Home » What You’ll See on Spanish Wine Bottles

What You’ll See on Spanish Wine Bottles

As I inquired about my mom what type of Spanish wine she liked she exclaimed with enthusiasm, “sangria!” It’s true, Spain has much more to offer in terms of wine than that delicious pitcher drink. There are so many excellent bargains in Spanish wine, including delicious (and inexpensive!) bottles that are suitable for any time or day of the week. However, you’ll be rewarded when you decide to invest a bit more time and discover the traditional wines from Spain. If you tend to drink wines that come from the New World–for instance, South America, California, or Australia, Spanish wines can be an excellent introduction into wine from the Old World.

The prospect of a new section in the local wine shop can be intimidating. We’ll help you learn about the most important Spanish regions of wine and grapes to help you easily pick a few bottles to sample.

What you’ll see on the Bottle

One thing that is what makes Spanish wine distinctive is that the majority of Spanish wineries age their wines for you, both in oak barrels as well as in bottles. This gives you the opportunity to taste wines which have aged until they’re at their best without having to invest in storage space in your home. When you examine the label of a Spanish wine and you see the words Joven, Crianza, Reserva as well as Gran Reserva, they’re telling you how long ageing process was: Gran Reservas have been cellared longest, and the bottles that have Joven on its label didn’t have more time in the winery.

Since Spain has joined Europe, and is a member of the European Union, the wine labeling system is quite like that from France or Italy. The type you’ll typically see in the local store is The Denominacion De Origen (DO) which is equivalent to an Appellation of Origin Controlee (AOC) in France. Each DO (for instance, Ribera del Duero or Rias Baixas) has its own rules and regulations for wines, like which grapes are allowed to be planted. If you are unable to locate an DO label on your bottle and it is possible that the “logo” that the DO has should appear placed on an adhesive on the back or on the cap over the cork.

The highest point on the Spanish wine quality pyramid is Denominacion de Origen Calificada (it includes several abbreviations due to regional dialects like DOQ, DOQ, DOC, and DOC). There are just two DOCs: Rioja and Priorat. Spain also has its own category called DO Pago, which is only for single estates.

If you’re looking through wine bottles made of Spanish wine, expect to usually notice the grape’s primary vineyard in the center of the bottle’s label or in the back. One thing to note is that due to regional differences in language, some regions or grapes may appear just a bit different. Garnacha in Catalonia is an example. appears as Garnatxa.

The weather shapes the wine

Because Spain is part of a peninsula the climate can vary greatly between regions. The majority of central Spain is hot under summer sun, and is extremely cold in winter. In the northwestern region of the country, known as Galicia cool ocean breezes and many rivers contribute to the name “Green Spain.” The south is where the harsh desert and violent winds may prove to be too much for many grapes. In the Mediterranean in the West brings cool breezes and warm temperatures and the Pyrenees along borders with France hinder rain clouds from moving into the north-central part of the region.

Visit our website for Spanish wine history.

Are you ready to begin drinking?


Region: Catalonia.
Style Rose or sparkling white.
Wine grape varieties: A mix of Xarel-loand Macabeo and Parellada and many more.
Taste: Rich, crisp apple flavors.

Cava is the renowned sparkling wine from Spain. It is most likely to find Cava manufacturing in Catalonia in northeastern Barcelona. Cava is made using the traditional method of second fermentation inside the bottle to produce its bubbles–similar to Champagne that is produced in France as well as Franciacorta within Italy. Cava is white or rose , and is typically blended with Xarel-lo, Macabeo and Parellada grapes. However, there are other varieties permitted in the mix. Due to the prolonged aging process with the yeast that is discarded, the majority of Cavas are incredibly rich and compliments the apple-like crispness. Cavas are typically dry, but as the case with Champagne they will have a certain amount of sugar in the dosage is indicated on the label using such words such as Brut and Semi-Seco. If you’re looking to find a reasonably priced sparkling wine to celebrate a special event (or for a casual dinner), Cava can be an ideal option.
Spanish White Wines

Fresh and salty


Take advantage of the fresh, salty Spanish white wines along with seafood.

Region: Basque, Rias Baixas.
Grape variety: Hondarribi Zuri, Albarino, Loureira, Treixadura.
Taste: Fresh, citrusy with hints of white flowers as well as stone fruits.

In on the Northern coastline of Spain close to San Sebastian is Basque country. Here you will discover Txakoli (pronounced ChaLK-ohlee) which is a refreshing wine that is low in alcohol, and some spritz made of the Hondarribi Zuri grape. Ameztoi as well as Txomin Etxaniz are two producers which are readily available and many more are being imported into the US in the last few years and you should be able to locate this refreshing summer drink regardless of where you reside. The region makes a small portion of red wine made from the Hondarribi Beltza grape that allows to produce rose. Txakoli rose is one of the greatest pleasures in our lives. It’s fun and fresh and tastes similar to salted watermelon.

In the west coast, to the north of Portugal in Portugal, is Rias Baixas. The star of the area is Albarino which is accompanied by Loureira and Treixadura as backup dancers. True to its coastal ambiance it has the ocean’s brine to this wine. It is also awash with white flowers and stone fruits. Learn from the locals and sip the wine with seafood. A huge bowl of steamed mussels perhaps?

Textured and rich

Region: Valdeorras, Rueda, Rioja.
Varieties of grapes: Godello, Verdejo, Viura mixed along with Garnacha Blanca or Chardonnay.
Taste: Lemon, Cantaloupe with a clean minerality that is perfect for Godello; Meyer lemon and almond for Verdejo Tannic and full-bodied, with aromas of crushed apple, curry and coconut to Rioja.

The small region of Valdeorras located only a couple of hours away from Rias Baixas, makes several varieties of wine. The first is the white wine made from Godello grapes. Godello grape. Godello is a blend of citrus and cantaloupe flavours with a refreshing minerality. They have enough body to sustain you through your meal, starting with a braised octopus appetizer to halibut roasted.

The southeast region in Valdeorras is Rueda located in the Duero River in the Castilla y Leon region. There are a few red wine is produced but the real jewels are white wine made of Verdejo. When the wines are primarily Verdejo the label will read “Rueda Verdejo at the bottom of the bottle. If not, it could have significant portions that is Viura or Sauvignon Blanc mixed with it. The wines are incredibly fragrant, with a scent that is reminiscent of Meyer lemons and almonds.

Although it is also grown around Galicia also in Catalonia to be used for Cava (under macabeo), Viura is famously called the white grape of Rioja. It is available to be stored on its own as well as blended into other varieties like Garnacha Blanca, or Chardonnay. Lopez de Heredia, one of the top wineries in Spain produces an old Viura dubbed ‘Vina Gravonia It is truly an exceptional wine. They store it within American oak barrels over the course of many years before it’s released to the shelves until 10 years after the grapes have been picked. It’s full-bodied, tannic and has an amazing flavor of bruised apple as well as curry and coconut. However, not all white Rioja is produced this way however. A lot of the Riojas you can discover, particularly those that are young are fresh, but full-bodied and bursting with fruit and pear aromas.

Spanish Red Wines

The cellars of Muga situated in Rioja. Bodegas Muga

If you’ve been exploring Spanish wines, you’ve probably have had a glass one or two Tempranillo. Tempranillo is among the top widely planted wine grape red in Spain and is available under various names, such as Tinto Fino, Tinto de Toro, Cencibel, Ull de Llebre along with Tinto del Pais. The two regions that are most well-known of Tempranillo include Rioja and Ribera del Duero.


Grape varieties: Tempranillo blended with Mazuelo, Graciano, Garnacha, and Maturana Tinta The Cabernet Sauvignon is a good addition in tiny amounts.
Taste: Ripe prune and dried prune, with some leathery notes and a sweet and sour sauce.

Rioja is located in the north-central region of Spain located on the Ebro River. The wines from Rioja are a wonderful mix of ripe fruits and earthy tastes. They are a part of the New World and one foot in the Old World. In Rioja, Tempranillo grapes may blend with Mazuelo Graciano, Garnacha, and Maturana Tinta. This law also allows the winemakers with a few options to include non-traditional grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon in small proportions. The classic wines will blend the ripe plum and dried prune flavor with subtle the scent of leather and sweet-and-sour sauce.

Rioja was above and above and beyond Spanish regulations and also added extra time in their requirements for aging. Winemakers often let their wines be aged for longer than what is permitted by Rioja. Red wines are the most popular. Crianzas will be aged over at minimum two years in total (including an additional year of barrels made from oak.) The wines of Reserva are aged for for at minimum 3 years in total with one year of which in barrels. Gran Reservas spend at least two years in barrels before the remaining three years are spent in bottles prior to being sold.

It is possible to hear people call wines from Rioja as traditional or’modern. What is the meaning of this? Traditional wines from Rioja are stored inside American oak barrels. These give hints of coconut and dill into the wine. Winemakers who are more modern tend to utilize French oak barrels that give a hint of sweetness and vanilla flavour. While some winemakers fall in one direction or the other however, many make use of methods that fall somewhere between. There are wines that were stored in mixtures from American and French oak barrels or in barrels constructed from both kinds of oak.

Are you looking to sample some delicious Rioja? The producers to consider are Muga, Lopez de Heredia and CVNE.

Ribera del Duero

Grape variety: Tempranillo.

Taste The taste is of cinnamon, vanilla, and clove.

Ribera duero another Spanish wine region that is famous for its premium Tempranillo. In this region the wines are typically 100% Tempranillo instead of being a blend. Similar to Rioja the majority of labels for wines are from Ribera del Duero inform you of the length the wine was maturing by using the words Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva on the labels. The use of oak by the winemaker is a significant influence on the final wine here also. Although you’ll find a lot of American oak in the traditional Rioja bottles, winemakers in Ribera del Duero tend to prefer to use more French oak, and you’re likely to experience vanilla or cinnamon as well as clove. In general, Ribera del Duero is more luxurious and polished than the earthy, rustic Rioja. I imagine Ribera of Duero as my polished black pumps. Rioja is my most fitting pair of leather loafers.

Tempranillo isn’t only a drink for Rioja as well as Ribera del Duero, however. It’s grown all over the country, and even regions like La Mancha and Valdepenas offer low-cost versions that are light-oaked and ready to drink straight away.


The steep vineyards of Priorat. Agricultura Generalitat de Catalunya

Grape variety A blend from Garnacha, Carinena with Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and more.

Taste: Earthy.

The wines of Priorat are powerful and savage. If you are a fan of sun-kissed and rich California wines, but are searching for a more earthy flavor it’s a wonderful region to visit. A lot wineries in Priorat are steep enough to require terraces. It’s like turning this hill into huge stairs with rows of vines on every step. Priorat’s distinctive slate soil, called llicorella, looks like a broken chalkboard scattered across the hillsides. The rough terrain is a necessity for vines to dig deeply into the earth to find the water as well as nutrients.

The majority of Priorat’s red wines are made up of a blend made up of Garnacha and Carinena together with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and many others. Alvaro Palacios was a pioneer in this area and, while prices for Priorat in general have increased in recent decades however, Priorat’s “Camins of Priorat” bottling remains one of the top value wines in the world.

If you’re looking for these wines but you’re not able to pay the mark, you can try searching for wines from Montsant the region which is like a horseshoe in Priorat. These wines are full-bodied, with strong black and red fruit as well as dried tobacco and earth.

More Values of Red Wine in Spain

If you’re interested in trying Spanish wines on a budget It’s worthwhile to get acquainted with a few other grapes that aren’t Tempranillo.

I’ve mentioned Garnacha numerous times. It’s an element of the mix of Priorat and Rioja. Also known by the name Grenache in France and in Spain, it is the third-most planted variety of grapes in Spain. Garnacha thrives in warmer climates, particularly in north-central Spain. It is commonly used for making roses, but can also be used to make deliciously fruity, ripe wines for a weeknight such as Borsao’s “Tres Picos which is made from Campo de Borja.

Monastrell is the Spanish name for the Southern France’s Mourvedre is found throughout the southern part of Spain. It requires lots of sunshine in order to mature It certainly gets that warm sun on the Mediterranean coast close to Valencia. The wines are usually rich and full of aromas of ripe red fruit, juicy pepper, and even meat.

The grape Mencia produces medium-to-full-bodied wines with the scent of anise, blackberry and a distinctive herbal scent that can remind the taste and aroma the aroma of Cabernet Franc. The Mencia grape is grown across Galicia and northern Spain, Bierzo is a excellent region to look for.