Spanish Wine Regions
DO Rias Baixas -REE-ahs BUY-shus-
A cool sub-tropical climate and ample rainfall, due to the Galician region's proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, provide a lush green landscape and ideal growing conditions for Spain's premier white grape variety, Albarino.
Castilla y Leon -cahs-TEE-yah ee lay-OHN-
A large region encompassing the historical center of Castilian Spain and much of the northwestern part of the country, Castilla y Leon's winemaking regions are mostly concentrated in its southern portion throughout the Duero River Valley: DO's Ribera del Duero, Toro, Cigales & Rueda. There, a continental climate with cool temperatures combines with high elevations to preserve acidity and concentrate flavors in its wines.
DOC Rioja -ree-OH-hah-
The first DO to receive DOC status, renowned Rioja is divided into three winemaking areas: Alta, Alavesa, and Baja. While Rioja Alta and Rioja Alavesa receive more Atlantic influence and are better known for producing Tempranillo-based wines, in the east Rioja Baja focuses on both Garnacha and Tempranillo in a more Mediterranean climate. Limestone soils are present throughout the region, with chalk predominant at Alavesa's high elevations, and Alta & Baja vineyards planted to the south of the Ebro River in limestone-clay interspersed with alluvial soil.
DO Navarra -nah-VAHR-ah-
Reputedly the birthplace of Garnacha, Navarra, in the north of Spain, has long been known for its juicy Rose wines, but its reputation for quality red wines continues to rise. While Tempranillo has now replaced some of the older Garnacha plantings, the remaining old vineyards of Garnacha are revered as sources of some of the finest Garnacha wine made in Spain. The region also maintains its tradition of growing the French varietals Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Vineyards are grown in calcareous soil in the southern part of the region, around the Ebro River.
DOQ Priorat -PREE-ohr-aht-
The steep hillsides in the mountainous region of Priorat are comprised of grey-blue slate stone, called llicorella -LEE-cohr-AY-yah- in the local Catalan. The resulting sparse and compact vines with extremely low yields make deep-colored, highly-concentrated, intense wines, which are traditionally a blend of old-vine Cariñena and Garnacha.
DO Alicante -AH-lee-CAHN-tay-
Vineyards in Alicante are spread between sandy coastal soil near the sea and elevated limestone-rich soils more inland. The heat of the Mediterranean climate permeates the entire region, and vines tend to be trained low to reduce the heat on the grapes, mainly of the Monastrell variety. Extreme diurnal temperature swings lead to optimum maturation and allow for elegant balance.
Garnacha -gahr-NAH-chah- also known as Garnacha Tinta, Aragon (Grenache)
Tempranillo -tem-prah-NEE-oh- also known as Tinto fino, Tinto del Pais, Tinto de Toro, Cencibel, Ull de llebre
Carinena or Mazuelo -cahr-een-YEY-nah- -mahz-WAY-loh- also known as Mazuelo Tinto (Carignan)
Monastrell -mohn-ah-STREL- (Mourvedre)
Viura or Macabeo -vee-UHR-ah- -mahk-ah-VAY-oh- White
DO = Denominacion de Origen: Vineyard location, varietal composition and production methods strictly regulated to ensure quality.
DOC or DOQ = Denominacion de Origen Calificada or Qualificada: Spain's top wine classification,only awarded to Rioja and Priorat.