Spain is well known for its magnificient wines, especially Rioja wines and Ribera del Duero wines made from the Tempranillo grape.

Spain's winemaking history spans 3,000 years and faced significant challenges. During the decline of the Roman Empire, the invasion of barbaric tribes resulted in the widespread destruction and loss of Spanish vineyards. Vineyards thrived again until the Moors' rule (711-1492 AD) which banned winemaking. 

In 1860, the first bodegas emerged in Rioja. French winemaker Jean Pireau was invited to introduce Bordeaux winemaking methods to local winemakers. Soon, Rioja winemakers, once sceptical of foreign techniques, embraced this successful model. Meanwhile, France faced the phylloxera crises, leading to increased imports of Rioja and Navarra wines, further infusing French influence and expertise into these regions.

In the 1950s, under the rule of dictator Francisco Franco, wine cooperatives proliferated, resulting in overproduction of low-cost bulk wines sold under brand names or generic labels. Quality declined but due to the influence of foreign makers, international grapes and new wine laws, Spanish wine making flourished again since the 1980's.

Spain has the largest number of vineyards in the world. However, it does not have the highest production. That would be Italy first, with France as a close second. The reason for this is the density of the vineyards, and the yield per hectare. 

Regions in Spain

Alicante  |  Andalusia  |  Castillo Leon  |  Galicia  |  Jerez de la Frontera  |  Jumilla  |  Madrid  |  Malaga  |  Montsant  |  Penedes  |  Priorat  |  Ribera del Duero  |  Rioja  |  Rueda  |  Tarragona  |  Toro  |  Valdeorras
All wines in Spain
Spain

Best of Wines: Specialist in exclusive Spanish wines

At Best of Wines, you have come to the right place if you are looking for exclusive Spanish wines. Best of Wines has a very large stock of these wines from Spain, especially wines from Rioja and wines from Ribera del Duero. These are without a doubt the two most renowned wine regions in the country. But other areas like, amongst others, Priorat, Rudea, Castille Y Leon and Malaga, also produce magnificent wines.

Wineries such as La Rioja Alta, Vega Sicilia, Pingus, Castillo Ygay, Artadi and Palacios are among the absolute best wines in Spain and their wines are much loved worldwide.

Legendary wines from Spain

Spanish wine growing areas

Spain boasts several exceptional wine regions, each with its distinct characteristics.

Northen Spain spans the western reaches of Galicia, crosses the less-explored landscapes of Asturias, and eventually reaches the intimate Basque Country before arriving in the diverse landscapes of Navarra.

Central Spain encompasses the Castilla La Mancha region, a vast plateau that hosts almost two-thirds of Spain's vineyards.

The vineyards of Mediterranean Spain, whether nestled near the coast or further inland, enjoy the balmy Mediterranean winds. The climate in this region can vary from the mild coastal conditions in places like Alella, where the vineyards face the sea, to the more extreme climate found inland, particularly in Priorat. This rich winemaking area spans several regions from north to south, encompassing Catalonia, Valencia, Alicante, and Murcia.

In southern Spain, sherry takes the centre stage as the prominent name associated with this region. Nevertheless, Southern Spain also has impressive and innovative wines to offer.

Rioja

Wines from Rioja have a worldwide reputation. A large number of producers are known for making some of the best wines worldwide:

  • La Rioja Alta: Famous for its 890 and 904 grand reserva wines, which can age very well. For example, the 1964 is still in perfect drinking condition.
  • Artadi:Bodega Artadi can be found in the heart of the Rioja region. In 1985, several grape growers united and decided to set up Artadi together. At the time, Artadi was a cooperative bodega. Now, the winery belongs to the most famous of Rioja and even Spain.
  • CVNE. Famous fot its Imperial and Vina Real wines, the winery goes back to the 19th century. Their grand reserva are on of the most long-lived wines.
  • Muga. Founded in 1932 and still family owned. The range of wines and grapes grown are quite extensive: Tempranillo as the heart of the red wines, but also Graciano, Garnacha and Mazuelo for the red wines and for the white wines Malvasia and Viura.
  • Lopez de Heredia: Family owned since 1877 and well known for its reserva wines like Vina Tondonia (white and red), Bosconia and Matador. The Tondonia wines are releases after at least 10 years of maturing.

The knowledge of the area and how to bring out the best in the wines produced there, combined with a consistent quality control, makes Rioja synonymous with quality.

Wines from Rioja are mainly red wines. Most wines are made from the tempranillo grape, but there are also red Rioja wines produced that are not made from the tempranillo grape, like the dark blue Garnacha grape. For white wines, the Viura grape is popular.

Check all Rioja wines on the Rioja wines page.

Ribera del Duero

Ribera del Duero used to be known mainly because of the Vega Sicilia wines. This winery makes wines since the start of the 20th century and is seen as one of the best wines worldwide. But from the 1980s onwards, more ambitious wine makers came to the region. 

There are now dozens of high quality winemakers in Ribera del Duero and several have a worldwide recognition, like:

  • Vega Sicilia, the most prominent winery of Ribera del Duero and even Spain. These wines can age for 50+ years.
  • Pingus, started by the Danish winemaker Peter Sisseck with its Pingus wine in the 90's. Now also offering several wines like the Flor de Pingus and PSI.
  • Alion, from bodegas Alion, a high scoring and very affordable wine.
  • Pesquera, with its crianza and reserva wines sice 1972. Also famour for ihis second winery Condado de Haza.
  • Aalto. started as a joint venture between ex-Vega Sicilia winemaker Mariano Garcia and Javier Zaccagnini. The Aalto PS is some of the most prominent wines of Spain.
  • Emilio Moro. Emilio Moro is a leading producer of very concentrated and well oaked Tempranillos, like its Malleolus wines, which attracts a lot of Ribera fans. 

Check all Ribera del Duero wines on the Ribera del Duero wines page.

Grape varieties of Spanish wines

Spain is known for its unique red, white, and sparkling wines and boasts the largest vineyard area globally. Spain nurtures over 600 grape varieties, with favorites like Arien, Albarino, Tempranillo (also known as Tinto Fino), Bobal, Garnacha, Monastrell, Verdejo, and Macabeo.

Tempranillo thrives in Spain and Portugal. Garnacha, originally Spanish despite its French association, thrives in regions like La Rioja, Navarra, Aragón, and Cataluña. In Spain, it's often blended with Tempranillo, producing fruity wines with raspberry notes. Cariñena is named after a DOP in Aragon with the same name. It's known as Mazuelo in Rioja. Priorat showcases Cariñena in old vine blends, often with Garnacha, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. In France, it's called Carignan. Apart from a prominent red and white wine production, Spanish wines are also known for its sparkling wine (cava) and reinforced wine (sherry).

The terroir of wines from Spain

Spain, a country of immense diversity, is marked by its formidable mountain ranges, creating a patchwork of regional differences defined by natural barriers. The climate in Spain is predominantly dry.

Below are some of these specified areas, highlighting their distinct characteristics:

- Catalonia's Priorat region is celebrated for its llicorella soil, rich in black slate and quartz. These mineral-laden, rocky soils distinctly characterize the robust red wines.

- Situated in Galicia, Rías Baixas enjoys a coastal climate and is known for its granite and schist soils. These unique soils define the mineral-rich, acidic profile of the region's Albariño wines.

- Rioja boasts a diverse soil composition, encompassing chalk, clay, alluvial soils, and limestone. Combined with the continental climate, these soils contribute to the diverse range of wines produced, from Tempranillo-based reds to Viura-based whites.

- In Andalusia, Jerez's renowned sherry production is supported by Albariza soil, chalky and moisture-retentive, aiding Palomino Fino vines in the hot and dry climate.

- Bierzo, in northwest Spain, exhibits a blend of slate and clay soils. The distinct microclimate and varying altitudes lend an aromatic and complex character to the region's Mencía red wines.

- Located in Castilla y León, Toro boasts sandy and gravelly soils, well-draining and coupled with an extreme continental climate, imparting a bold and robust nature to the Tempranillo-based red wines.

The classifications of Spanish wines

Currently, Spanish wine appellations are categorized into five tiers, each delineating specific standards and origins:

1. Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa) marking the highest echelon of Spanish wine classification, echoing the essence of guaranteed quality and distinction. Only two regions, Rioja and Priorat, hold this prestigious status, ensuring stringent standards and a mark of unparalleled quality.

2. Denominación de Origen (DO) is another significant tier, denotes the geographical origin and characteristic style of the wine. For instance, Rias Baixas, primarily renowned for its crisp, white Albarino-based wines, adheres to specific production conditions, dictating grape varieties, planting techniques, and aging processes. This tier embodies the broadest segment of the Spanish wine hierarchy.

3. The Vino de Pago (VP) classification stands as a designation for single-estate high-end wineries that do not fall under a DO title due to vineyard location or nonconformity with local production laws.

4. Vino de Calidad con Indicación Geográfica (VC), translating to 'wine of quality with a geographical indication,' represents a tier that sits between Vino de la Tierra and DO.

5. The Vino de la Tierra (VT) classification focuses on the wine's origin, maintaining flexibility regarding grape varieties and yields. This category emphasizes the wine's geographical roots rather than its specific style or quality, allowing for a diverse range of varietals and blends.

The classifications of Rioja wines and the classifications of Ribera del Duero wines are explained on the Rioja and Ribera del Duero pages.

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