Spain is ideal country for wine growing, but part of the reason for this is that Spain is less densely planted than many other wine producing countries. Rias Baixas, located on Span's northwest coast, is the region that produces Spain's most famous white wine: Albarino. Good Albarino is crisp and lemony with a streak of minerality. It is an ideal foil for seafood of all types. Bierzo, just east of Ribeira is home to the Mencia grape. Mencia has gained significantly in quality and reputation in the last decade with the help of some new winemakers and modern winemaking technology. In Castilla y Leon, wine lovers find Tempranillo featured in the red wine regions of Toro, Ribera del Duero and Rioja as well as some quality whites in Rueda. Further east still, we find Grenache featured in Navarra, Carinena, Calatyud and many of the coastal regions of Catalunya. The middle of Spain is mostly Grenache country and we find that eastern regions near the coast often feature blends. Monastrell finds great success in Jumilla, Bulas and other regions here. Finally, in the south we find Jerez, home of one of the most famous fortified wines in the world, sherry.
Ribera del Duero is located in North Central Spain on the Duero river. It features Tempranillo, often referred to as Tinto Fino or Tinto de Pais here. There are varied soils in Ribera that can challenge viticulturalists, and it is not rare to find even top producers with long-term contracts with growers from other regions. Even so, Ribera arguably produces some of the finest Tempranillo based wines in Spain, many of which are capable of aging for decades.
Northeast of Ribera del Duero on the river Ebro lies Rioja. Rioja is divided into three subregions: Rioja Alta in the west, Rioja Alavesa (the part of Rioja in the Alava region) and Rioja Baja in the hotter, eastern section. Rioja began to gain a reputation with Bordeaux growers after Bordeaux was ravaged by phylloxera in the late nineteenth century. Indeed, Bordeaux producers spurred change in Rioja by introducing the idea of aging wines in small oak barrels. The wines that resulted were superior than the fruity, homespun wines available before. For many years Rioja was aged in American oak barrels and much Rioja still is, though new schools are aging wine in French barrels instead. Though the result has been less ‘traditional' Rioja, the wines are often higher in quality.
Priorat is a tiny Spanish wine region that has garnered high acclaim in the last twenty years or so. Even today, the vineyards of Priorat are planted mostly with Carinena (Carignan), but that is changing. The top Priorat are usually blends with a backbone of old vine Grenache blended with international varietals like Cabernet, Syrah, and Merlot.
"92 Points- Wine Advocate. The entry level 2008 Mauro is composed of Tempranillo and. It is a full bodied, rich, racy offering with layered fruit, a vibrant acid structure, and savory black fruit flavors. On the palate all components are nicely integrated coming together in a long, pure finish. It will evolve for 2 to 3 years and drink nicely through 2023."
"Very fresh and floral in style with notes of fresh fruits and pineapple followed by hints of aromatic herbs and sweet spices. Nice acidity and structure make for a very pleasant and crisp wine to drink."
"A slightly prickly nose that offers hints of green herbs and cactus sets up the citrusy palate, brimming with grapefruit, orange and green-herb flavors. The finish is shear and citrusy, with cleansing acidity."
"Delicate toasted, spicy fragrance, with hints of liquorice, red fruit and wild berries, and balsamic and mineral nuances coming through. Delicate, subtle and elegant in its attack, full and supple on the palate, with polished tannins, body and smooth creaminess."
"Pale yellow with greenish glints. The nose surprises you with an attractive explosion of exotic aromas, wild herbs and dill. On the palate, a perfect balance of acidity and alcohol, with a fresh, long finish."