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Grapes from the Mediterranean; Spanish Wine

spanish wine

Spain has more hectares of vines than any other country on the planet. The arid flatlands dotted with vineyards run from the Atlantic ocean on the north to the warm Mediterranean coast. 

And sure, Spain’s flagship wine grape is undoubtedly Tempranillo, the source of robust and oaky red wines, but the Iberian country is home to dozens of varietals; amongst the most exciting, you’ll find Spain’s Mediterranean grapes. 

From Catalonia and festive Barcelona to Andalucía and its rattling guitars, Spain’s Mediterranean shores are a joy to explore — tour the region through your taste buds!

History of Spanish Wine

Although the ancient Phoenicians are credited for bringing viticulture to Spain around 1100 BC, archaeological evidence suggests grapes have grown here for millions of years. 

Under Roman rule, viticulture thrived. Although Spain remained under the control of the moors for seven centuries, who were not fond of alcohol consumption, wine traditions in Spain remained alive.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that Spain’s wine industry caught up with its more illustrious neighbours, and now Spanish wine is amongst the most coveted in the world. 

The regions of Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Priorat produce the country’s more renowned wines, but it’s on the Mediterranean coast where you’ll find the most charming examples. 

The Grapes

Spain’s Mediterranean Coast extends through the Autonomous Communities of Catalonia, Valencia, Murcia and Andalucía, each with its own wine specialities. These are our favourite Spanish grapes.

Macabeo. Also known as Viura, this white grape is not only a fantastic source of thirst-quenching white wines, but also a vital ingredient in Spanish Cava, the country’s most admirable sparkling wine. 

Monastrell. This one’s known as Mourvedre in France, but it is in Spain where it shows its best. Monastrell is wonderful in Murcia, perhaps the grape’s ancestral home. Expect red and black fruit, tight acidity and earthy, even wooly undertones.

Palomino. Palomino is an unsung hero. You won’t find many regular wines made with this grape, but it is behind the most stunning Sherries. Sherry is a fortified wine and the crown’s jewel of Mediterranean flavours. 

Spanish wine and food pairings

Spanish wine is best enjoyed with a table-full of tapas. The country’s small plates that come in all flavours, shapes and sizes. 

Of course, why not start with Spain’s famous grilled octopus? It’s superb with Spain’s white wines, as if they were meant to be enjoyed together. In fact, try a nicely charred octopus with a glass of fizzy Cava. You’ll love it!

Sautéed potatoes tossed with paprika, salt-cured ham, olives, sausages, Spanish tortilla, you name it. Spanish food is best when served centre table with a bottle of wine in hand. 

Must Visit

If there’s a Spanish wine style no one can say no to, that’s Cava. This sparkling wine is made with the same method used to make Champagne, and no one does it better than Freixenet

Freixenet has been a superb sparkling wine producer since 1861. Tour the vineyards that make these festive wines special and learn all there is about the extraordinary process that turns grapes into fizzy wines. Visiting Freixenet is a one-in-a-lifetime experience; this is also one of the largest producers in Spain and the world, so you’re in for quite a ride!

Discover more Mediterranean drinks and local wine cultures here!

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