Red wine is produced throughout the country, from indigenous and international grape varieties. The most significant Spanish regions for red wine production are Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Priorat and Toro.
Rioja is the best-known region for quality Spanish red wine. Located in Northern Spain, the Rioja DO is made up of three distinct zones: Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja. Though white and rosé wine is produced here, it is best known for its red wines.
Red Rioja wines are usually blends, with Tempranillo being the most important grape variety. Garnacha, Mazuelo (better known as Carignan or Cariñena) and Graciano are also widely used.
Perhaps the most significant factor in Rioja—as with much Spanish red wine—is the use of oak aging. The length of time a Rioja wine spends in oak will impact not only its style but also its official classification. Young wines with little or no aging will be labelled simply as “Rioja” or “Joven.” In ascending order, the next levels are Rioja Crianza, Rioja Reserva and Rioja Gran Reserva.
Rioja Crianza tends to show more primary fruit characteristics, Reserva beginning to show more complexity and oak influences, and Gran Reserva showing mostly tertiary aromas derived from its aging.
Ribera del Duero
This region in north-central Spain produces some of the country’s finest red wines. Top producers can rival the highest-end wines of Bordeaux, Tuscany and California when it comes to quality, prestige and even price.
Red wine from Ribera del Duero is primarily produced from the local variant of Tempranillo, known as Tinto Fino. Other grape varieties permitted include Bordeaux varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec. Ribera del Duero wines tend to be deep in color and firm in flavor.
Priorat is a distinctive and isolated wine-producing region in the Tarragona province of Catalunya. Its steep hillside vineyards of stony soils combine with low yielding old vines to produce intense red wines.
Up to 10 different grape varieties are permitted, though most significant are Garnacha and Mazuelo. Priorat is one of very few wine regions throughout the world capable of making truly premium wines predominantly from these varieties. Other grapes permitted here include Merlot, Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Macabeo and Garnacha Blanca, among others.
Toro is a Spanish red wine region in the Zamora region of Castilla y Léon. These wines are some of Spain’s most full-bodied, powerful and robust. The most important grape here is Tinta de Toro, the local name for the Tempranillo grape. Some producers also use a little Garnacha, with up to 10% of that variety permitted in wines labelled “Tinto Roble.”
Other significant areas producing Spanish red wine include Navarra, Jumilla, La Mancha, Bierzo and Yecla.
To browse Spanish red wines by region or price, use our online Buying Guide below. At Wine Enthusiast Magazine, we review thousands of wines annually to provide our readers with information needed to find that perfect bottle!
Bovale 2016 Bobal (Utiel-Requena)LevanteSmoky blackberry and dark-plum flavors are robust and convincing, while this Bobal ...See Full Review$15
Bodegas Iranzo 2016 Azul de Bobal (Utiel-Requena)LevanteResiny oak aromas rest atop blackberry, raisin and prune scents on what ...See Full Review$15
Vicente Gandia 2016 BO Único Bobal (Utiel-Requena)LevanteEarthy plum and berry aromas rise up amid notes of gaseous reduction. ...See Full Review$15
Pago de Tharsys 2016 Tharsys City Tinto Bobal (Utiel-Requena)LevanteTire-rubber, blackberry and black-cherry aromas lead to a medium-to-full palate with rubbery ...Best BuySee Full Review$13
Pago de Tharsys 2016 Acedemia de los Nocturnos Bobal (Utiel-Requena)LevanteEarthy plum and berry aromas lack concentration and depth. In the mouth, ...Best BuySee Full Review$10
Clementine Carter 2017 Graciano (Santa Ynez Valley)Central CoastThis is one of the early bottlings labeled Graciano, from grapes that ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$45
Brian Carter NV 1 Upland Vineyard Graciano (Snipes Mountain)Columbia ValleyExamples of this variety are rare in the state. Aromas of blackberry, ...See Full Review$85
Marichal 2017 Tannat (Canelones)UruguayCandied black cherry aromas are similar to what you get from many ...See Full Review$17
Abad Dom Bueno 2015 Carracedo Mencía (Bierzo)Northern SpainAn opaque color and rich but minerally aromas of graham cracker, iodine, ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$50
Dominio de Tares 2015 Bembibre Mencía (Bierzo)Northern SpainA black color and deep aromas of berry fruits, vanilla, wood spice ...See Full Review$45
Losada 2015 Altos de Losada La Bienquerida Mencía (Bierzo)Northern SpainConcentrated black fruit aromas come with accents of lemony oak, olive and ...See Full Review$55
Avancia 2016 Mencía (Valdeorras)Northern SpainMinerally plum and blueberry aromas create a fine opening to this fleshy ...See Full Review$45
Vinos de Arganza 2015 Legado D Farro Viña de Cantaloba Mencía (Bierzo)Northern SpainFloral berry and cassis aromas come with a sweet pastry note and ...See Full Review$32
Marques de Griñon 2012 Single Vineyard Estate Bottled Graciano (Dominio de Valdepusa)Central SpainThere are pluses and minuses to this Graciano, and they're glaring. For ...See Full Review$50
Camino de Cabras 2015 Mencía (Valdeorras)Northern SpainPlum, currant, wood grain, vanilla and baking spice aromas are fitting for ...See Full Review$19
Dominio de Tares 2016 Baltos Mencía (Bierzo)Northern SpainThis nose is rich, savory in aromas of blackberry, black olive, chocolate ...See Full Review$20
Cuatro Pasos 2015 Mencía (Bierzo)Northern SpainSpicy plum and cassis aromas come with a sweet note of cinnamon-infused ...See Full Review$16
Vinedos Singulares 2015 Corral del Obispo Mencía (Bierzo)Northern SpainInitial aromas of olive, iodine and foresty black fruits turn more mulchy ...See Full Review$18
Vinos Valtuille 2015 Versos de Valtuille Mencía (Bierzo)Northern SpainAromas of creamy oak, vanilla, plum and raspberry are best early on, ...See Full ReviewN/A
Señorío de la Antigua 2015 Señorío de la Antigua Finca Cabanela Mencía (Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León)Northern SpainMedium-deep black fruit aromas are ripe, earthy and smooth though not overly ...See Full Review$32
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