Are you struggling to choose from the vast array of Spanish red wines available in your local store? Fact is, Spain boasts more vineyard land than any other country, and its diverse climates lead to a wide range of wine types.
This guide will walk you through seven key styles of Spanish reds, their unique characteristics, grape varieties used, and famous producing regions – making your choice easier and more informed.
Ready for an enticing journey into the world of Spanish vino tinto?.
Spain boasts a wide variety of red wine styles, including young Tempranillo with bold fruity flavors and aged Tempranillo with complex notes of dark fruits and spices.
Garnacha wines are vibrant and fruity, while high-end Garnacha blends offer more complexity and depth.
Other popular Spanish red grape varieties include Monastrell with its rich and bold flavors, Mencía with its medium body and refreshing acidity, and Bobal for those who enjoy intense and robust red wines.
Famous Spanish red wine regions like Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Priorat, Castilla y Leon, Galicia, Catalonia showcase the diversity of Spanish vino tinto.
7 Primary Styles of Spanish Red Wine
The 7 primary styles of Spanish red wine include young Tempranillo, aged Tempranillo, young Garnacha, high-end Garnacha and blends, Monastrell, Mencía, and Bobal.
Young Tempranillo is a Spanish red wine that pops up everywhere. It’s the most planted red grape in Spain. This wine has a cherry taste with hints of strawberry and dried figs. It also gives off a sweet smell like vanilla.
Young Tempranillo goes well with many foods, such as tapas and paella. Many love it for its bold, fruity flavor.
Aged Tempranillo is one of the primary styles of Spanish red wine. It is made from the Tempranillo grape, which is also known as Tinto Fino or Ull de Llebre in different regions of Spain.
Aged Tempranillo wines are known for their complexity and depth of flavor. They often have aromas of dark fruits, such as blackberry and plum, along with notes of vanilla and spices.
These wines are typically aged in oak barrels for a long time, allowing them to develop a smooth and velvety texture. When you sip on an aged Tempranillo, you can expect rich flavors that linger on your palate, making it a perfect choice for pairing with hearty dishes like roasted meats or cheese platters.
Young Garnacha is a vibrant and fruity style of Spanish red wine. It is made from the Grenache grape, which is known for its bold flavors of ripe berries and spice. Young Garnacha wines are typically unoaked, allowing the fruitiness to shine through.
These wines are perfect for those who enjoy a lighter-bodied red with bright acidity. They pair well with grilled meats, roasted vegetables, and tomato-based dishes. Some popular regions in Spain for producing young Garnacha include Calatayud, Navarra, and Carinena.
So if you’re looking for a refreshing and easy-drinking red wine experience, give young Garnacha a try!
High-End Garnacha and blends
High-End Garnacha and blends are another style of Spanish red wine that wine lovers should explore. Garnacha, also known as Grenache, is a versatile grape variety that thrives in Spain’s warm climate.
When it comes to high-end Garnacha wines, they are often aged longer, resulting in more complex flavors and aromas. These wines can showcase notes of ripe berries, spice, and earthiness.
In addition to being enjoyed on their own, high-end Garnacha wines also make fantastic blends with other grape varieties like Syrah or Carignan. These blends add depth and structure to the wines, creating a harmonious balance of flavors.
Monastrell is a red grape variety that is grown in many regions of Spain, including the famous wine region of Jumilla. It produces rich and bold red wines with flavors of blackberry, plum, and spice.
Monastrell wines are known for their deep color and high tannins, which give them structure and ageability. They can be enjoyed when young or aged to develop more complex flavors. Monastrell pairs well with grilled meats, hearty stews, and strong cheeses.
If you enjoy full-bodied red wines with lots of character, Monastrell is definitely worth trying!
Mencía is a red grape variety that is commonly grown in northwest Spain, particularly in the regions of Bierzo and Ribeira Sacra. It produces vibrant and aromatic red wines with flavors of red berries, black cherry, and floral notes.
Mencía wines are known for their medium body, refreshing acidity, and smooth tannins. They can be enjoyed when young or aged for a few years to enhance their complexity. These wines pair well with grilled meats, roasted vegetables, and hard cheeses.
So if you’re looking to try something unique from Spain, give Mencía wine a taste!
Bobal is a lesser-known grape variety in Spain, but it’s worth discovering for its unique characteristics. This red grape is mainly grown in the Utiel-Requena region and produces rich and intense wines.
Bobal wines are known for their deep color, high acidity, and robust tannins. They often have flavors of blackberry, plum, and earthy notes. Bobal is an excellent choice if you enjoy bold red wines with complex flavors.
Try pairing Bobal wines with grilled meats or hearty stews to enhance their flavors even more.
Popular Spanish Red Grape Varieties
Tempranillo, Graciano, Garnacha, Carignan, Monastrell, Mencia, and Alicante Bouschet are some popular red grape varieties in Spain. Learn more about these fascinating Spanish grapes and their unique characteristics in our blog!
Tempranillo / Tinto Fino / Ull de Llebre
Tempranillo, also known as Tinto Fino or Ull de Llebre, is the most widely planted red grape in Spain. It is a versatile grape that produces various styles of red wine. Tempranillo wines can range from young and fruity to rich and full-bodied with aging potential.
This grape variety is known for its flavors of cherry, dried fig, strawberry, and vanilla. Tempranillo wines pair well with traditional Spanish cuisine like tapas and paella. So if you’re a wine lover looking to explore Spanish reds, make sure to try a bottle of Tempranillo/Tinto Fino/Ull de Llebre!
Graciano is a red grape variety that is widely grown in Spain. It is known for its intense color and bold flavors, making it a popular choice in Spanish red wine blends. Graciano grapes are typically used to add depth and complexity to wines, with their characteristic notes of dark berries, spice, and tobacco.
This grape variety thrives in the hot and dry climate of Spain, especially in regions like Rioja and Navarra. Graciano wines are often aged to soften their tannins and enhance their rich flavors.
If you’re a fan of full-bodied red wines with robust flavors, you should definitely give Graciano a try!
Garnacha / Garnaxta
Garnacha, also known as Garnaxta, is a popular red grape variety in Spain. It is grown in many regions across the country and produces wines that are fruity and full-bodied. The flavors of Garnacha include ripe red fruits like cherry and strawberry, as well as hints of spice and herbs.
It is often blended with other varieties to create complex and balanced wines. If you enjoy bold and flavorful red wines, give Garnacha a try!
Carignan / Cariñena
Carignan, also known as Cariñena in Spain, is a popular red grape variety used to make Spanish red wine. It is grown in various regions, including Catalonia and Aragon. Carignan wines are known for their deep color, high acidity, and bold flavors of blackberry and spice.
They can range from light to full-bodied depending on the winemaking style. Carignan grapes are often blended with other varieties like Grenache to add complexity to the wine. If you’re a fan of robust red wines with intense flavors, Carignan/Cariñena wines are definitely worth exploring.
Monastrell / Mouvedre / Mataró
Monastrell, also known as Mouvedre or Mataró, is a popular red grape variety in Spain. It creates robust and full-bodied wines with intense flavors of blackberry, plum, and spice.
Monastrell wines are often bold and tannic, making them ideal for aging. They pair well with hearty dishes like roasted meats and stews. Some famous regions that produce Monastrell wines include Jumilla, Yecla, and Alicante in southeastern Spain.
These wines showcase the rich and vibrant characteristics of the Monastrell grape, offering wine enthusiasts a taste of Spanish excellence.
Mencia is a red grape variety that originates from the northwest region of Spain, specifically in Galicia and Bierzo. It produces wines with medium body and vibrant acidity, making them very food-friendly.
Mencia wines are known for their aromatic profile, showcasing notes of red berries, cherries, violets, and earthy undertones. These wines can be enjoyed while they are young or aged for more complexity.
If you love exploring unique wine varieties, Mencia is definitely worth trying!
Alicante Bouschet / Garnacha Tintorea
Alicante Bouschet, also known as Garnacha Tintorea, is a red grape variety that is commonly used in Spanish red wine production. It is known for its deep color and rich flavors. Alicante Bouschet wines are often full-bodied with intense fruitiness and a hint of spice.
This grape variety is especially popular in the regions of Valencia and Catalonia. If you enjoy bold and flavorful red wines, be sure to try a bottle made from Alicante Bouschet or Garnacha Tintorea.
Famous Spanish Red Wine Regions
Spain is home to several famous wine regions, including Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Priorat, Toro, Castilla y Leon, Galicia, and Catalonia.
Rioja is one of the most famous wine regions in Spain, known for its high-quality red wines. The region produces both young and aged Tempranillo wines that are full of flavor and character.
Rioja wines are often described as having notes of cherry, dried fig, strawberry, and vanilla. They pair well with traditional Spanish cuisine like tapas and paella. If you’re a wine lover looking to explore Spanish red wines, Rioja should definitely be on your list!
Ribera del Duero
Ribera del Duero is one of the most famous wine regions in Spain, known for producing exceptional red wines. It is located in the Castilla y Leon region and is home to some of the country’s top wineries.
The primary grape variety grown here is Tempranillo, which is also known as Tinto Fino or Tinta del Pais. The climate and soil conditions in Ribera del Duero contribute to the unique character of its wines.
The red wines from this region are rich, full-bodied, and elegant with flavors of blackberry, cherry, and tobacco. They often have firm tannins that give them structure and a long aging potential.
Priorat is a famous wine region in Spain known for its high-quality red wines. The region is located in Catalonia and is home to some of the country’s most sought-after and expensive wines.
Priorat wines are typically made from a blend of Garnacha (Grenache) and Cariñena (Carignan) grapes, resulting in bold and concentrated flavors. The vines here grow on steep hillsides with mineral-rich soils, giving the wines a unique character.
These reds are known for their intense fruit flavors, such as blackberry and plum, along with notes of spices and herbs. Priorat red wines are often full-bodied with firm tannins, making them perfect for aging.
Toro is one of the significant regions for red wine production in Spain. Known for its bold and powerful wines, Toro offers a unique taste experience. The region is famous for its red grape variety called Tinta de Toro, which is a local clone of Tempranillo.
This grape produces robust and full-bodied wines with intense flavors of black fruits, spices, and earthy notes. The hot climate in Toro contributes to the concentration and ripeness of the grapes, resulting in wines with high alcohol content and structured tannins.
If you’re a fan of rich and hearty red wines, exploring the offerings from Toro is definitely worth it!
Castilla y Leon
Castilla y Leon is one of the most important wine regions in Spain, known for producing high-quality red wines. Located in northwestern Spain, this region is home to many vineyards that grow a variety of grape varieties like Tempranillo and Mencía.
The wines from Castilla y Leon are often full-bodied with rich flavors of dark fruits like blackberry and plum, as well as hints of spice and earthiness. Ribera del Duero and Toro are two sub-regions within Castilla y Leon that are particularly renowned for their exceptional red wines.
These wines pair well with grilled meats, hearty stews, and aged cheeses.
Galicia is one of the famous red wine regions in Spain that you should definitely explore. Situated in the northwest corner of Spain, Galicia is known for its lush green landscapes and unique climate, which influences the character of its wines.
One of the notable red grape varieties grown here is Mencía, which produces elegant and fruity wines with flavors of red berries and hints of herbs. These wines are medium-bodied with smooth tannins, making them incredibly enjoyable to drink.
Galician red wines pair well with cured meats, roasted vegetables, and hearty stews. So if you’re looking to try something different yet delicious, don’t forget to include Galician red wines on your list!
Catalonia, located in northeast Spain, is home to some vibrant red wine regions. One of the most well-known is Priorat, famous for its full-bodied and intense red wines made from Garnacha and Carignan grapes.
These wines are often rich in flavors like blackberry, licorice, and earthy undertones. Another notable region is Penedès, where you can find Spanish reds made with traditional grape varieties like Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The wines from Catalonia showcase the unique terroir of the region with their bold character and distinctive aromas. So if you’re looking to explore Spanish red wines beyond Rioja or Ribera del Duero, Catalonia offers a diverse range of options that are definitely worth trying.
In conclusion, Spanish red wine offers a diverse range of flavors and styles to please any wine lover. Whether you prefer the boldness of aged Tempranillo or the fruity notes of Garnacha, there is something for everyone.
With famous regions like Rioja and Ribera del Duero producing top-quality wines, Spain is a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts. So grab a glass and explore the rich flavors of Spanish red wine!
1. What are some types of Spanish red wine?
There are many types of Spanish red wines, including those made from the Garnacha grape, Mencía grape, and Bobal grape.
2. What is Rioja wine?
Rioja wine comes from the Rioja wine region in Spain, it’s often made with the Tempranillo grape variety.
3. How does aged red wines differ to young red wines in Spain?
Aged and young red wines can vary depending on the blend of grapes used like Garnacha Grenache or Syrah Grape. Aged ones usually have a more robust flavor compared to their younger versions.
4. Can you pair Spanish red wines with food?
Yes! Pairing Spanish red wine tasting notes with your preferred meal enriches your dining experience no matter which varieties of Spanish Red Wine you choose.
5. Are there specific regions known for producing certain varieties of Spanish Red Wine?
Yes! Areas such as Priorat, Ribera del Duero and Toro regions are well-known for their distinct varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon grape or Merlot Grape among others.