Rioja – Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOC); Northern Spain; Tempranillo dominates, older wines include Garnacha, Graciano and Mazuelo. White wines also produced from Macabeo, Malvasia and Garnacha Blanca.
Priorat – DOC; Catalonia; Garnacha dominates, Cariñena is another local grape; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah also widely (and increasingly) planted and may feature either in blends or as single variety. White wines from Garnacha Blanca, Macabeo, Pedro Ximinez and Chenin Blanc also produced in lesser volumes.
Navarra – Denominación de Origen (DO); Neighbours Rioja to the East; Garnacha and Tempranillo jointly dominate; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Graciano and Mazuelo also planted. White wines also produced from Viura (aka Macabeo), Chardonnay and Garnacha Blanca. Recent years have seen a focus on Rosé wines.
Ribera Del Duero – DO; Northwest Spain, hillside vineyards along the Duero (Douro) River; Tinto Fino is the local name for Tempranillo, which dominates; Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot also widely planted and feature in blends.
Valdepeñas – DO; Central Spain, large flatlands to the south of La Mancha; Even split between red and white wines, few roses; Large number of permitted grapes – Airen, Macabeo, Chardonnay, Verdejo, Sauvignon Blanc and Moscatel for white wines; Cencibel (local name for Tempranillo), Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot for red wines.
Penedès – DO; Catalonia; Home of the sparkling wine, Cava; White wines overwhelmingly dominate in the mountains, mostly from Xarel·lo or Macabeo, though aromatic varieties such as Muscat d’Alexandria, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Chenin Blanc and even Chardonnay increasingly planted; Red wines from Garnacha, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cariñena confined largely to the regions coastal plains.
Galicia – Entire area north of Portugal, home to 5 individual Denominación de Origens: DO Monterrei, DO Rias Baixas, DO Ribeira Sacra, DO Ribeiro, and DO Valdeorras; White wines overwhelmingly dominate; Most success has been had with Albariño and Godello, though many indigenous varieties widely planted.
Andalucia – Southern-most part of mainland Spain; Home of the fortified wines Sherry, Malaga and Montilla-Moriles. Plantings are dominated by white grapes: Palomino and Pedro Ximinez dominate as these grapes are responsible for the bulk of sherry production; Still table wine is infrequently produced from local varieties, most notably Zalema.
Spanish Ageing Classifications:
Joven – Literally “Young”, unaged wines, intended for drinking soon after bottling. Labels may frequently state only Tinto (red), Rosado (rosé) or Branco (white).
Crianza – On bottles released before the mid-1970s, “Crianza” meant simply “Aged In Wood” with no mandated time period. Since regulation, this term requires wines to have been matured in oak barrels for a minimum period of 12 months with a further minimum 12 months in the bottle pre-release; These wines generally drink well upon release and often mature for up to a decade*.
Reserva – Requires wines to have been matured in oak barrels for a minimum period of 12 months with a further 24 months in the bottle pre-release; While these wines will generally drink well upon release, they may benefit from extended periods of maturation*.
Gran Reserva – Requires wines to have been matured in oak barrels for a minimum period of 24 months with a further 24 months in the bottle pre-release; These wines are generally intended for extended periods of maturation*.
* exceptions naturally apply depending on producer and vintage.