Enjoy the best spanish wines
Spain is a country with infinite nuances of climates and soils, something that is reflected in the wide range of Spanish wine available: the elegance of Rioja wines, the subtlety of Ribera del Duero wines, the concentration of Jumilla, the minerality of Priorat wines, the freshness of Bierzo, the salinity of Rías Baixas wine, and the character of Verdejo and Rueda wine. Spanish wines produced according to different methods of processing and ageing. The great reserve wines of Rioja, young wines made according to the carbonic maceration method, white wines aged in the barrel, or fortified wines produced in Jerez using the particular system of soleras and criaderas. Whatever the type of wine: if you're looking for Spanish wine, Decántalo is the shop for you. Find the best Spanish wine here.
Wine is part of Spain’s identity. It is the country with the most vineyards in the world and the fourth largest producer in the world. In the last 20 years the range of Spanish wines has increased exponentially. From the prestigious fortified Jerez wines to the characteristic Rioja wines, Spain has a rich wine culture. There are so many different wine regions producing a large quantity and variety of red, white, rosé, sparkling and fortified wines. A world waiting to be discovered!
Climate, soils and varieties.
Spain and Italy are the two great winemaking nations of the Mediterranean, but they actually have very little in common. Italy is a geographically very rugged country, where sea and mountains are never far away, whereas Spain is a large stretch of land with the most diverse soils, climates and varieties. Vines grow all across the 17 Autonomous Communities the country is divided into, and there are always new discoveries of ancient vines capable of producing quality wines. Among the best-known wine regions, it is worth highlighting:
The north of the Castilian plateau is marked by the Duero river. The Toro, Rueda and Ribera del Duero Denominations can all be found in this river’s valley. At around 650-800 metres above sea level, the climate is dry and harsh, and rainfall is relatively low. Ribera del Duero is a miracle of modern red wine. It is a very young appellation, but in a very short time it has caught up with Rioja. Here they mainly make red wines with the Tinta Fina (Tempranillo) red variety, that are concentrated, fruity and intense. They work with the same variety in Toro, where it is known as Tinta de Toro, and the key to the quality of their wines lies in the altitude. Finally, there is Rueda, a denomination that has been revived in recent years thanks to the resurgence of its current star variety: the Verdejo.
Rioja wines are the ones that have made Spanish wines famous all around the world. The denomination was set up 150 years ago and is characterised by its French influence. Its fame grew with the arrival of winemakers from Bordeaux who were fleeing the devastating phylloxera disease in France and soon realised the great potential of Rioja and its leading variety: the Tempranillo. Other varieties that are popular in this area are Garnacha Tinta, Mazuelo, Graciano and Viura.
A small denomination in the south of Catalonia, in a large and rugged mountain range (Montsant). Although winemaking here goes back a long way, it was not until the 1970s that a group of enterprising winemakers turned it into one of the most prestigious denominations in the world. The secret of its success lies in the “llicorella”, an unusual slate composed of quartzite granites that gives the wine impressive concentration and minerality. The main varieties grown here are Cariñena and Garnacha.
Outwith the Spanish stereotype, wines from this denomination are white, delicate, intense and aromatic. Located in a humid and green corner of Galicia, this region is known for its small-scale productions by lots of smallholder producers. The main variety in this region is Albariño, a thick-skinned white grape that is highly resistant to the threatening downy mildew.
Andalusia is synonymous with fortified wines. Wines that are made with the native variety Palomino Fino and characterised by growing in albariza soils. This is a whitish-coloured soil that is compacted into boulders and can hold onto the little water that reaches the subsoil. But if there is one thing Jerez fortified wines stand out for, it is the Criaderas and Soleras system; a warehouse aging method that allows for a very high quality and uniform oxidative aging.
The wine classification system in Spain is much simpler than in France or Italy. Basically it regulates the geographical origin of the wine and the different qualities.
Table wine is one with no geographical origin or vintage.
Terroir wine is one with a specific geographical origin.
Denomination of Origin refers to specific regions. It may refer to autonomous communities (D.O. Madrid) or to a region with specific geological and climatic characteristics (D.O. Ribera de Duero).
Qualified Denomination of Origin is only used for wines from a specific area and that are regulated by very precise quality criteria. Currently there are only two: D.O.Ca. Rioja and D.O. Q. Priorat.
Single-Plot Wine is a wine cultivated and produced from a specific plot or estate that, whether it belongs to a Denomination of Origin or not, has a proven quality.
Qualified Single-Plot Wine is a Single-Plot Wine that is registered in a qualified denomination of origin.
Currently there are 67 D.O. but it is worth noting that most of them are so large that they can have the most varied weather conditions and soils. So it is not uncommon for there to be producers who do not take this classification, instead focussing on the quality and typicity of a place.
Spanish wines can also be classified by age, according to the time they spend in the barrel and in the bottle before being released for sale. Although each denomination has its own regulations, in general, there are four:
Young is a bottled wine that has not aged in any way.
Crianza is a wine that has spent a minimum of 6 months in barrels and two years in the bottle. For whites and rosés the aging time is 18 months.
Reserva has spent a minimum of 12 months in the barrel and 3 years of aging in total. For whites and rosés it is 24 months with a minimum of 6 months in oak.
Gran Reserva wines spend five years aging, with at least 18 months in the barrel. For whites and rosés it is 48 months; the first 6 of which must be in the barrel.
Wines and wineries.
Spain’s wine scene sees a constant stream of new winegrowers who want to showcase the identity of their lands. Among the large number of wineries that have made their own wines and gained an international reputation, we want to highlight four.
- Álvaro Palacios is not a winery, it is an institution. The most international winemaker in Spain, he has followed in his family’s winemaking footsteps, but has also broadened the winemaking horizons in Priorat, has led the Rioja Baja revival and is at the forefront of the Bierzo reemergence. Their wines guarantee the typicity and spirituality you find in the most prestigious regions in Europe.
- Marqués de Riscal is an important wine business based in the town of Elciego, Alava. Founded in 1858, it is the oldest winery in Álava and has great international prestige. They produce D.O.Ca. Rioja and D.O. Rueda wines. They now have their Ciudad del Vino facilities, a complete leisure venue where you can really get to know the world of winemaking.
- Torres is one of the great leaders in the wine sector with more than 50 brands on the market and a presence in more than 150 countries. As well as making wines in the best-known Spanish denominations, his work extends to important wine regions in Chile and California. His success is mainly down to his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.
- Vega Sicilia is one of the most internationally renowned wineries. Thanks to their expertise, the Ribera de Duero Denomination of Origin has quickly made a name for itself and gained recognition around the world. Founded by the Álvarez family in 1982, it is now a large winemaking group with 4 wineries in Spain and one in Hungary.
- González Byass is a company based in Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz) and is mainly known for Tío Pepe, the world famous fino wine. Founded in 1835, it has a long history that has earned it international recognition and has led to the production of quality wines in the most important wine regions of Spain.