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!
Bokisch 2015 Reserva Spanish Blend Estate Grown Red (Lodi)Central ValleyThis handsome, beautifully maturing blend of Tempranillo and Graciano grapes shows ample ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$36
Bokisch 2018 Estate Grown Terra Alta Vineyard Graciano (Clements Hills)Central ValleyThis smooth, velvety wine is gentle in texture, rich in fruit and ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$27
Sheldon 2020 Luc's Vineyard Sparkling Graciano (Fountaingrove District)SonomaFrom whole-cluster pressed grapes given zero dosage, this wine is effusively bubbly ...See Full Review$30
Clementine Carter 2019 Graciano (Santa Ynez Valley)Central CoastFresh aromas of açai and purple flowers gain complexity from game and ...See Full Review$48
Sheldon 2019 Luc's Vineyard Sparkling Graciano (Fountaingrove District)SonomaThis is a minuscule production wine that impresses from start to finish, ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$30
Ant Moore 2020 Signature Series Pinot Noir Rosé (Marlborough)New ZealandMidway between Provencal and Spanish in color and style, this fruit-led rosé ...See Full Review$17
Piazza Family 2019 Carbonic Bella Vista Vineyard Graciano (Ballard Canyon)Central CoastThe carbonic winemaker wave finds a new player in this bottling, where ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$30
Godelia 2019 Viernes Mencía (Bierzo)Northern SpainEarthy dark-berry aromas on this wine come with rubbery notes and a ...Best BuySee Full Review$15
Naumes 2017 Tanto Monta Tempranillo-Grenache (Rogue Valley)Southern OregonA blend of half Tempranillo and half Grenache, this nicely marries the ...See Full Review$40
Pazos del Rey 2019 Pazo de Monterrey Mencía (Monterrei)GaliciaEasygoing, lightweight aromas of plum and raspberry are slightly diluted. This Monterrei ...See Full Review$15
Bodegas Palacio 2019 La Poda Mencía (Valdeorras)Northern SpainGritty aromas of rubber and black olive share the nose of this ...See Full Review$15
Analemma 2018 Mencía (Columbia Gorge (OR))Oregon OtherThis Spanish and Portuguese grape is virtually unknown in the U.S. but ...See Full Review$42
Rectoral de Amandi 2019 Colleita Seleccionada Mencía (Ribeira Sacra)GaliciaCreamy oak gives this Mencía aromas of plastic, milk chocolate and perfumed ...See Full Review$15
Barberani 2020 Amore Rosato (Umbria)Central ItalyAromas of Spanish broom mingle with lychee and red berry in this ...See Full Review$18
Joaquín Rebolledo 2019 Mencía (Valdeorras)Northern SpainEarthy plum and cherry aromas are a touch stalky, while this medium-bodied ...See Full Review$19
Pere Ventura NV Clos Amador Rosé Tendre Trepat (Cava)CataloniaBriny orange aromas are a touch funky, while this wine is foamy ...See Full Review$15
Marqués de Toro 2016 Finca la Moura Mencía (Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León)Northern SpainAn opaque purple color and ripe, slightly reduced aromas of blackberry, cassis, ...Editors’ ChoiceSee Full Review$38
Godelia 2016 Mencía (Bierzo)Northern SpainThis attractive Mencía from a terrific vintage opens with wiry black-fruit aromas ...See Full Review$22
Señorío de la Antigua 2016 Finca Cabanela Mencía (Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León)Northern SpainEnchanting aromas of blackberry and cassis include just the right amount of ...See Full Review$32
Paixar 2016 Dragonte Mencía (Bierzo)Northern SpainCherry and red plum aromas are backed by lactic oak notes. A ...See Full Review$79
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