Spanish Wine Grapes
At just over 200,000 hectares (or 21% of total vines planted) Airén is Spain’s most widely grown white grape and second only to Tempranillo at 203,000 hectares.
Albariño is a white wine grape most commonly found in the region of Rias Baixas, one of the five official wine-growing regions in Galicia. It produces wines with lovely fresh fruit and crisp citrus flavours that are beautiful to drink.
Albillo Real is a native Spanish white variety grown historically in Castille, especially Ribera del Duero, Avila and Madrid, as well as Galicia.
Alicante Bouschet is a red grape with red flesh, one of what the French call "dyer" varieties because they add a deep colour to red wine.
Bobal is Spain’s 3rd most widely grown wine grape, but still not that well known. Traditionally it was used in bulk wines, but these days it’s increasingly being used for single varietal wines.
Cabernet Franc is an early budding, medium ripening grape variety with medium to high acidity which adapts well to different soil types. It is one of Spain's less common grapes, but can still be found in places like Castilla la Mancha, Catalunya and Valencia.
A cross between Cabernet Franc and the white grape, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon is perhaps the world’s most famous red grape.
Cariñena is a Spanish grape variety with many names - Carignan, Mazuelo, Samsó. Naming conventions aside, having once been the dominant wine grape in much of Spain only to fall out of favour, this grape is now making a comeback.
One of the wine world’s most well-known grape varieties. In Spain it's used on its own or blended in Cava, and is popular because it can soak up the influence of its environment or the techniques of its winemaker like few other grapes.
Garnacha is one of the most widely grown red grapes in the world and Spain's third most popular red grape. From the famous Priorat to the lesser-known Méntrida, this grape has become a staple of the Spanish wine sector.
Garnacha Blanca is a wine with the Mediterranean in its DNA. Imagine yourself walking along a coastal path on a spring day with the smell of scrubland herbs and flowers mixing with the fresh sea air. Well, if you could bottle that it would probably be a Garnacha Blanca.
For many people, Giró is synonymous with, or a very old clone of, Garnacha and it’s the name given to the grape in the Levante region
Godello is a Spanish white wine grape primarily grown in the regions of Valdeorras and Monterrei in Galicia, and in Bierzo in Castilla & Leon. It produces wines with lovely citrusy flavours and delicate saline notes.
Graciano is perhaps best known as "Rioja's third grape" after Tempranillo and Garnacha. It has a very dark-hued skin and gives dark, intense red wines with good acidity and levels of tannin. It tends to give fresh, elegant wines which are quite full in the mouth with a long finish.
Macabeo, or Viura as you’ll see it referred to in Rioja, is Spain’s fifth most widely planted grape. In Catalunya, it's commonly used in Cava whilst in Rioja, it's an important part of the region’s exciting experimentation with new white wines.
Malvasia is a Spanish white wine grape variety. It's popular in the Canary Islands, where you’ll find it as Malvasía Volcanica or Malvasía Aromatica. In mainland Spain, it's known as Doña Blanca, Malvasía Blanca, Alarije, Blanca Roja, Rojal and Subirat Parent amongst other names.
Mencía is particularly popular in DOs like Bierzo or Ribeira Sacra, Monterrei and Valdeorras in Galicia. In general, Mencía wines are fresh and perfumed, with very appealing fruit that works well with very subtle oak or no oak at all.
Originally from Bordeaux, Merlot is now grown in close to 40 countries across the world. It tends to give quite plump, juicy and rounded wines, which makes it the ideal blending partner for the more austere grapes.
Merseguera has the reputation of being rather neutral. But in the right hands, it can produce fresh, aromatic wines with light acidity and low alcohol.
Tempranillo may be better known, but Monastrell is one of Spain’s most well-loved red grapes. It has an especially important role in the winemaking culture in the Levante region, and in particular the south-east of the country.
Moravia Agria is one of Spain’s more obscure red grape varieties, grown principally in Castilla La Mancha, especially in DO Manchuela.
Moscatel is a highly aromatic grape variety. Its key characteristic is that it is one of the only wine grapes that produces wines that actually taste like grapes.
Palomino Fino is a white grape variety which originated in Andalucia and is most closely associated with Jerez where it's the key grape used to make a whole range of wines, mainly fortified but some still wines too.
Parellada is a white wine grape, commonly used in the Spanish wine regions of Valencia and Catalunya. Alongside Xarel-lo and Macabeo, it is one of the three core grapes used to make the Spanish sparkling wine Cava.
Pedro Ximénez (PX) is traditionally associated with Andalucia, and particularly the sweet wines of Montilla-Moriles. In fact, some producers in Jerez or Malaga still routinely import sweet, sticky PX wines from Montilla-Moriles to sweeten their blends.
Pinot Noir is one of the world’s best known and best loved red grapes. But it’s also a notoriously delicate grape to work with and requires optimum growing conditions.
Sauvignon Blanc is one of the world’s most popular white varieties. In many parts of Spain, the climate is a little too hot for Sauvignon Blanc to grow in large quantities. But you can find it used quite extensively in DO Rueda.
Sousón is the most popular red grape in Rías Baixas, the Galician wine region known for its white Albariño wines. But it’s also found in the Spanish wine regions of Ribeira Sacra, Ribeiro, Valdeorras and Monterrei.
Originally from the Rhône Valley in France, Syrah has found fame in Australia, Argentina, Chile, South Africa and the US. But in Spain it is still largely used in blends.
Tempranillo is the most common wine grape in Spain. Whilst it's grown and used for winemaking in many Spanish wine regions, it's most commonly associated with the wine regions of Ribera del Duero and Rioja.
Torrontés is the second most widely planted white wine grape in the Galician wine region of Ribeiro, with smaller plantings in Rías Baixas and Ribeira Sacra. Torrontés makes very aromatic Spanish white wines.
Treixadura is the main white grape in the Ribeiro DO in Galicia, where you’ll often find it blended with other local Galician white varieties like Godello or Torrontés. It produces aromatic, refreshing white wines.
Verdejo’s popularity shot up in the noughties as it became a sort of substitute for Sauvignon Blanc. Nowadays, 4 in every 10 bottles of white wine sold in Spain is made from the Verdejo grape. It's mainly grown in Castilla y León and particularly in the Spanish wine region Rueda.