Spanish Wine

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Denominación de Origen   Location   Description
Abona The south of Tenerife Full-bodied, flavoursome, white wines. Some red and rosé.
Alella North of Barcelona. Dry or medium-dry white wine. Some red for drinking young.
Alicante Alicante province Sturdy, dark red wines, with some white and rosé. Note the interesting fondillón, a very strong, aromatic red wine.
Almansa Albacete Red wine and a little white. Few grape varieties used.
Ampurdán-Costa Brava Very north of the Costa Blanca Rosés are very popular, as well as red wine made to be drunk young.
Bierzo The west of the province of León Red, white and rosé wine. Red wine very flavoursome and fruity.
Binisallem-Mallorca The centre of the island of Majorca White and rosé, but most famous for good red wine, suitable for aging.
Bullas West of Murcia province Red wine for drinking young and, especially, good rosé wines.

 

Denominación de Origen   Location   Description
Calatayud South-west of Saragossa province White, red and noteworthy rosé wines.
Campo de Borja North-west of Saragossa province Fruity white and rosé wine, and full-bodied red wine.
Cariñena South of Saragossa province White and rosé wine and very varied red wine, some being very good indeed.
Cava* North of Spain, especially Catalonia Cava is Spain’s champagne-method sparkling wine and comes in all the same varieties as champagne – brut, seco, etc. There are even rosé cavas.
Cigales North of the city of Valladolid Red and rosé wine, of which the latter is more famous. Strong-flavoured, not to everyone’s liking.
Conca de Barberá  North of Tarragona province White, red and rosé wines, tending to be acidic.
Condado de Huelva Around the city of Huelva Strong, sherry-like white wines, well-worth investigating.
Costers de Segre Scattered around Lerida Strongish red, white and rosé wine and cava
Chacolí de Bizkaia-Bizkaiko-Txakolin Only 50 hectares scattered all over Vizcaya (Biscay) province Essentially white, very slightly sparkling wines, not very strong and often highly aromatic. They have the same meaning for a Basque as a Scotch whisky for a Scot.
Chacolí de Guetaria-Guetariako-Txakolina Near San Sebastian Like the txacoli of Vizcaya, with the added peculiarity that it has an aroma imparted by the plaited esparto grass which plays a part in its production process.
El Hierro The island of El Hierro in the Canaries Mostly full-bodied whites, some red and rosé wine.

 

Denominación de Origen   Location   Description
Jeréz-Xérès-Sherry and Manzanilla-Sanlúcar de Barrameda The Sherry region is in the Atlantic-facing part of the province of Cadiz. Its capital is Jeréz de la Frontera and other important towns are Sanlúcar de Barameda and Puerto de Santa María. The following descriptions are extracted from the denominaciones de origen page of the website of the Spanish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries:

Fino, a dry, light-yellow-coloured wine, alcoholic strength 15-17º.

Manzanilla is the finomade in Sanlúcar, stronger in taste than othersIt has its owndenominación de origen, but administrated by the same regulatory board as sherry wine, so the distinction is not usually made.

Amontillado is a smooth, light, high-alcohol, amber-coloured wine with a nutty aroma.

Oloroso is a very aromatic, dry or slightly fruity wine, high in alcohol content.

Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel are very sweet, velvety, mahogany-coloured wines.

Cream sherry is like an oloroso, but has the sweet aroma of a Pedro Ximénez.

As well as the above, a pale cream is a yellow-coloured version of a cream sherry.

And palo cortado is the name given to a wine which is smooth and light like an amontillado with the body and fragrance of an oloroso. It is hard to find and much esteemed.

 

Denominación de Origen   Location   Description
Jumilla Overlapping the provinces of Albacete and Murcia Robust reds, table reds, whites and rosés. Prevalence of the Monastrell grape variety.
Lanzarote The entire Canary Island of Lanzarote Typically sweet wines made from the Malvasia grape (the original “malmsey”). It is astonishing that Lanzarote farmers are able to produce anything at all from the black, volcanic ash which covers the whole island.
Málaga The grapes are grown throughout the province, but the wine is produced in the municipality of Málaga itself. Traditionally sweet, white, dessert wines, especially Moscatels.
La Mancha Don Quixote country: Albacete, Ciudad Real, Cuenca and Toledo La Mancha is one of the most important regions in terms of quantity of wine made. Traditionally, white wines are made here, though some reds are now produced. Mostly table wines with a few quality exceptions.
Méntrida The north of the province of Toledo. Mostly red wine, a little rosé. Strong in taste and alcohol content.
Mondéjar The southwest of the province of Guadalajara. Mostly reds, but also whites, rosés and claretes.
Monterrei The south of the province of Orense, in Galicia, spreading over into Portugal. Fruity, cheerful red and white table wines.
Montilla-Moriles The south of the province of Cordoba. Sherry-like wines, with the same names: fino,amontillado, etc.

 

Denominación de Origen   Location   Description
Navarra The south of the province of Navarre. Like the adjacent region of La Rioja, French-style wines made with great craftsmanship. The white wines are aged at least a year in oak vats.
La Palma The island of La Palma in the Canaries Table reds, whites and rosés, quality whites. Especially noteworthy are the sweet white wines, above all those made from the Malvasia grape.
Penedés Catalonia, overlapping the provinces of Tarragona and Barcelona. Penedés is most famous for its quality white wine, which is fruity and has a characteristic aroma. Some reds and high-quality cava.
Pla de Bages The west of the province of Barcelona. Red, white and rosé wine. This is an ancient wine-making region – it is said that “Bages” derives from “Bacchus.”
Priorato A small region in the west of Tarragona province. Priorato is an ancient wine-making region which has recently resurged. The “new” Prioratos are high-alcohol, barrel-aged reds, made with the Mazuela grape.
Rías Baixas The Atlantic-facing province of Pontevedra in the west of Galicia, especially the right bank of the Miño. Essentially white wines, characteristically light and delicate owing to use of the Albariño grape.
Ribeira Sacra Galicia, overlapping the provinces of Lugo and Orense. A new D.O., though wine has been made here for two thousand years. Very varied, the most famous wine being a red made with the Mencia grape.
Ribeiro The west of Orense province, around the town of Ribadavia. Traditionally, light, fresh, highly aromatic, slightly acidic white wines.
Ribera del Duero The heart of Old Castile, where the provinces of Burgos, Soria, Segovia and Valladolid meet. Ribera del Duero is the most prestigious wine-producing area in Spain after La Rioja and the Sherry region and is the home of the mega-expensive Vega Sicilia. Quality reds, whites and especially interesting rosés.
Ribera del Guadiana Estremadura, between the north of Badajoz and the south of Cáceres. A new D.O. with a number of subzones producing red, white and rosé wines of varying characteristics.
Rioja The wine-producing region of La Rioja occupies most of the province of the same name, capital Logroño, and spills over into Álava and Navarre. Sherry (and Vega Sicilia) apart, La Rioja is the Spanish region where wine-making is most professional. There are historical reasons for this, the result being that Rioja wine is the nearest to French wine to be found in Spain. Quality white, rosé and, especially, red wine.
Rueda The south of the province of Valladolid, spilling over into Segovia and Avila. Quality white wine, typically light and fresh. Also some unusual white wines aged in oak barrels.
Sherry – see Jeréz-Xérès-Sherry
Somontano The province of Huesca, Aragon. Commercial red and rosé table and quality wine.

 

Denominación de Origen   Location   Description
Tacoronte-Acentejo The northeast corner of Tenerife. Young, aromatic, fruity red wine and
Tarragona The middle of the province of Tarragona. Tarragona is divided into two subzones, producing a number of white, red and rosé table and quality wines. The rosés are becoming commercially important, while the red liqueur and vintage wines from the Falset zone are of great interest.
Terra Alta The west of the province of Tarragona. Quality red and white wines, aged at least two years, including six months in oak containers.
Toro Southeast of the city of Zamora, spilling over into the province of Valladolid. The fame of this wine region comes from its red wines, full-bodied after a minimum of aging.
Utiel-Requena The west of Valencia province. Mostly red table and quality wine, but also a few still, sparkling and semi-sparkling white wines and some quality rosés.
Valdeorras The northeast of Orense province. Good white, rosé and red wines, the reds being made with the Mencia grape.
Valdepeñas In the southern part of La Mancha, south-east of Ciudad Real. Valdepeñas has traditionally been a region of large-scale production of not very good wine, though this is changing. The white wines traditionally made here are giving way to reds, some of very good quality, and interesting rosés.
Valencia Four subzones in different parts of Valencia province. A large variety of commercial wines. Good reds, whites and rosés, with some interesting liqueur and dessert wines.
Valle de Güimar In the east of the island of Tenerife in the Canaries. Essentially aromatic, fruity white wines.
Valle de la Orotava In the north of Tenerife. One of the newest denominaciones de origen, producing good quality, eminently drinkable red and white wines.
Vinos de Madrid Three subzones In the south of Madrid province. Madrid has a very long tradition of wine-making, though the quality was not very high until the creation of the D.O. Vinos de Madrid, where good red, white and rosé wine is now made. An interesting white wine is made in San Martín de Valdeiglesias using the Albillo grape.
Ycoden-Daute-Isora The northwest of Tenerife. A very old wine-producing and exporting area, which sold wine to Elizabethan England. Red wine is made but the interesting wines today are whites and rosés.
Yecla In the north of Murcia province. This region used to make strong, coarse red wine, but has much improved in recent years. Good reds, rosés and, to a lesser extent, whites.

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