There are more than 60 appellations of origin in Spain. The best way to understand the country’s wines is if we group them by regions. Spain has 7 unique climates.
This is the northern and northwestern portion of Spain, next to the Atlantic. It is known as green Spain because the weather is cool and wet, and the geography is lush greens. This is the land of Ribeiro, Ribera Sacra, Valdeorras, and Bierzo appellation. This part of Spain produces white wines with bracing acidity and strong minerality. This is the land of Albarino, Godello and other indigenous grapes. If I had to compare, the wines from those part resemble in style German Sylvaner.
There are 9 important appellations in that area. These include: Arabako Txakolina, Bierzo, Bizkaiko Txakolina, Getariako Txakolina, Monterrei, Rias Baixas, Ribeira Sacra, Ribeiro and Valdeorras.
North Central Spain
This region of Spain has witnessed important historical and political events.In this area we can find high altitude vineyards along and the banks of the Duero River. Some of the most famous wine names in Spain reside in Ribera del Duero, such as Vega Sicilia and Pesquera. The region also host modest but important appellations such as Rueda and Toro.
The vast, central plains of the Castilla La Mancha are a big part of the Central Plateau from Spain and remains today the largest wine producing area. In fact, it is the largest continuous wine-producing area in the world; approximately 450,000 hectares are under vine. The La Mancha D.O (appellation) accounts for almost half of all vines grown in Spain and produces half of all Spanish wines, many of which it must be said, are at the minimul level of quality. For a long time La Mancha was known as the center of indifferent table wines, rather than quality winemaking. However, the quality has increased dramatically in the last decade and there are some fabulous examples of truly excellent wine estates, offering terrific value for money.
Ebro River Valley
The Ebro River Valley is a macro region in Spain containing many regions with the Denominacion de Origen classification (DO). Wine from these regions near the Ebro River are influenced by soil rich in limestone, and the warm climate of central Spain. They include many little known DOs, like Campo de Borja, and a famous worlwide regions, like Rioja, which is one of only two regions with the highest level of wine classification in Spain. Rioja and Priorat, a region on the Mediterranean Coast, alone qualify for Denominacio d’Origen Calificada (DOC).
The coast is a very large region that encompasses the sub-regions of Valencia, Catalonia and Murcia. Catalonia is famous for Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and famous red wine sub-zone, Priorat. Valencia and Murcia are warmer growing regions that produce quality value wines from Monastrell, Malvasia and the widely planted Airén.
The principal wine regions in the south include Sherry, Montilla Moriles and the mountain wines of Malaga. This is sherry paradise with the area producing some nice dessert wines as well. For red wine lovers, there is the vast region of La Mancha, between Toledo to Cuenca.
The Canary Islands sit off the coast of northern Africa like abandoned postcards from the earth before time. This collection of supernatural landscapes is far from the first place people think of when they think of Spanish wine. However, these storied volcanic islands can date their winemaking history back to the 15th century, and many of the islands’ 30-some-odd indigenous grape varieties have flourished there—untouched by Phylloxera—for centuries.
Each of the seven main islands in the archipelago—Lanzarote, Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma, Canary, El Hierro, and Fuerteventura—have a stunning array of microclimates, elevations, and mineral-rich volcanic soils that are capable of producing a wide range of wines