Popular among connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike, Spanish wine is famed for its exceptional quality, diverse flavor, and rich cultural heritage. Spain boasts a warm climate ideal for grape-growing, with varied terroirs, fertile soils, and ancient winemaking traditions dating back through the generations. These factors combine to make Spain’s wine scene a joy to explore, and in this blog I’m delighted to share insight into my top 10 Spanish wines.
If you’d like to learn more about the grape varietals, fertile vineyards, and innovative wine producers of Catalonia, the team at Wine Fantasy Barcelona would be happy to share our insight with you in person. I run relaxed and informal wine tastings in Barcelona along with exciting cava and wine vineyard tours in the Catalonian countryside, and would be delighted to welcome you here in beautiful Catalonia.
The Rich Diversity of Spanish Wines
There’s a dazzling range of grape varietals that thrive in the warm Spanish sunshine – from the bold and full-bodied Tempranillo in La Rioja to the aromatic Albariño of Rías Baixas – and each offers their own distinctive characteristics.
On top of this, Spain’s winegrowing terroirs take in the lush landscapes of Galicia, the arid plains of La Mancha, and more, offering a broad selection of soil types and microclimates which suit the vines in many different ways.
This diversity goes a long way to explaining the sheer depth of flavors we find in red, white, and rosé wine (or vino rosado) right across Spain.
Ancient Winemaking Traditions Meet Modern Techniques
Spain’s winemaking traditions are deeply rooted in the country’s culture and history, which adds a welcome splash of authenticity to the exciting wines produced. Time-honored techniques such as manual harvesting and oak-aging have always had a huge part to play in the character, complexity, and sense of place found in Spanish wines.
And although history of course has its place, there are plenty of bold winemakers throwing out the rulebook, harnessing the power of technology to create innovative new techniques.
The result is wine that showcases both heritage and innovation in equal measure – a harmonious balance that captures the essence of terroir, while at the same time pushing boundaries to excite the palates of wine enthusiasts worldwide.
The Shortlist: My Top 10 Spanish Wines
I’ve been fortunate enough to sample wine in many far-flung corners of Spain over the years, and I’m rarely disappointed in the flavour combinations I find. But there are a few stand-out wines to shout about, so here’s a rundown of my current top 10 Spanish wines.
Riu 2008, red blend – Priorat
One of my favorite vintage wines, the 2008 Riu is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan. The 2008 blend has aged so beautifully, not in oak, but over 18 months in stainless steel. This is a fruity and juicy take on the classic Priorat wines, and worth every cent of its 32€ price tag.
Pomegrana, 100% Trepat – Lectores Vini This is a low-alcohol, fun, and fruity wine from the Trepat grape, which grows best in the Conca de Barberà DO of Catalonia, and I have to say Pomagrana makes me feel alive! This wine is fresh, with hints of blood orange citrus and a pinch of spice. Trepat has this faint liquorice or white pepper spice charter too, and we all need a bit of spice in our life! This is all-organic, minimal intervention winemaking, try it when you feel like having fun!
VINSNUS – inSTABILE Brisat, the #3 VinsNus make funky wines that have you loving each sip more, and this delightful Brisat hits all the right spots. Serve this Brisat ice cold, and it'll make you question why you haven’t been drinking more Skin Contact Wines before! This is a delicate but mineral-rich Brisat from the Priorat DOQ, which blows my mind. I love how distinct the wine is, making me think with each sip. The wine sees whole bunch pre-fermentation, it’s hand-pressed, and aged in amphora. Textured and savoury wine with herbal aromas and flavours. The InSTABILE wines are forever changing, and no two will be the same.
Josep Foraster, 100% trepat Josep Foraster is a producer very close to my heart. One of the top wine producers in the Trepat region, he’s all about innovation and quality. Simply put, Trepat shows up like a cru Gamay here, it’s always true to its terroir. Josep is the king of Trepat, and makes absolutely sensational wines. This Trepat sees 7 months in French oak, giving it finesse while maintaining its freshness. A very expressive and solid wine.
NVDE, sauvignon blanc – Thunder Wine Makers – Penedès
Wines from Barcelona were meant to be different and exciting, like this Sauvignon Blanc, made by an eclectic group called Thunder Wine Makers. 6 months of lees stirring (when the yeasts feed off the wine during fermentation) in 300-litre French oak barrels makes this one of the most irresistible Sauvignon Blancs you will ever try. It’s wild, but not linear at all. Creamy, textural, with a long finish. Expect lots of yellow apple, and beautiful acidy. Only 300 bottles produced. A firm favorite.
Vins de la Memòria – Pólvora – Xavi Nolla
Surprise surprise, another Trepat! I think this Trepat will always have a place in my top 10... it’s a wine I can drink over and over, and always enjoy. These Vins de la Memòria wines are dedicated to Xavi´s grandfather, who was part of the war effort. His memory is kept alive in this beautiful range of wines, all coming from different regions where the war took place. Trepat is the main grape of the Conca de Barberà region, and it was here that the men would rest and take shelter. Pólvera means gunpowder, and the area was heavily bombed during the war. Fermented with wild yeasts and aged for 4 months in old chestnut barrels, it boasts beautiful fresh forest berries, black pepper, and gunpowder notes.
Avinyó Reserva Cava, Brut Nature
These are 14th-generation winemakers here at Avinyo Cava, and all 4 kids still work here at the winery. Last visit, we met the dad as he went about his daily chores of collecting the fresh eggs and feeding his chickens, a really special moment! The family has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and they’re forerunners in the production of Cava today. They carry the Elabrador Integral Sticker, a new badge the members of the Cava DO can use to show they are estate grown and bottled. Their Reserva Brut Nature is a zero dosage Cava with 24 months of aging, and is a blend of Xarello, Macabeo and Parellada grape varieties. With a rich, creamy mousse, it’s really a statement Cava at the price - but I can highly recommend all the Cavas here at Avinyó.
Plana den Jan, Blanc de Noir – INSÓLIT Marru is a friend of mine, and an excellent winemaker. He vinifies 18 different wines on his property, not far from Vilafranca. His twin girls can often be found farming with him, and his wife is the talented artist behind is beautiful labels. I’m crazy about his wines, but if I had to pick one today it’s the Blanc de Noir – white wines made from red grapes. This wine is crystal clear, with bright acidity and floral notes on the nose. It takes real skill to make a wine of this quality with red grapes, especially Red Grenache.
Cellar Pardas As far as Cellar Pardas goes, eek, their wines tick all the boxes! What incredible producers! If anyone had any doubt that Xarello from the Penedès would age well, I have to tell you they were wrong. This 2010 Xarello is still brimming with life, with powerful aromas of ripe fruits, creamy notes from the aging process, and an acidity still bright as a button. Of course as Xarello does, it takes on a herby, smoky note which is one of my favorite characteristics of Xarello – especially when grown amongst wild herbs. This is a true gem of a wine, I highly recommend the spend to try it.
MontRubi, Gaintus. 2016 – 100% Sumoll Did you know that MontRubi has had the same wine maker for 38 years?! They’re the pioneers and protectors of Sumoll, one of our precious native grape varieties here in the Penedès. I don’t usually compare Spanish varieties to Italian, but Sumoll always reminds me of Nebbiolo – so what’s not to love?! Sumoll is a lighter red wine with lots of cherry flavours and aromas. It usually has earthy notes, really bright acidity, rustic tannins, and plenty of aging potential. Next time you need to buy wine for a collector, or buy a bottle to store and mature for 10 or so years, consider this one. Zero disappointments to be had.
Wine Fantasy Barcelona is a truly unique wine-tasting experience, running tasting sessions in an elegant Barcelona wine store along with vineyard visits deep in the Catalonian countryside.