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Grapes of Spain. The Most Appreciated White Varieties

A glass of nicely cold white wine is now among our top choices to cool off the summer heat. And when it comes to choosing from the white varieties of Spain, the country has a lot to offer. Here are a few names you should know.

Spain is the third largest producer of wine in the world, the largest being France followed by Italy. The country has an abundance of native grape varieties, with over 400 varieties planted throughout its territory even if about 80% of the wine production is from 20 grapes only. Among the white varieties we find:

Verdejo
Is a typical grape of the D.O. Rueda located in the Community of Castile and León. Verdejo wines are aromatic with a tropical character and strong body. Some producers opt for oak aging, and the results have been exquisite.

Albariño
Sometimes this Spanish grape varietal is thought to be the name of the appellation of origin where the wines are produced – Rias Baixas in the Northwest of Spain, in Galicia. Albariño wines are aromatic, crispy and with a distinctive aroma. It produces acid wines, but also with high glycerine that gives them a silky texture.

Godello
Another grape from the Northwest of Spain, Godello is a high quality grape that produces very aromatic wines.

Palomino
Is used mainly for Fino production in the South of Spain – the driest and palest of the traditional varieties of Sherry and Montilla-Moriles fortified wine.

Airen
Though unknown to many people, this Spanish white varietal is the world’s most planted grape in the world. The grape was traditionally used for the production of alcohol that served as the base for Brandy.

Xarel·ló, Parellada and Macabeo (or Viura)
These are the 3 grapes traditionally used to produce Cava, the sparking wine mainly produced in Catalonia:

 

In Spain, wines are classified into different wine regions, each with their own set of wine laws and quality standards. Currently, Spain has 69 major wine regions, the more correct term being “Designation of Origin” (D.O.). You are most likely familiar with at least a few of them: some of the most well-known wine regions are Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Penedés, Navarra, Rueda, Cava, Rias Baixas, Jeréz and La Mancha.


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