Only an hour inland from Valencia city, we find this arid wine region. It’s cold enough for frost and hail in the winter, while in the summer the vines can suffer extreme heat. It’s worth noting there are several Vinos de Pago in the area, single-estate wines designation mentioned here above. The native grape to Utiel-Requena is bobal, a varietal producing deeply colored wines with firm tannins that are well structured with a good potential for aging.
In addition to heritage, culture, gastronomy, festivities and the blue Mediterranean, Valencia region produces spectacular wines for millenia. Strolling across fields, orchards and vineyards may be more than a simple excursion. Moscatel has historically been identified with Valencia and then foreign grapes were mostly used. Now, with the new vintners wave, traditional varietals are recovered: merseguera and verdil are fabulous to make full- body gastronomic whites. In reds, garnacha tintorera prevails. While they still have a long way to go to achieve an international recognition, it sounds like a great territory to explore.
The name means ‘the banks of the River Segre’. Integrated by about 40 wineries, this wine appellation is located inland in the province of Lleida. It is a border territory between Montsant and Priorat. Mountainous, full of olive trees, scarce in rains, lots of sun and large temperature fluctuations between day and night allow great reds. And there is something very unique: they are recovering old wineries carved in the rocks to ferment in stone.
It is the most southerly wine DO wine region in Catalonia, southern Priorat, it shares with it a similar winemaking history. Terra Alta literal translation is “high land” and natural conditions here are quite extreme, being garnacha blanca (white grenache) what we call a born survivor and the queen of grapes. The indigenous red varietal is morenillo (meaning slightly brown), recovered in the recent times. The region could also be on the previous block Ebro River Valley since it is close to the Ebro river Delta and fine almost deserted beaches, rice fields, ancient olive trees … The fascinating landscapes of the Ebro Delta are the origin of high-quality products and enjoying a paella with a glass of wihite garnacha is a one of those pleasures hard to describe.
Many think of Montsant as the little brother of Priorat. They are neighbors, but their terroir is different, and so are the wines. Montsant, from a lower altitude and less challenging natural conditions, it shares nevertheless the energy of its neighbor. Slowly, the reputation of Montsant wines is spreading, and international investors who see the potential have set. Not to miss.
Probably the most desired wines from Catalonia. Priorat has been a source for wine for nearly a millennium, since Carthusian monks established in the area. Priorat as we know it today was boosted by French and Spanish wine makers in the late 1970’s, who released full bodied, high alcohol and elegant reds made from cariñena and garnacha. The spectacular landscape with terraced vertiginous vineyards makes it a must for any wine lover.
This fascinating region occupies the valleys of two rivers, the Llobregat and the Cardener, and is the smallest of Catalonia’s wine regions. The microclimate is a harsher continental style of torrid summers and freezing winters. Wine-wise, the warmer sites benefit red grapes, while the cooler ones, often at a higher altitude, are ideal for whites. There are sparkling wines here too, made under the Cava DO. The grape picapoll is native to Plà de Bages, and new projects are giving to the region a new boost.
In a region traditionally known for whites and rosés, the native red grape trepat is getting more attention, a variety mostly used to make cave in the region. Wines here are light, fresh and well balanced, and it’s a great area for cava. Historically speaking, the wine growing tradition is linked to the monastery of Santa María del Poblet that represents the heart of the Cistercian route.
In the far north-eastern corner of Spain, and borders the South of France. Perched vineyards facing the blue Mediterranean are beautiful, and wines are of a great identity. It’s a dream spot and should be on your bucket list. We give you the opportunity every year to join us on the Catalonia & Andalusia trip with a specific day in the Empordà wines region.
Cava is the only wine designation not linked to a single and specific territory but still 98% of this historical sparkling wine made under the méthode traditionnelle is produced in the region of Penedés. Traditionally Parellada, Xarel·lo, and Macabeu are the three grape varieties – all white – used for cava.
Just one-hour drive from Barcelona – a mere 20 miles west -, Penedés is worldwide known for cava, but also produces great still wines. This wine-growing area hosts from century-old Art Nouveau wineries to new exciting projects, most of them organic. A good 60% of the grapes are white, including the three required to make cava: parellada, macabeu and xarel·lo. By the way, we will talk about xarel·lo down the road. But reds like garnatxa, sumoll and monastrell are defining a new wave.
Definitely an unexplored wine region. It is a small designation at 800 meters (2,625 feet) altitude with huge temperature contrasts and old vines. We love the wines of this boutique appellation. On top of that, it is a great excuse to visit the amazing Cuenca – just at a 50-minute drive – and see the famous and beautiful hanging houses.
Southern Madrid city there is a wine area with an accentuate continental climate, with extreme temperatures ranging from 17.6 ° F in the winter to 105.8 ° f in the summer. The native grapes are tempranillo (also known as fine red or cencibel) and red grenache for reds, and white malvar, airén and albillo. Impressive wines to discover in your next trip to Madrid.
This area lies northwest of Toledo, it is a landscape of gentle hills that rise into the Sierra de Gredos natural reserve. Méntrida produces high quality wines – in fact it here where the above mentioned Domininio de Valdepusa is made. The terroir is excellent to grow an excellent garnacha. Climate is tough and yields are low, so these are wines in short supply and hard to find.
The DO gives the name to the grape cariñena (carignan in France, mazuelo in Rioja), proving the strong relation between the region and viticulture. D.O.P. Cariñena was named by Wine Enthusiast as a region to watch in 2016. Being the second-oldest recognized wine region in Spain after Rioja, it is also home to its own varietal and appellation and is renowned for having the most plantings of old vine Garnacha in the country.
At the foot of the Pyrenees, they have been making exquisite high-quality wines for centuries. Fifteen grape varietals, medieval villages, cave paintings and the canyons carved and polished by the Vero River make Somontano a unique spot. Two iconic wineries to keep in mind: Enate and Viñas del Vero.
Vine and inhabitants of Navarra have an intimate relationship that dates back several centuries. Its strategic location as one of the entry routes to the Iberian Peninsula from Europe made it a place visited by merchants from every corner, all nationalities and cultures, which allowed the entry of foreign grape varieties and the development of an intense wine trade. Religious orders, like the Benedictines contributed greatly to the development of the vine throughout the environment. Reds are very interesting -we’ll go more into details in the specific post- but as defined by Karen MacNeil at The Wine Bible: “French rosés may be more famous, but the best Spanish rosés are usually better – lighter, fresher, less weighty, more elegant. […] Many of the best known come from Rioja and Navarra”.
Txakoli or txakolina is the native Basque wine, and is divided into three appellations: DO Getariako Txakolina (from Getaria area, the largest one), DO Bizkaiko Txakolina (around Bilbao) and DO Txakoli de Alava (the smallest of the three, in Alava region, where also belongs Rioja Alavesa). Mostly drink in the Basque Country, you’ll find txakoli in every bar and restaurant you step in. Its light body and natural fizziness in some of them (Getariako txakolina) makes it perfect to pair with the wide fish options while in Basque Country. Ninety percent of its vines are hondarrabi zuri, a white grape grown virtually nowhere else but in Basque country. Rosé and reds ara rare but really good. Experience it in full in one of our Basque Country journeys.
The area lies on the Duero, where the river meets the Portuguese border. The region is dominated by a national park, surrounded by a natural paradise. Its main appeal is on the native varieties (bruñal, rufete, juan garcía, etc.) and the beautiful wild area where they are located, with very small productions. Climate and soil give to these wines a distinctive fresh character.
Still very underrated and only known for the rosés, the area is on the Saint James Way and for centuries many pilgrims were transporting vines in their backpacks. When an ampelographic study was carried out a few years before the area became a denomination of origin in 1991, around thirty varieties were still found in total, including the white Chasselas from lands as far away as Lake Geneva in Switzerland. It’s one of the regions with the widest variety of grapes. New entrepreneurs are pioneering interesting changes.
The native grape verdejo is now pronounced all over the world. This is a grape with identity, offering juicy citrus and floral flavors, growing at 2,624 feet altitude and giving a very good acidity. The whole set of cultural heritage sites and the yummy roasted lamb might be two more excuses to plan a visit.
Relatively new (1982), Ribera del Duero appellation cannot be understood without the enormous contribution of Vega Sicilia, and of Alejandro Fernández, a true revolutionary in the sector. The main grape is tinta fina – better known as tempranillo – and her it develops more pigment and better fruit acidity than in other Spanish climates, qualities that give birth to more elegant, better structured and very rich wines. Get a taste of it visiting one of the most successful bodegas in Ribera del Duero.
In Cantabria wines production areas are divided into two: Liébana Valley (inland) and the coastal area of the Bay of Biscay. With a humid and rainy climate, this lush and mountainous region is has historically made high-acid and low alcohol wines txakoli-style. There are hardly six wineries but the potential of the area generates curiosity and little by little the vineyard surface is being recovered. In any case, the stunning scenery well worth a visit.
even if cider is king in Asturias, they have one wine appellation: Cangas, made in the so called town of Cangas de Narcea and surroundings. The scenery is rugged and mountainous, and wine is produced in the area from the 10th century, but it was a group of reckless entrepreneurs who started recovering wine in Asturias, and finally the the appellation was set in 2011. Vibrant fresh reds that are a perfect excuse for a day tour while in this green paradise.
One of the oldest wine appellations in Spain is making its comeback. The Romans planted the first vines, and O Ribeiro lived its Golden Age when it became the main wine supplier to England in the 16th and 17th century, before Sherry and Porto reached the British. Nowadays, under a smallholder model, the Ribeiro wine region is attracting great winemakers from other regions in search of unique wines made from unpronounceable native grapes.
Romans carved terraces on slopes in Ribeira Sacra that rose at precipitous angles from the rivers below, over the centuries, monks cared for the vines. The impressive scenery is breathtaking; it’s the perfect example of heroic viticulture. Reds prevail, made mostly with mencía, are expressive, elegant wines with great acidity. Whites, majorly made from godello and albariño, have a great volume in mouth and show the fruit.