Wines by Country
As climate, geology and topography vary around Spain, so do the wine styles. The cool vineyards of the far north and northwest create light, crisp, white wines, exemplified by the Albariños of Rias Baixas . Those in warmer, drier regions further inland tend towards mid-bodied, fruit-driven reds such as Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Bierzo. Those close to the Mediterranean produce heavier, more powerful reds (e.g. Jumilla), except in higher-altitude districts, where reduced heat and humidity allow the production of lighter reds and notably sparkling white Cava.
The vast majority of Spanish wine is made from just a small number of varieties.
The key red-wine varieties are Tempranillo, Garnacha and Monastrell. The leading white-wine varieties are Viura/Macabeo and Palomino and Albariño.
Tempranillo, which has various regional synonyms (including Cencibel, Tinto Fino and Ull de Llebre) appears in both quality and quantity. It accounts for just over 20 percent of all Spanish vines, and features prominently in the country’s most prestigious wines (most obviously Rioja, Toro and Ribera del Duero). Garnacha is valued for its juicy, fruity character and high potential alcohol. It is put to good use in the deeply-coloured rosés of Navarra, but is perhaps at its best when blended with the more-structured, darker-flavoured Tempranillo.