Simply Spain

The Wines of Portugal

Vintages Feature Story

Approachable, food-friendly, eminently diverse and good value to boot, Spanish wines bring a lot to the table.

With a wine-growing history over 2,700 years long, more area under vine than any other country, and a range of dynamic regions, Spain is one of the wonders of the wine world. From cool, oceanside vineyards in the north to sunny Mediterranean vineyards in the south and mountainous highlands and mighty rivers in between, there’s a lot to explore. Here is a stunning collection of red and rosé wines, Sherry and sparkling Cava to get you started.

Style Watch

Rioja & Beyond

The heartland of Spain’s wine scene is Rioja, shaped by and named for the Oja River in the north of the country and famed for its long-lived, barrel-aged red wines. But there’s plenty more to Spain. Alicante sits within Valencia along Spain’s southeastern Mediterranean coast and has a reputation for warm temperatures and smooth, ripe reds. South and inland of Valencia is Murcia, wherein the Jumilla region makes intensely powerful reds.

Spanning much of the northern plateau is Castilla y Léon, Spain’s largest wine region, which covers a fifth of the country and is traversed by the Duero (or Douro, in Portugal) River. Here, high elevations and short, hot summers make conditions conducive to firm red wines that reward patience. The region’s most famous appellation is Ribera del Duero, whose complex reds boast international acclaim to rival those of Rioja. Southerly, oceanside Jerez is best known as the home of Sherry, while Penedès, situated just outside Barcelona on the northeastern Mediterranean coast, is the epicentre for sparkling Cava.


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Great Grapes

Spain’s signature red wine grape is Tempranillo, known as much for its structure, longevity and fondness for oak as its aromas and flavours of red cherry, fig, tobacco, evergreen and herbs. This variety is found in regions all over Spain (sometimes under local names) and is commonly the backbone of the country’s finest red blends. Garnacha (a.k.a. Grenache) contributes big, smooth textures and jammy strawberry and plum fruit; Graciano contributes inky colour and intense, floral-fruity perfume; Mazuelo (a.k.a. Carignan) provides moderate tannins and tangy red cranberry, raspberry and meaty notes; and Monastrell (a.k.a. Mourvèdre or Mataro) brings impressive structure, bold dark fruit and smoky, spicy character.


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Style Watch

Unique to Spain, Sherry is one of the world’s most beloved wines. A fortified wine from the area around the city of Jerez de la Frontera near the Atlantic coast, Sherry is made in a variety of styles and involves fortifying the wine with spirit alcohol. Fino is a light, elegant Sherry typically made from the Palomino grape variety and is ideal for sipping chilled during spring and summer weather. Spain’s famous sparkling wine, Cava, is crafted using the same method as Champagne and typically features indigenous grape varieties, particularly Macabeo, Parellada and Xarello. It, too, is traditionally served nicely chilled on its own or with food.


Food Fabulous

Looking for dinner pairings for your Spanish wine? Use the Food & Drink search to find limitless dishes to pair with your wines.

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Red Wines

Try Spanish reds with albondigas (meatballs in tomato sauce), chicken or rabbit paella, cured or smoked ham, aged cheeses, grilled sausages, steaks, hamburgers, mushroom burgers, grilled eggplant and tomato.

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Fino Sherry

Fino is fine with pimientos de padrón (fried green peppers sprinkled with salt), calamari, poached fish, shellfish, seafood paella, seafood pasta, creamy cheeses, green salads, green olives and raw almonds.

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Cava & Rosé

Serve Spanish sparklers with croquetas (béchamel croquettes), crab cakes, lobster rolls, fish and chips, fish or veggie tempura, potato or parsnip chips, mild cheeses, raw veggies. Pair Spanish rosés with bacalao con tomate (cod in tomato sauce), paprika fish, chicken or seafood paella, seafood pasta, cured ham, mild cheeses, grilled sausages, pork or chicken burgers, summer salads, raw veggies.

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