There is a lot to talk about Spanish wine regions.
But before we talk about Spanish wine regions, first let me just mention Rhode Island.
Rhode Island may be the smallest state of our Union but the the total acreage of the Ocean State is 776,957 acres.
Spain has more than 1,000,000 acres of vineyards alone. That is more than the entire state of Rhode Island. I don’t know about you, but that’s a heck of a lot of vineyards. In fact, Spain has more vineyards than France or Italy. That should be a heck of a lot of wine. You would think it would be the largest producer, but it ain’t. Spain is the 3rd largest wine producer in Europe. .
Here is why Spain’s numbers don’t add up:
The reason for that probably lies in the fact that many of the vineyards in Spain are pretty ancient and ancient vines don’t make a lot of fruit. So, it does not ring up on the volume, However, ancient vines make grapes that make more flavorful and concentrated wines. So, it is not a surprise when most wines from here has this intense, concentrated, almost hedonistic quality. The Latin passion is throbbing hard here.
And also QPR:
Spanish wines have remarkable QPR. QPR stands for Quality to Price Ratio. A higher QPR means you are getting amazing quality for the price you are paying for the wines. Basically almost any Spanish wines off the shelf is going to meet your expectations or beyond. Try it.
Spain is rich in choices:
Tempranillo, Albariño, Pedro Ximénez, Macabeu, Trepat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garanatxa, Chardonnay, Carignena..the list can go on and on and there is no point in naming all of them here. We will leave them for you to discover.
Spain’s geographic diversity allows for tremendous regional variations. According to Wines of Spain, USA, there are 7 distinct regions:
- Green Spain
- Duero River Valley
- Ebro River Valley
- The Meseta
- The Mediterranean Coast
- The Islands
Read more about the regions here. Wines from Spain.
Wine appellations are still evolving in Spain. There are at the moment 6 levels of quality, but the two that are of particular interest are listed below.
Denominación de Origen:
The real diversity of Spanish wines is evident from the Denominación de Origen, or DO. The term is comparable to France’s AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée). Check out the impressive map below. Pay attention to the only 2 regions that are further elevated in this group. The Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa) – Rioja and Priorat. These regions make some of the finest wines from anywhere in the world! More on that later.
Vino de la Tierra:
With so many regions that can make wines, Spain is also rich in regions designated as Vino de la Tierra, VT. VT is comparable to France’s Vins de Pays. These wines offer even better values. See the map below for details.
Over the next few weeks, we will introduce you to some of the Spanish wine regions. We have talked about Ribera del Duero before. Read about it here. What are some of your favorite Spanish wines?
Banner photo used with permission from Giovani Calia.
Maps used with permission of Wines from Spain.