Last updated: August 11, 2021

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Welcome to our big Spanish red wine test 2021. Here we present all the Spanish red wines that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

With this, we would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best Spanish red wine for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy a Spanish red wine.




The most important Facts

  • With 5,000 bodegas, 150,000 winegrowers and 1.1 million hectares of cultivated land, Spain is one of the most important wine producers. Spanish wine was already produced 4000 years ago at the time of the Phoenicians. Many years of experience help the winegrowers to cope with the challenging soil and climate conditions of Spain.
  • The quality of Spanish wine is shown by four quality levels. In addition, Spanish red wines are known for their excellent price-quality ratio. The best wines bear the D.O. seal, which indicates that the highest purity of taste and quality has been achieved, and about fifty percent of the wines in Spain are allowed to bear this seal.
  • The numerous wine regions ensure that there are about 150 different grape varieties in Spain. The most popular are Tempranillo, Bobal, Garnacha and Monastrell.

The Best Spanish Red Wine: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a Spanish Red Wine

What types of Spanish red wine are there?

Today, Spain already has around 150 grape varieties, but they are all very different. Therefore, Spain is one of the most diverse countries in terms of viticulture.

Grape variety area
Garnacha 170,000 hectares
Bobal 113,000 hectares
Monastrell 107,000 hectares
Tempranillo 70,000 hectares

Around 60% of bottled wines in Spain are red wines. They come from all parts of the country and are made from Tempranillo, Garnacha, Bobal, Mazuelo, Monastrell, Mencia or Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot.

Garnacha

Garnacha actually comes from Sardinia, but is now one of the most widely cultivated red grape varieties in Spain. It is grown in the east as well as in the west and north of Spain and is particularly productive.

The wine has a light colour and a velvety and full-bodied aroma. The wine tastes fruity and smells slightly of cherries. Garnacha is also excellent for cuvées with Tempranillo or Cariñena and is a wine full of character, intended for special occasions.

Bobal

Bobal is one of the most widespread red wine varieties in Spain. Most stocks are found in central and southern Spain. Bobal used to be the main ingredient of so-called bulk wines. However, if left to mature long enough, it can achieve excellent results.

Spanish wines are known for their full flavour. They are often a bit heavier with fruity and floral notes on a deep tannin base. (Image source: unsplash.com / Kelsey Knight)

Bobal is a flexible grape variety as it doesn't mind what soil it is planted in and therefore produces huge yields. On the one hand, this grape variety sprouts late and on the other hand, it ripens late, which is not a problem in Spain, as Bobal is very heat-resistant.

The best Bobal wines are fresh, rich in extract but not powerful, have a good acidity and are velvety and smooth on the palate. It therefore goes very well with lamb, young cheeses and beef.

Monastrell

Monastrell is the Spanish name for the once French grape variety Mourvedre. It is a red grape variety that is ideal for Spain and its hot temperatures, especially because of its robustness and insensitivity to drought.

These grapes are smaller than other grapes and have a thick skin. In addition, the Monastrell is a grape variety that ripens late and therefore has a high tannin content. The Monastrell often has a high alcohol content and impresses with its intense aroma.

The taste can be described as flattering and is therefore particularly suitable for desserts or light dishes.

Tempranillo

Tempranillo, Spanish for small early, owes its name to the fast-ripening, small grapes. The grape variety produces powerful wines with a fragrant and fruity bouquet.

Tempranillo can be enjoyed as a young wine due to its sweet tannins and goes well with tapas, salads and vegetables. It is therefore also called the all-rounder.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Spanish red wine?

You can enjoy Spanish red wine on any occasion, as there is a very large selection of different varieties.

It is therefore ideal for private occasions as well as weddings, anniversaries etc. Moreover, it is offered in different quality levels, so it comes in different price ranges.

Advantages
  • Gives the right wine for every occasion
  • Large selection
  • Quality wine
  • Intense taste experience
Disadvantages
  • Low profile
  • Produced in Spain
  • Large selection Usually only found online

Spain's red wine is famous for its enormous diversity of grape varieties. However, most Spanish grape varieties are not known in Germany.

What is the price range for Spanish red wines?

You can buy Spanish red wine for less than 10.00 EUR. The average, however, is between 15.00 and 35.00 euros. If you want to buy really exceptional and special wine, you have to invest several hundred euros.

The price depends on the grape variety, the storage and the quality of the wine.

What are the alternatives to Spanish red wines?

Spain is the world's leading wine-growing nation alongside France and Italy. About 1,194,000 hectares of land are available for viticulture in Spain, closely followed by Italy with about 912,000 hectares of cultivated land.

France is also another important international wine producer. Wine from France and Italy in particular is similar to that from Spain. On the one hand, this is due to the similar climate, but also because of the special quality.

In addition to Spain, France and Italy are also associated with such a wine culture. The countries have in common that wine occupies an important place in the lives of both simple and wealthy people.

Moreover, the countries carry out very similar procedures for the maturation of great red wines. Furthermore, you will find a considerable selection of red wines from both French and Italian winemakers.

Buying Criteria: These are the Factors you can use to compare and evaluate Spanish Red Wines

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate Spanish red wines. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular Spanish red wine is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

In the following lists, we will explain what is important in the individual criteria.

Quality

For Spanish wines there are some regulations that guarantee that wines of first-class quality are produced. This has led to the existence of a classification system since 1970.

More than half of these wines have the so-called DO status (Denominación de Origen). In addition, this designation specifies for each area which grape varieties are permitted for cultivation.

The four most important quality levels with descending rank are:

Type Description
Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa) Very high quality, for example wines from the Rioja region
Denominación de Origen (DO) Strict specifications on grape varieties and product method
Vino de la Tierra = Country wine. Indication of origin, grape variety and vintage
Vino de Mesa = Table wine. No indication of origin, grape variety or vintage

However, there are other quality characteristics for Spanish wine that you will come across:

Type Description
Joven Young wine that does not age in barrel
Crianza Ages 6 months in barrel and 12-18 months in bottle
Reserva Ages one year in barrel, two more years in bottle
Gran Reserva Ages 2 years in barrel as well as 3 years in bottle

Wine region

La Mancha is clearly the largest wine-growing region in Spain. The entire area has a vineyard area of approx. 450,000 hectares, making it the largest classified wine-growing region in the world. La Mancha is home to Valdepeñas, a DO classified area covering about 30,000 hectares.

Wine is grown in Spain in all 17 of the country's autonomous regions. These include both the cooler, wetter north and the hot, dry south, as well as the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands. (Image source: unsplash.com / Maja Petric)

In comparison, the other Spanish wine-growing regions seem downright tiny, although they have huge areas, such as Extremadura with around 87,000 hectares in the west of Spain.

Rioja is also one of the largest wine regions in Spain, with around 60,000 hectares of vines, and it is one of the most important red wine regions, producing some of the best red wines in the world.

Other important wine-growing regions are Ribera del Duero and Navarra, where cuvées of Tempranillo and Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon are produced.

Vintage

The vintage year in viticulture is the year in which the wine was produced. In contrast to white wines, when buying red wine you should not choose a wine from the current year, as red wine needs time to mature and become round and it is therefore advisable to choose a red wine from the previous year.

The vintage also makes statements about the quality of a red wine. If the wine comes from a year that offered an excellent climate for cultivation, it can be expected that the wine will be of better quality.

An optimal vintage depends on the climate conditions, the growing region as well as the winegrower. Red wines often have a storage time of up to two years. Quality wines, on the other hand, have up to four years and Spätlese up to five years.

Closure

The type of closure depends on the winemaker's preferences. However, both the cork and the screw cap offer advantages. A screw cap allows the wine bottle to be closed completely tightly, whereas a cork allows the wine to breathe.

Corks are best suited for red wines so that the wine can continue to breathe and thus mature. (Image source: unsplash.com / Jean-Luc Benazet)

Plastic corks are a no-go in the wine industry. In addition, cheap pressed corks, which are made of natural cork granules, can crumble when pulled out. Natural corks also have disadvantages, for example, the red wine may change its taste as the wine begins to cork.

Facts worth knowing about Spanish Red Wine

What is the ideal drinking temperature for Spanish red wine?

The ideal drinking temperature for wines from the Valdepeñas region is 14 degrees. Whereas red wines from Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Tinto Navarra, Priorato develop their flavour best at 16-18 degrees.

Note that red wine is always served one to two degrees cooler than it should eventually be drunk, as it warms up quickly in the glass. This guarantees the best possible taste.

What dishes does Spanish red wine go with?

Basically, it can be said that a Spanish red wine goes well with any dish, as different wines are obtained.

Red wine is particularly popular with fatty dishes. This of course includes those red wines from Spain. For dishes with a high fat content, an older wine with a high tannin content is ideal, as it neutralises the food.

Spanish red wine is of course also suitable for classic Spanish dishes such as paella or fish, this depends entirely on the variety. A heavy red wine is best served with game and red wine goes equally well with creamy sauces.

Image source: pixabay.com / Pexels

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