Some say you cannot find this wine outside of La Mancha, Spain, but don't let them fool you. Here are a few bottles to keep an eye out for the next time you are wine shopping:

  • Dominio de Eguren Protocolo Blanco
  • Vino de la Tierra de Castilla
  • Fierabras Airen Sauvignon Blanc

Rioja Blanca

A blend of Malvasia, Viura and Garnacha Blanca grapes, Rioja Blanca is easy to drink with sweet melon flavors and a low acidity. Here are some suggestions:

  • Cautivo Rioja Blanca
  • Bodegas Marqués de Cáceres Rioja Blanca
  • Juan Luis Canas Rioja Blanca

Cava

Cava is Spain's answer to Champagne, without the Champagne price tag. Almost all Cava is produced in the northwestern Spanish regions of Penedes and Catalonia. Don't think you've ever heard of Cava? You have. Freixenet (pronounced fresh-eh-net) wine is actually Cava. The following grapes are the only allowable grapes used the production of this Spanish sparkling white:

  • Macabeo
  • Xarello
  • Parellada
  • Subaret
  • Chardonnay

Spanish Wine: Information is the Beginning

Now that you know a little more Spanish wine information, arm yourself with a few key points, go down to your local wine merchant and purchase a few bottles. You may be surprised at how good, not to mention comparatively inexpensive, wines from Spain can be. Spanish wines are a perfect example of how wine does not have to be expensive to be good and the fact that many less expensive bottles are much tastier than their pricier counterparts.

Popular Spanish Wines