Life is good in Spain. With ample sun, glorious coastline and delicious food and wine, it’s no wonder that the Spanish have such a zest for life. That zest certainly translates into the local vineyards and wine — it’s not only delicious, but perfect for sharing with friends and family. Especially when paired with cheese, cured meats, and hearty conversation, you can’t miss doing a wine tour in Spain.
While Spanish wine is well regarded, it’s perhaps somewhat overshadowed by the neighboring powerhouse of France. This means that there’s a certain understated joy with wine cruises and wine tasting in this country – many wineries are family owned, and the passion for wine shines through.
From the ultra-famous Rioja to the delectable Sherry Triangle, there are options to please all palates. Here’s our guide to enjoying Spanish wine country to the fullest.
One-third of the Sherry Triangle, the region of Jerez lies in Andalucia in southern Spain. In fact, the region is so synonymous with sherry that the name itself is an anglicization of ‘Jerez’.
As a result, it’s undoubtedly the world’s premier sherry-producing region. It’s filled with large and small producers, many of whom have been making the drink for generations.
Known for… sherry, sherry and more sherry! For those who are not familiar, this is a type of wine that has been fortified by the addition of grape spirit before it’s aged. This creates a strong, sweet flavor, and also increases the overall alcohol content, making it popular as a dessert wine.
Wineries you can’t miss… Bodegas Tradición which, incredibly, began producing sherry way back in 1650. Clearly, they’ve had time to perfect their art – meaning they produce some of the best sherry (and brandy) in the world.
If you’d like to try more than just sherry, then Bodegas Luis Perez is a fabulous stop. In addition to the region’s most famous variety, this family-run winery also produces quality whites, reds and rosés as well.
If you’re fond of bubbly, then you’re likely to fall madly in love with beautiful Penedès, which lies just a short distance from bustling Barcelona. Home to more than 300 wineries that focus mostly on cava (the name for sparkling white wine produced in Spain), Barcelona’s party-loving ways have certainly reached Penedès. Here, there’s an emphasis on really enjoying cava, preferably in the company of good friends.
Known for… Cava, predominantly. Even if you haven’t heard the name, you’re sure to know Spain’s sparkling wine. It is typically considered a fairly affordable type of bubbly, so you can get some fabulous quality sparkling without breaking the bank.
Winery you can’t miss… Parés Baltà, who produces biodynamic and organic wines from their beautiful hilltop location. The mountainous terrain offers various microclimates, meaning there is tremendous variety here. Owned by the same family since 1790, their cava is coveted, but the reds and whites are also top-notch.
If you know anything about Spanish wine, then chances are you’ve heard the name Rioja. It’s by far the most well-known region in Spain, spread out over more than 52,000 hectares of land in the far north of the country. This is where some of Spain’s premier wine is produced, while plenty of small family producers also open their doors to sommeliers and amateur enthusiasts alike.
Best known for… about 90% of the wine produced in the region is red, with the ‘Rioja’ blend the most common. Typically this is a blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano. Increasingly, however, single varietals – particularly Tempranillo – are being produced in the region.
Winery you can’t miss… Offering an experience for all the senses, Marqués de Riscal is an incredibly unique winery. Although the winery dates from 1858, the main cellar door is ultra-futuristic, having been designed by architect Frank Gehry. The wine is exceptional, of course, and there’s even a Michelin-starred restaurant on site.
Majorca (Mallorca) is already known as a true island paradise, and the fact that there are numerous excellent wine producers only makes it better. As a more hidden gem of a wine region, only a tiny percentage of wine produced on the island is exported. So, if you want to taste it, then your best bet is to spend some time on the stunning island.
Best known for… There is a huge variety on offer on Majorca, which is part of what makes it such an exciting place to do a wine tour in Spain. However, one particularly popular grape is Callet, which is only found in eastern Majorca. It’s a dark skinned, elegant grape that is often blended to create delicate red varieties but can also be enjoyed on its own.
Wineries you can’t miss… Mesquida Mora Winery, an exciting winery producing exceptional biodynamic wines. With a passionate young winemaker at the helm, this is definitely a fabulous stop while on Majorca.
On the other hand, Bodegas Ribas is the oldest producer on the island, having been established in 1711. It’s had a long time to perfect its craft, and the setting is exceptionally beautiful.
If you’re ready to try some of these historic wineries, contact us or register today for one of our wine cruises with Williamson, Hess, or Aridus – each of which will be docking in Spain and touring the stunning wine country.