Wine has been made in Spain for over 3000 years. Today, Spanish wine has become one of the most sought after wine producing regions, crafting high-quality wines at bargain prices. The first grapevines were planted in Andalucía around 1100 B.C. were Sherry, the famous Spanish fortified wine, is still being produced today. In the past, most Spanish wines were light in color, offered little excitement, and where usually only consumed within the country, but since Robert Parker Jr. reviewed his first wines from Spain in 1986, the country got international attention, and it changed all wine laws, wine quality and wine making styles.
Right now, wine from Spain is experiencing the biggest boom in wine history, old regions of wine that use to make bulk wine for regional consumption are now making world-class wines, at prices that are a pennies to the dollar. The most famous wine regions in Spain: Rioja, Ribera del Duero, and Priorat, are producing wines that are taking Spanish wine to the top of the charts.
In the past 10 years, Wine regions such as Rioja, Ribera Del Duero, Toro and Priorat have transformed their wineries, to make them more tourist friendly, so going wine tasting has to be a must when visiting here. Spain also has more vineyards planted to land than any other country in the world.
Spain offers truly unique wines. The most popular grapes used are Tempranillo, Monastrell, Garnacha and Albariño. All of which originated in Spain. To drink a great Spanish wine, you do not need to spend over $25, infact you can find many amazing wines from regions like Jumilla and Campo de Borja for less than $10.
Here is a list of the "Law of Wine Quality" that you will find on a Spanish wine bottle:
Vino de Mesa: The lowest quality wine
Vino de la Tierra: Better quality but with few requirements of grape varieties, yields, site or aging
DO: These wines are of high quality that require better barrels, aging requirements, yields and vineyards.
DOC: This is the top tier of Spanish wine, only the best barrels, low yields, and designated vineyards.
Here is a list of the Aging Terms:
Joven: A wine with little or no barrel aging
Crianza: Aged a minimum of two years with one year in barrel
Reserva: Aged thee years with one year in barrel
Gran Reserva: Aged at least 5 years with two years in barrel