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Spain is the third-largest producer of wine in the globe, and its rich history dates back to around 1100 BC. Grapes were first cultivated between 4000 and 3000 BC when Phoenicians founded the trading post in Cadiz in the South Western region of Spain. The discovery of America a few hundred years later opened up additional export markets, resulting in a wide demand for Spanish wines. This is where the popular Spanish wines like Rioja and Malaga wine soared in popularity. Due to a shortage of French wine in the mid 19th century arising from the phylloxera epidemic, attention turned to Spain, and since then, Spain has held its own in the wine world and has gone from strength to strength.
While Spain produces as many as 600 different grapes, major production of wine is based on approximately 20% of these grapes, the most common Spanish wine varieties are:
There are 7 main wine regions, providing a wide variety of native grape varieties.
This wine region is located in Galicia in the northwest corner of Spain, with a beautiful landscape, and is known for its lively and delicate whites that are perfect to go with its fish cuisine. The main grape varieties here are Mencia and Brancheallo.
The Rioja wine region spreads along with three different communities and is home to the famous Rioja, which is usually blended with different grape varieties, and can be either red, white, or rose.
The Catalan wine region in northeastern Spain is located along the Mediterranean coast, and has a diversity of soil types, and is also the birthplace of sparkling wine Cava.
Home to some of the best and most exclusive red wines, including Tempranillo, also known as Tinto Fino, and this is sometimes blended with Merlot, Malbec, or Cabernet Sauvignon. This region is also home to the Vega Sicilia winery founded in 1864.
The climate towards the Southeast is very Mediterranean and moderate. However, the further north you go, the colder it gets due to the exposure to the North Atlantic. Many Spanish vineyards are based on higher grounds and are usually over 2000 feet above sea level, this helps the grapes to maintain good acidity levels.
Grapes harvest usually in the month of September and October, as this marks the arrival of autumn, and tends to host a number of different harvest festivals that anyone can take part in.
Spanish wine has a number of different flavours, and the famous red wines such as Rioja tend to be quite dry, but they're also some sweet Spanish wines, such as certain types of Cava. For anybody looking to get started with Spanish wine, Spain is a country with a rich history and a variety of climates, so it is going to produce some exciting varieties of flavours to tickle your taste buds!
If you head over to our Spanish Wine page you will find a fine selection of wines from Spain to try. Or if you would prefer our recommendation, you should check out these wines:
Find out more about other wine producing countries: