From Barcelona, Madrid, to La Rioja, make sure to mark these wineries on your route as you learn just why Spain is home to the best old-world style wines in the world.
Located on the Iberian Peninsula, Spain is home to over 1.2 million hectares planted in wine grapes. As the most widely planted wine-producing nation, it stands as the world’s second-largest wine producer, with Italy taking the top spot.
25-30 years ago, Spanish wineries were more preoccupied with getting as much out of their grapes as they could rather than looking too much into the quality. Today, wineries have changed their production methods to focus on producing high-quality wine, and it has certainly paid off.
Spain dominates in the wine industry for their powerful red wine wines, with several regions solely focusing on red wine production. Excellent white wines can also be found in regions like Rueda, where the verdejo grape is grown, Rias Baixas for the albariño grape, and Penedès grapes like xarel·lo, macabeu, parellada, chardonnay and riesling are used. Sparkling wine in Spain is called cava.
With up to 4,000 wineries and dozens of wine regions, it can be hard to know where to start your Spanish wine trail. Here are some of our recommended destinations for exquisite Spanish wine, offering history, culture and picturesque views:
1. Penedés: Cavas Codorníu
Our wine route begins in the Penedés region of Catalonia, where you can experience the oldest producer of Spanish cava. 45 minutes outside of Barcelona, discover the Codorníu winery estate that dates back to 1551.
Here, you’ll get to tour this enchanting estate as it transports you back in time in the 30 kilometres of underground wine caves. The estate features a stunning mansion, gorgeous gardens, and an extremely stimulating cellar tour of the estate’s history.
We recommend trying the Gran Reserva vintage cava, Jaume Codorníu. This is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Xarel-lo from their oldest vineyards, putting it up there with the finest vintage Champagnes.
The Codorníu wine cellar
2. La Rioja: Bodegas Marques de Riscal
Founded in 1858, Bodegas Marques de Riscal is one of La Rioja’s oldest wineries. It’s bursting with a deep history and excellent tasting wines. This winery also features a futuristic-looking hotel designed by Frank Gehry, who is renowned for also having designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
The winery produces over three million bottles of red wine every year, and it avails of a guided tour. The complex also includes an exclusive Michelin restaurant and a wine therapy spa.
Bodega Marques de Riscal
3. Valencia: La Baronia de Turis
Located southwest of Barcelona, La Baronia de Turis is dedicated to creating Spanish wines that are both ecological and sustainable. The old vineyard is based on fertile land with a history that dates back to Roman times.
This winery focuses on native varietals of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Tintorera, Malvasia, and Muscat), as well as popular foreign varietals like Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. So you’ll have a lot of tasting to do at this one! The Tempranillo is typical of this region, which produces full-bodied red wines.
The winery is available for group tastings and tours of the bodega.
La Baronia de Turis
4. Madrid: Las Moradas de San Martín
Found one hour west of Madrid, this winery in the Gredos was founded in 1999. The Garnacha vineyards here have been cultivated since the 12th century, having been reclaimed by the winery.
Comprised of ancient vines, this modest winery has simple and practical facilities, producing up to 80,000 bottles a year. The facility boasts environmentally friendly practices, where all the by-products of the grape are used.
Some of the Garnacha vines here are up to 100 years old, having been given the freedom to grow without interference. If you’re a fan of the Garnacha grape, we recommend you try Las Moradas de San Martín Initio 2011, which has hints of freshness regardless of its age.
Las Moradas de San Martín
5. La Rioja: Marqués de Murrieta
Another location from La Rioja, the winemaking history of the Marqués de Murrieta estate is closely bound to the region of La Rioja itself. Its founder, the Marqués, was Peruvian-born yet brought in French production techniques from Bordeaux. The winery was set up out of the majestic Ygay Castle in the late 1800s.
When visiting the city of Rioja and its thriving tapas scene, make sure you make a visit to this spectacular venue with over 160 years of history. You can taste wines from the Ygay Castle, as well as try the cooking class taught by the estate chef. The winery focuses on the grapes Tempranillo, Marsanne, Malvasia, Mazuelo, Graciano, Viura, Garnacha Blanca, Grenache, and Roussanne.
Bodega Marqués de Murrieta
6. Calatayud: Bodegas San Alejandro
At the end of our tour, we’ll leave you at the southwestern corner of Zaragoza in Calatayud, where the hilly and steep terrain is what makes this wine so unique.
Once home to the Celtic settlers who inhabited the Iberian peninsula, the winepress dates all the way back to 153 B.C. The vineyard Bodegas San Alejandro was founded in 1962, offering wine-tasting tours and a truly hands-on experience. Visitors can take home their own bottled and labelled personal blend.
We suggest you try The Bodegas San Alejandro Las Rocas Garnacha 2015, which really captures the essence of the Calatayud’s both juicy and spicy grape.
Bodegas San Alejandro