Wine styles in Spain: the power of the exciting and sunny wines for all tastes

In Spain there are a lot of wine, but, Which they are so importants as to create style or trend? Naturally the climate, the cépages predominance, altitude, influence of nature, temperature oscillation and soils in common make possible a classification through this guide:

Red wines:

From Todoelvino.blogspot we think there are 8 main red wine zones spread over Spain, the best known for wine lovers, international influencers and journalist are ‘Rioja’ and ‘Duero Riverside’ wines, but today we propose to make you discover other areas that surely even leading wine critics ignore. The tour begins!

Between Atlantic Ocean &‘Kingdom of León is the big bet of spanish oenology that revolves around Godello grape (Cabernet Franc adapted?). This northwest area, has mild temperatures (12º C year), humidity, good water supply (800 mm/ year approximately), mixing soils (quartzite in Bierzo region or slates with limestone in Valdeorras wine region for example) and particular microclimates. Therefore this translates in valveties and fresh red wines with earthy notes and ability to be aged.

Ask for them as wines of... ‘Bierzo’,‘Valdeorras’,‘Ribeira Sacra’,‘Tierra de León’

The ‘Duero’ school: They are the top wines of  Spain with Rioja. Its situation, the influence of Duero river, extreme temperature oscillation day/night allows long aging periods that offer the highest quality in Tempranillo grapes. Their classic wines are characterized by very expressive mouth, tasty, dense and french oak friendly (which transmit their typical sweet spices aromas such as vanilla or roasted aromas but without losing fruit notes). In 'Toro' wine region, the ‘cascajo’ soils add to Tinta de Toro grape (Tempranillo there adapted) more vigor and alcoholic strength (14’5 % easily) in its red wines.

Ask for them as wines of... ‘Ribera del Duero’ (reserva y gran reserva), ‘Toro’ (reserva y gran reserva), ‘Tierra de Zamora’, ‘Valtiendas’

The Rioja school: the most famous wines of Spain. They come from a fresh continental region, in transition between the Atlantic and Mediterranean climates and fresh in its western part (High Rioja) where the most exclusive terroirs are located. Its southern part is influenced by Ebro river and its particular wind (The Zierzo), calcareous clay soils, ferrous clay and alluvial soils. Typical Rioja red wines are based in Tempraillo, Graciano and Mazuelo grapes, with visually medium-down intensity , a nose dominated by balsamic, eucalyptus and eugenol (C10H12O2) typical of American oak where long aging processes are performed. In mouth, Rioja classic wines are concentred, complex, where wood wins fruit (especially classic Rioja wines because mondern Riojas are more balanced) all it supported by a good freshness that balances the whole.

Ask for them as wines of...Rioja’ (crianza, gran reserva y reserva)

Best Grenache in Old World: Garnacha’s cradle its named Aragón. There, excellence is achieved through several factors: an interesting mosaic of soils (stony in Cariñena wine region, clay and limestone in Borja wine region or slate soils in Calatayud wine region among many others), different altitudes, ancient vineyards or dry and arid climate. There are also good Grenache grapes in wine regions of Rioja Baja, Navarra Low Mountains and some terroirs of Catalonia, Gredos and Languedoc. All explained gives colored wines with ripe red fruits aromas, intense flavor, full-medium bodied, with high mineral expression and no or little (<1o month) passage for barrels.

Ask for them as wines of... ‘Campo de Borja’, ‘Calatayud’, ‘Cariñena’, ‘Pago-Aylés’, ‘Monegros’ ‘Navarra’, ‘Rioja (Baja)’

Mediterranean & catalan red wines: The best mediterranean wines in Spain are concentrated in this territory full of personality. The factors surrounding the vineyard are the careful and responsible care of the environment, maritime influences and high brightness and a spectacular scene summaizing. All this gives great red wines based in mediterranean grapes like Syrah, Samsó, Monastrell, Cariñena, Picapoll... alones or accompanied by french cépages. These red wines are balanced, bodied/medium-bodied and very colorful evoking the landscape, the mediterranean underwood and summers on the coast.

Ask for them as wines of... ‘Montsant’,‘Terra Alta’,‘Tarragona’,‘Priorat’,‘Penedès’, ‘Cataluña’ 

The ‘Bobal’ territory: East of Spain, with continental-mediterranean climate and with until 800 altitude metres hides a different grape: Bobal. The grape is ideal for young wines but can be combined with Tempranillo grape or Cabernet for aging in barrels. Really an alternative that leaves those red wines as the most interesting of Iberian southeast.

Ask for them as wines of... 'Utiel-Requena', 'Ribera del Júcar', 'Manchuela', 'Pago-El Terrerazo'

The strength of ‘Levante’ wines: wines full of tradition and color looking the sea. The climate is very hard, with very few rains and over 3ooo hours of sunshine per year, so no choice but to give red wines. Result? Powerful wines, which can reach 15 % in alcohol, with low acidity and based in grapes like Monastrell, Red pulp Grenache (it’s not the classical Grenache) or Cencibel, precisely red grapes that french Châteaux are buying for increase color and alcohol level. In summary, you only can love or hate these wines.

Ask for them as wines of...‘Alicante’,‘Bullas’,‘Jumilla’,‘Murcia’

The Canarian jewels: What’s happening in Tenerife island? Why their wines have many projection? Perhaps thanks to their pre-phylloxeric vineyards, the tropical-atlantic climate, their altitude level (Abona wine region vineyards get over 17oo m), the volcanic soils, their traditional way of cultivation or the typical cold wind (alíseos), all this is the key for the most unique red wines in Spain ready for be discovered.

Ask for them as wines of...Taroconte-Acentejo’,‘Valle de Güimar’,‘Valle de La Orotava’,‘Ycoden-Daute-Isora’,‘Abona’

and if you tried all…  continues with full/medium-bodied red wines from Castilla-La Mancha, the wines influenced by Guadiana river in Extremadura wine region, the pioneering wine vision from Mallorca island or the particular Sierra de Gredo's Grenache (frontier between warm and hot Spain), looking for his own label.

White wines: 

Magic wines from the Green Spain: Galician white wines, for Spaniards, are usually associated with luxury and the celebration. Multi-diversity of biological factors, in many cases opposed, has led to the justification of all its wine regions, microclimates and an extraordinary diversification. Galician wines are characterized by good freshness, good Atlantic influence and also smallholdings (exists a ‘terroir’ concept). The mountains and the variety of land defines them to all too. By Gerry Dawes <<In Galicia there are the best land in Spain to make wine, they are not wine cellar, they are wines of land >>.

Ask for the as wines of…Rías Baixas, Ribeira Sacra, Ribeiro, Monterrei, Terra de Barbanza e Iria, Valle del Miño - Ourense

WWW (Wheel white wines): Recently the Rueda’s (=Wheel’s) wine apellation have been dogged by controversy internal affairs. Apart from these political problems there is a wine region devoted to the Verdejo grape, traditional of Duero valley. So to speak of WWW is to speak of Verdejo wine: fruity nose with herbaceous, citrus and tropical smells, with subtle and floral secondary aromas. Fresh mouth with interesting and characteristic touch bitter at end.

Ask for the as wines of… Rueda, Tierra de Castilla y León

‘Txakolís’: Txakoli is the traditional Basque Country's white wine, fruit of the Atlantic viticulture of native varieties (Hondarribi Zuri and Hondarribi Beltza). You can enjoy drink it a wine cup or a traditional way (pouring in tall glass to 'break' the wine in the glass and give a sparkling point of carbon). It characterized as fresh and acid tasting to be consumed between 8º and 1oº C. The pairing goes beyond fish and starters, be surprised if you try with Idiazabal cheese.

Ask for the as wines of… Álava Txakolí, Bizkaia Txakolí, Getaria Txakolí

Central European spirit in Northeast: The climatic and geographic diversity of Spain allows certain Central european cépages express a great and singular potential. Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and /or Chardonnay wines (especially last 2) have achieved good results in the Somontano, (High) Penedès and Navarra. This “style” of wines is as powerful in nose as their native conterparts but perhaps less acidic and more fruity in the mouth.

Ask for the as wines of… Somontano, Navarra (Valdizarbe & Low Mountain), Pago-Otazu, Penedès

Cava country: If you like sparkling wines don’t leave Spain without taste Cava wines. The most famous cava comes from Penedès, Catalonia (more than 33ooo Ha of planted area) but they are no better than Cava's from Aragón, Extremadura, Navarra, La Rioja and Valencia Community. Carbon dioxide of cava wines comes from a second fermentation that can be done by traditional system or by granvas system. Depending the sugar content in grams per liter, cavas are classified into (low to high sugar content): Brut Nature (0-3 gr/l), Extra Brut, Brut, Extra Dry, Dry, Semi-dry and Sweet.

Ask for the as sparkling wines… Cava from Catalonia /Aragón / Extremadura / Navarra / La Rioja /Valencia Community

‘Moscatel’ sweet wines: Wines with a long tradition which belong to areas of high insolation so often reaches 450 grams of sugar per liter but always balanced with enough acidity. These wines are usually based on grapes called Muscat of Alexandria and / or Muscat Blanc à petits grains very ripes (optionally, if we add to the resulting wine-juice alcohol it obteins the Sweet Natural Wine )( Mediterranean sailors added alcohol to muscat wines for don’ t spoil it during the journey). Sweet Muscat wines are characterized by a golden yellow color, intense, floral, ripe fruit, citrus fruits aromas and a smooth, balanced mouth between sweetness and acidity.

Ask for the as sweet wines of… Cariñena, Borja, Valencia, Alicante, Málaga

Mr. PX sweetness : Pedro Ximenez is the name of a grape that reaches the peak in the Córdoba province in the form of sweet wine. The Córdoba hot zone focuses much grape sugars and that means wines with 15% of alcohol when the grapes are raisined. If we add the oxidative aging andcriaderas & soleras system it get an unique wine. The top wines of this area belong to the wine apellation  Montilla-Moriles, and have a thick, amber and shiny aspect. Predominate in nose raisined fruit notes, dates, dried figs candied. Unctuous, sweet and balanced in the mouth.

Ask for the as wines of…Montilla - Moriles

An Universe for fortified wines: Three types of aging, one blending system, and Palomino as king : a white grape here influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, the river Guadalquivir, the albariza's soil and the marshes of Sherry region, on the southern coast of Spain. So, combining judiciously all these factors it have a generous range of traditional wines that by quality they can be classified into : Manzanilla, Fino, Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Oloroso…sure sounds you, but there is more. These wines ares served in ‘copita’ 7º to 1oº C and they are indiscribable in mouth, try it!

Ask for the as wines of… Jerez – Xérès – Sherry – Manzanilla de Sanlúcar, Condado de Huelva

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