Most of us know that Spain has much more to offer in wine than just that tasty fruit drink. You can find so many great values in Spanish wine—delicious (and non-expensive) bottles for any night of the week. But you will also be rewarded if you decide to spend a little more and explore the classic wines of Spain. If you need help with choosing a Spanish wine, just holler.

Main red grape varieties:

  • Tempranillo – probably the most well known grape in Spain. Its home is in La Rioja and is known also in other regions as Tinto Fino in Ribera del Duero, Cencibel in Lan Mancha and Ull de Llebre in Catalonia. The grape produces a fresh and fruity red wine, best when oak aged.
  • Garnacha (Grenache) – Although grown almost everywhere in the wine world, the Northeast of Spain is its home. It comprises the majority of the best wines of Priorat and is also used as a blending grape in Rioja and in Cava sparkling wines. It produces dried red fruit flavours with herbal and spicy notes.
  • Monastrell – (known in France as Mourvèdre), this grape is typically from the Murcia area (south of Valencia). A perfect wine with smoked meats and barbecue where the wine’s peppery flavours seem to vanish, revealing layers of black fruits and chocolate.
  • Bobal – A relatively unknown grape outside of Spain, due to the fact that very little is exported. Still, this grape is one of Spain’s most planted grapes. It grows mostly in Central Spain where it’s prized for its deep opaque purple colour, high tannins, and black fruit flavours.
  • Mencía – This grape produces a unique medium bodied wine that grows in Spain (and Portugal). Some wine collectors have likened it it to Grand Cru Burgundy because of its layers of red fruit, floral aromas and moderate mouth-drying tannins. It has flavours of pomegranate, and black liquorice.

Main white grape varieties:

  • Verdejo – the most well know grape from Rueda. Verdejo wines are aromatic (with a tropical character), with body. Some producers opt for oak aging.
  • Albariño – This grape is grown in the D.O. Rias Baixas in the Northwest of Spain, in Galicia. Albariño wines are aromatic, crispy and with a distinctive aroma. It produces acid wines, but also with high glycerine that gives them a silky texture.
  • Godello – Another grape from the Northwest of Spain, it is a high quality grape that produces very aromatic wines.
  • Palomino – Commonly called Palomino, the more precise name is Palomino Fino. In other parts of Spain, it is simply called Jerez. These grapes are very neutral in aroma, which is a downside for table wines but a great asset in sherry.
  • Pedro Ximénez – Together with Palomino, Pedro Ximénez is another very traditional variety used throughout the Jerez region for ages. Its greater sugar content and higher levels of acidity are great for sweet wines.
  • Xareló, Parellada and Macabeo (or Viura) – These are the 3 grapes traditionally used to produce Cava.

Some Food and Wine Pairings for Spanish Wines.

Rioja & Ribera del Duero (Tempranillo)

  • Char Grilled Filet Mignon
  • BBQ Pork Tenderloin
  • Roasted Rack of Lamb
  • Serrano Ham

Priorat (Garnacha/Cariñena)

  • Braised Oxtail
  • Smoked Beef Brisket
  • Venison Tenderloin
  • Braised Pork Cheeks

Rías Baixas (Albariño)

  • Grilled Octopus
  • Pan Roasted Cod
  • Sashimi & Sushi Rolls
  • Vinaigrette dressed salads


  • Gambas al Ajillo (Shrimp & Garlic)
  • Chilled Octopus
  • Crab Cakes
  • Poached Lobster

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