Though sometimes overshadowed by Italy and France, wines from Spain excel in both quality and quantity, and a tour of the wineries of Spain is a perfect way to get to know the countryside and its fruitful bounty. Today a world class producer of reds, whites, sherry and champagne, there are an estimated 5,500 wineries of Spain, producing 870 million gallons of wine per annum alone! With so much vino and so little time, what is a concerned taster to do? The first step to understanding the best wine tours Spain has to offer is to familiarize oneself with wines from Spain, and find out where the best wineries of Spain are located.
Ribero del Duero
This region now rivals Rioja as the most exciting of the many wine regions of Spain. It produces wine with a bold fruity flavor and is home to the Vega Sicilia—the most famous of wines from Spain and made almost entirely from French grapes, with only a small supplement of indigenous Tempranillo grapes. Located in central Spain around the Duero River, a trip through the vineyards of the Ribero del Duero is one of the most scenic wine tours Spain offers.
This is the heart of Spain wine country, and the most successful vineyards are located in the Rioja region. The area takes its name from the Rio Oja which is a tributary of the nearby Ebro River. This region, which provides some of the most extensive wine tours Spain has to offer, came to prominence during its trade with the Bordeaux area of France.
Another historic Spain wine country, the hot and dry southwestern region of Jerez is the birthplace of sherry. A much underrated wine, sherry comes in a variety of styles: from dry (known as Fino and Manzanilla) to medium types of Amontillado, and finally the ultra-rich sweet cream sherries. In short, the Jerez region is the sweetest wine tour Spain boasts.
This region has hot, humid summers and cold winters, and produces excellent Reserva and Gran Reserva wines using 100 percent Tempranillo grapes. This is one of the most affordable wine regions of Spain, and connoisseurs would do well to stock up on table wine during a tour through this region.
The Navarra region is near the Rioja, and produces traditional wine (wine that uses indigenous grapes) and more modern styles that use French grapes in tandem with Spanish grapes. Among all the wine regions of Spain, the Navarra area has seen the greatest increase in the quality of its vintage during recent years.
This Spain wine country produces excellent whites made from 100 percent Verdejo grapes. Rueda is the best white wine tour Spain offers.
Though you can tour the wineries of Spain any time of the year, autumn harvest season offers the most picturesque and hands-on wine tasting experience. So forget Bordeaux, forget Tuscany, and head south to the vineyards of Rioja and Rueda for some of the best wine tasting found in the world. And remember, as the Romans so aptly put it, In vino veritas—In wine, truth.