Spanish wines - the best wines from Spain

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

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 is home to wine regions each with its unique characteristics.

The northern part of Spain covers the areas of Galicia, moves through the explored landscapes of Asturias and eventually reaches the Basque Country before extending into the diverse terrain of Navarra.

Central Spain includes the Castilla La Mancha region, a plateau that's home to nearly two thirds of Spains vineyards.

The vineyards in Mediterranean Spain whether situated near the coast or further inland benefit from the Mediterranean breezes. The climate in this area can range from conditions in places like Alella, where vineyards overlook the sea to more extreme climates found inland particularly in Priorat. This fertile winemaking region spans areas from north, to south covering Catalonia, Valencia, Alicante and Murcia.

In Spain sherry takes stage as a prominent wine associated with this region. However Southern Spain also presents some really innovative wines worth exploring.


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 renowned, for its white and sparkling wines and boasts the largest vineyard area worldwide. With over 600 grape varieties thriving in Spain popular choices include Arien, Albarino, Tempranillo (also known as Tinto Fino) Bobal, Garnacha, Monastrell, Verdejo and Macabeo.

Tempranillo flourishes in both Spain and Portugal. Garnacha of origin despite its French connections thrives in regions such as La Rioja, Navarra, Aragón and Cataluña. In Spain it is often blended with Tempranillo to create fruity wines with hints of raspberry. Cariñena takes its name from a DOP region in Aragon bearing the name; it is referred to as Mazuelo in Rioja. Priorat highlights Cariñena in blends with vines alongside Garnacha, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Known as Carignan, in France. Besides their production of white wines Spanish wines are also celebrated for their sparkling wine (cava) and reinforced wine (sherry).

The terroir of wines from Spain

Spain is a country known for its diverse landscapes and majestic mountain ranges that create various regional variations. The climate in Spain tends to be dry.

Here are some specific regions with their features;

The Priorat area is famous for its llicorella soil in black slate and quartz. These rocky soils give the regions wines their distinctive character.

Located in Galicia Rías Baixas experiences a coastal climate and is renowned for its granite and schist soils. These special soils define the mineral taste of the Albariño wines produced there.

Rioja boasts a varied soil composition including chalk, clay, alluvial deposits and limestone. Along with the climate these soils contribute to the range of wines available—from robust reds made from Tempranillo grapes to crisp whites crafted from Viura.

Andalusia Jerez is famous for its sherry production supported by Albariza soil—chalky and moisture retaining—ideal, for Palomino Fino vines thriving in the regions hot and arid conditions.

In northwest Spain lies Bierzo with a mix of slate and clay soils.
The unique microclimate and different elevations contribute to the intricate flavors found in the Mencía wines of the region.

Toro, situated in Castilla y León features sandy and gravelly soils that drain well. Combined with its climate this imparts a strong and hearty quality, to the red wines made primarily from Tempranillo grapes.

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 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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