Spanish Red Wine (Regions and Prices, Best Wines for 2023)

Spanish Red Wines are available in a variety of flavors, styles, and prices. From fruity bottles that you can uncork during your pool party to collectible vintage labels, there is something for everyone.

Rioja DOC

Rioja DOC is a wine region located in northern Spain. It is made up of the autonomous communities La Rioja and Navarra. This Spanish wine region has a long history dating back to the Phoenicians. You can choose Rioja wine between Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa, and Rioja Oriental.

Rioja DOC varietals of red wine: Tempranillo; Garnacha Tinta; Carinena; and Graciano.

Priorat DOC

Priorat is located in southwest Catalonia. Its viticultural heritage began with the planting of vines by Catholic monks in seven villages in the region. Priorat was granted DOC status by the Spanish government in 1954. The bulk production was gradually discontinued and replaced by bottling.

Priorat DOC red wine varietals: Garnacha Tinta, Garnacha Peluda, Carinena, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah

Rias Baixas DO

This region in Galicia is known for its white wines made from the Albarino grape. In recent years, the region’s red wine has made headlines. Rias Baixas red wines are known for their crisp acidity, low content, and Atlantic feel.

Rias Baixas DO red wine varietals: Caino Tinto, Espadeiro, Loureira Tinta, Souson, Mencia, and Brancellao.

Carinena DO

The Carinena vineyards, which are home to the grape variety that bears their name, are situated on a plateau within the Aragon Province. The DO has been in place since 1932 and is one of Europe’s oldest wine-growing regions.

Since the 1990s, the Carinena area has moved beyond high-alcohol wines for domestic consumption to subtler and more balanced wines that are sold on the international market.

Carinena DO varietals of red wine: Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha tinta, Juan Ibanez (or Mazuela), Carinena or Mazuela, Monastrell, Tempranillo and Vidadillo.

1995 Dominio de Pingus ‘Pingus’ ($1,552)

Tucked in the high plateau of Castilla y Leon, the boutique winemaker Pingus shot to fame with their very first vintage in 1995. Buy their first vintage and enjoy blackberry and black olive scents in this succulent wine for another ten years.

2004 Artadi Vina El Pison ($602)

This Rioja vineyard emerged from a collective of 13 growers in 1985 and specializes in Tempranillo and Garnacha wines with smooth tannins. Their 2004, with notes of espresso, balsamic, and Asian spices, is particularly famous for securing a perfect 100 from wine critic Robert Parker.

2009 Descendientes de J. Palacios La Faraona ($1,407)

From the hills of Bierzo in northwestern Spain comes this smooth wine made with Mencia grapes. In their 2009 vintage, you’ll instantly pick on the deep aroma of oak layered with the wild forest fruits and spices and a mild palate that lingers on.

1994 Clos i Terrasses Clos Erasmus ($425)

This Catalonian winemaker presents the characteristic Garnacha flavors from Priorat in this spicy and intense wine. Its prominent minerality finds good company with hints of licorice and dark red berries.

2014 Celler Mas Doix ‘1902’ Centenary Carignan ($338)

The Centenary collection is Mas Doix’s attempt at bringing Priorat’s winemaking history to life. This 2014 vintage is made with old vines of Carignan planted in 1902 after Europe’s battle with the phylloxera epidemic. Its bold and expressive notes of blackberry, chocolate, and spices speak for the wine’s rich past.

2006 Vega Sicilia Unico Gran Reserva ($478)

This classic Ribero del Duero wine comes from the finest winemaker in Spain. Vega Sicilia’s Unico range of wines is also one of the most sought-after worldwide. Part of its magic lies in the elegance with which the 2006 vintage reveals its creamy texture amid whiffs of American oak.

1964 La Rioja Alta S.A. Gran Reserva 904 ($375)

Founded in 1890, La Rioja Alta specializes in red blends that make for an intoxicating experience. In their 1964 vintage, Tempranillo, Graciano, and Macabeo grape varieties take over your senses with the fragrance of crushed flowers and a silky smooth texture on your palate. This Rioja Reserva is truly emblematic of the region’s finest wines.

2009 Bodegas Muga Aro ($255)

A versatile Rioja blend of Graciano and Tempranillo grape varieties makes up this elegant and robustly tannic wine. In it, the wine drinker will experience the mineral-rich terroir of Rioja Alta, along with hints of orange sorbet.

1997 R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva ($245)

The Heredia Estates’ 1997 Rioja blend has been aged in oak barrels, where it developed a complex palate of cherry, vanilla, and raspberry. And you can enjoy the ever-evolving flavors of this Reserva for another 20 years!

2010 Teso La Monja ($1,195)

The Toro wine region is famous for its full-bodied red wines made with Tempranillo, also known as Tinto de Toro. Teso La Monja’s 2010 vintage is an excellent expression of this rich and intense style with a cherry red color and the aroma of red fruit.

How is Spanish red wine made?

Halfway through the 20th century, Spanish winemakers began experimenting with new winemaking techniques.

They changed, for example, the way that they regulate the acidity in red wine. In warm wine regions, Spanish wine tends to have a high alcohol content and low acidity. Vintners corrected this by adding white grapes like Verdejo to balance the acidity.

This wine was not as full-bodied as the red grapes used to make it.

The introduction of stainless steel vats and temperature-controlled equipment radically altered this. This allowed winemakers the ability to stop fermentation and adjust the sweetness, alcohol, and acidity of their wines.

Spanish winemakers have traditionally used French oak barrels. Spanish winemakers are known for their Gran Reservas, aged in oak barrels.

As the industry grew, manufacturers began to use barrels from other countries, including Hungarian oak, barrels from Eastern Europe, and barrels from America, in addition to the French oak barrel.

Tasting Notes for Spanish Red Wine

Explore how Spanish winemakers use the most popular varietals of red wine to create their masterful red wines.

Tempranillo wines

The Tempranillo, or Tinto Fino, grape is prominent in the younger Crianza wine. The wine is infused with flavors of sour cherries, vanilla, and cedar when aged in oak barrels. This reveals the sweetness or dryness of the wine. Pick a wine from Ribera del Duero to experience Tinto Fino’s flavors fully.

Garnacha wines

This native Spanish variety (also called Grenache) offers a blast of red fruit flavors such as strawberry and hibiscus. The sweetness can be contrasted with the refreshing black tea notes.

Priorat blends Garnacha, Syrah, Merlot, and Carignan to produce a wine that is tannin. These older wines have more complex flavors, such as grilled plums and crushed gravel.

Spanish Red Wine Food Pairings

The complex bouquet of aromas and flavors in Spanish red wines means that your choices are endless and delicious!

The easiest way to maintain a casual atmosphere is by pairing Spanish red wine and Tapas, the local bar food of choice.

With a piece of aged cheese or roast pork, you can serve a lighter, younger red wine. Chefs suggest pairing Galician wines with Asian food, particularly sushi.

Gran Reserva wines are best paired with a richer, more protein-rich meal like grilled pigeons or wild game in rich sauces.

It would be best if you also looked at Spanish wine as a whole, its history, and its classification system.

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