Spanish Red Wine: A Guide

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The consumption of Spanish red wine has increased significantly among wine lovers due to its numerous health benefits. There have been many studies and research projects meant to understand the health benefits of drinking Spanish red wine.

According to wine experts, Spanish red wine should be consumed moderately to see its health benefits. Taking too much of it can affect your body’s health. Spanish red wine is rich in antioxidants like catechin, resveratrol, proanthocyanidins, and epicatechin, which all help the body stay healthy.

This wine also plays a significant role in lowering bad cholesterol, regulating blood sugar, maintaining a healthy heart, keeping memory sharp, reducing cancer risk improving digestion, and reducing depression risk.

Since it contains some levels of alcohol, excessive consumption can result in excessive weight gain, obesity, and liver cirrhosis. For men, 1 to 2 glasses per day are okay, whereas, for women, 1 to 1.5 glasses per day will do well.

Some people will use Spanish red wine for preparing meals instead of drinking directly. This way, you’ll also reap similar benefits to direct consumption. Wine enthusiasts do everything to ensure they get the best out of this wine. Today, people choose the different Spanish red wines depending on the label, age, price, grape, and origin.

History of Spanish red Wine

Spain is among the top countries with a rich history in wine production. During the late 20th century, some Spanish investors saw a great and potential investment option that would help them get more revenue.

The combined efforts of these investors made it easier to progress until it became a leading red wine producer across the globe. The mass production of Spanish red wine has primarily been favored by the diverse climatic conditions in most areas and the great geographical locations of vineyards across Spain.

According to history, Spanish red wine is believed to have originated around 1100 BC. This was when the Phoenicians brought the first-ever vines into the country. There are also some who believe that grape cultivation in Spain had started earlier at, around 3,000 BC. This was back way before the Phoenicians began the culture of growing wine.

Immediately after the Phoenicians started the wine-growing culture in Spain, the Carthaginians followed suit. This new group came up with innovative solutions for vine cultivation to improve wine production. The last group to venture into vine cultivation was the Romans.

When the Romans took control of Hispania after the war series, there was an increase in exports of Spanish wine in the entire Roman empire. At this time, the most significant wine production areas were Baetica and Terraconensis.

Immediately the Roman empire started declining; there was a mass invasion of vine plantations in Spain that saw a decline in production and winemaking in general. However, there are few scanty details and evidence on what transpired next within the invasion period.

It was also during this period when the Moors conquered the region and continued to produce Spanish red wines even though their Islamic dietary laws didn’t allow the intake of alcoholic beverages.

Over time, these Islamic dietary laws became strict after more people started taking wine. The strictness then started lowering red wine production in the largest producing regions. Agriculture still continued to grow even with less wine production.

After around 700 years, the Aragon and Castile military forces joined hands and fought hard until they drove the Moors away in the late 1400s. The military forces were under a powerful king called Ferdinand.

Immediately the Moors were driven away from Granada, Spain, wine-growing culture was revived. At the time, Bilbao was the largest red wine trading port. Other markets also opened up at the time, especially in England cities like London, Bristol, and Southampton.

After colonization, most Spanish conquistadors and missionaries started growing grape vines in areas they acquired. During the 17th century, Spanish red wines started gaining a lot of popularity. The fame of this wine got a turning point in the late 19th century after scientists and other researchers got interested in Spanish red wine production. It’s also at this point that the Cava industry located in Catalonia was developed to increase Spanish red wine production and distribution across the world.

What Makes Spanish Red Wines Unique?

Spain is still a dominant red wine production region globally for many reasons, including mountain ranges, a warm climate, and the best lands for grape vine cultivation. Below are some top reasons Spanish red wines stand apart from other wine regions:

1. Diversity

One of the top reasons Spanish red wines are much different from other regions is diversity. Spain is diverse in all aspects involved in producing red wine, starting from grape varieties, weather conditions, soil types, production techniques, among others.

Spain has a great climate that favors the mass production of Spanish red wine as well as other types of wines. The different regions across Spain where grape vines are cultivated have varied levels of warmth which is ideal for different vines.

In terms of soil types, Spain has slate and granite soils that favor grape vines’ proper growth. These soil types can be found in different regions like Priorat in Catalonia. Again, the increased presence of traversing rivers in most regions in Spain makes alluvial and clay soils present. These soils can retain water for prolonged periods, thus improving grape vine cultivation.

2. A variety of grapes

Generally, there are many grape varieties in Spain that make red wine stand apart from other wine regions.

According to statistics, at least 45% of grape vineyards in Spain hold the white Airen and red Tempranillo grape types. This is a clear indication that there’s a favorable environment in the country that makes cultivation easier.

Today, a lot of research is being done to continue improving grape varieties that produce Spanish red wines. Both small-scale and large-scale grape producers are working tirelessly to ensure they maintain dominant grape varieties to maintain the quality of red wine produced and keep their ever-growing market.

Recently, grape producers in Spain have discovered a great red grape variety that ripens earlier than other varieties that were long used in making quality red wine. If you walk through most vineyards today, you’ll see the variety in small quantities, although its growth has been projected to rise in the near future.

3. Mountains

Spain is ranked among the top nations in Europe with multiple mountains. These mountainous regions help a lot when it comes to grape vine cultivation.

First, they assist in holding back strong winds that can destroy the grapevines. Secondly, they offer great passageways, which play a significant role when it comes to growing grapes. Lastly, they assist the grapevines to get excellent sun exposure for proper growth since drainage won’t be an issue of concern.

Vines that are grown on mountains also have higher chances of avoiding frosts. Among the most outstanding wine producing regions in Spain where you’ll find great wine landscapes include Gredos, Ribeira Sacra, Axarquia, and Priorat.

There are many other hillside vineyards like Bierzo, Monte Yerga, Calatayud, among others. The main benefit of this elevation is that it helps balance day-night temperature levels and also brings a refreshing effect to grape vineyards.

4. Presence of numerous organic vineyards

According to research, Spain holds the title of being the nation with the most significant number of organic vineyards. Statistics show that these organic vineyards, which are certified by the regulating body, cover an area of approximately 114,000 hectares. This area has been projected to rise significantly due to the rising number of growers seeking organic certification.

Notable Spanish Red Wines to try

There are many different types of Spanish red wines that you can get in the market today as follows:

Aged Tempranillo

As the name suggests, it’s a Spanish red wine that has stayed in oak and bottle for some time. This wine is stored for some years to ensure it softens its flavors and spiciness. This aging process explains its relatively higher cost. Typically, an aged Tempranillo wine is priced between $25-$35.

Young Garnacha

It’s an excellent Spanish red wine that most wine enthusiasts will consider due to its sweetness and finish resembling smooth iced tea. You can get the Young Garnacha for between $12-$18.

Young Tempranillo

This is among the most common Spanish red wines that you’ll get in your local liquor store. The Young Tempranillo doesn’t have complex flavors, unlike other wine types. This Spanish red wine costs between $10-$20.


This is another special red wine mainly produced in Spanish central regions. The Monastrell comes with high levels of chocolate, tannin, black pepper flavors, and black plum. The wine costs between $10-$18.

High-end Garnacha

The high-end Garnacha wines originate from old vines and usually have longer aging. This Spanish red wine has high dark raspberry and tannin contents, unlike other wines. This wine is priced between $25-$35.

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