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Five Spanish grape varieties to know

In partnership with ARAEX Grands

Five grapes that are making great wine in Spain right now...

In partnership with ARAEX Grands

Five Spanish grape varieties to know


Tempranillo forms the backbone of Spain’s most world-renowned red wines from Rioja and Ribero del Duero. It’s an early ripening and versatile grape, that can make young and juicy reds with strawberry notes, or structured oak-aged wines with a more leathery and savoury character.

You can find Tempranillo blended with Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano, but it also holds its own as a single varietal wine.

Depending on where you are, it may be found under other names, including Tinto Fino, Tinta del Pais, Tinta de Toro, Ull de Llebre, Cencibel — or Aragonês and Tinta Roriz in Portugal.

Promotion: A word from our sponsor ARAEX Grands

Try Hiru 3 Racimos from Luis Cañas – where they carefully cultivate the vines following an agricultural system that makes maximum use of natural resources while limiting their impact on the environment.

Concentrated and fatty in the center, it is well-balanced and sweet with fine tannin. Very long and expressive, leaving a clear impression of the character of the terroir.

Or for a blended Tempranillo, try Altos de Rioja Pigeage, an exciting “boutique” winery in the heart of the best terroir of Rioja Alavesa is passionately led by a group of experienced professionals with impeccable credentials.

It has very powerful toasty notes (cocoa and coffee) of high quality wood, perfectly blended with ripe fruit.

Recommended by ARAEX Grands.


This green-gold gold grape thrives off of the warm and wet conditions of Galicia’s Rías Baixas region, where it ripens early.

Continue up the coast and you’ll find it under the guise of Alvarinho in Portugal, where it makes single-varietal high acidity Vinho Verde wines.


Spanish grapes

Albariño grapes. Credit: Araex

Due to its thick skin and numerous pips, high volumes of berries are required to make the wines. But they are considered to be some of Spain’s most delicious dry aromatic whites, often with a zesty edge that makes them refreshing and perfect with seafood.

It can be blended with varying amounts of Loureiro, Treixadura, Torrontés and Caiño Blanco.

Promotion: A word from our sponsor ARAEX Grands

Try Pazo de Señorans, Selección Añada – who are renowned throughout the world for their outstanding quality, intense aromatic character and unique freshness.

On the palate it has a strong personality, firm and profound, indicating immense volume that feels oily and heavy. The characteristic acidity and fruit flavours of the variety are well-balanced. An aftertaste of fruit and fine toasted notes.


Recommended by ARAEX Grands.


Garnacha is a late ripening and thin skinned grape primarily grown in northern Spain. As a single-varietal, such as those made from the old vines of Priorat, it often makes light red wines, fairly high in alcohol and redolent with red fruit flavours.

In Rioja, it’s often blended with Tempranillo, as it adds body and makes the wines more approachable for early drinking.

In Navarra, Garnacha is used to make rosé wines, as it’s naturally low in tannins.

Outside of Spain, it’s blended with Syrah and Mourvèdre in France’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape region, as well as Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale in Australia.

Promotion: A word from our sponsor ARAEX Grands

Try the Garnacha from Bodegas Baigorri, where the force of gravity drives the vinification process in a winery that is as much a work of art as the wines it produces.

Similar to the way a privileged environment combines with skilled techniques to produce great wines, the surrounding landscape has been combined with a unique approach to the elaboration process to produce a stunning winery in harmony with the land.

It it balanced between its pleasant tannins and its acidity. It shows graceful, bright, fruit flavours which are smooth, leading to a long mineral aftertaste.

Recommended by ARAEX Grands.


Verdejo thrives in the high altitude vineyards and calcareous soils of Rueda in northern Spain, the first region in Castilla y Léon to gain Denominación de Origen classification back in 1980.

Verdejo typically makes aromatic white wines, with notes of citrus and melon. It’s known for its high acidity and adds body to blends with Sauvignon Blanc or Viura grapes, generally making up at least 50%.

Verdejo was historically used to be used to make sherry-like wines, as it oxidises easily. For more modern styles, many winemakers keep oxidation at bay by picking the grapes during lower nighttime temperatures.

Promotion: A word from our sponsor ARAEX Grands

Try Bodega Val de Vid Verdejo Crianza, where they use the latest technology combined with traditional vinification methods, to produce white wines of exceptional quality and a singular expression of their soil and climate.

The wine is fresh, elegant and smooth, but well structured. Tasty, aromatic and with easy entry into the mouth. Complex and persistent end with pleasantly bitter touches as is typical of this variety.


Recommended by ARAEX Grands.

Hondarrabi Zuri Zerratia

Hondarrabi Zuri Zerratia is one of the three main indigenous grapes used in the production of Txakoli wines, which are light, slightly sparkling and dry, making them similar in style to vinho verde or picpoul de pinet wines.

This white grape is predominantly used in Txakoli de Bizkaia wines, and produces pale, light-bodied, mineral wines with flavours of citrus fruit and flowers.

The grape is the same as French grape Petit Corbu, primarily found regions of  in South West France.

Promotion: A word from our sponsor ARAEX Grands

Try G22 from Gorka Izagirre, where they aim to revitalise the Basque region and boost the cultivation of local grape varieties, producing unique wines that mirrored the great potential of this magnificent viticultural area.

It is a full and dense wine. The nice fruity sensation always allows space for floral and balsamic essences on the after taste. Very complex.

Recommended by ARAEX Grands.


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