The selection of the type of grape with which a wine is made is the main differentiating factor of the same, giving it personality and authenticity .
The peculiarities of the grape variety or varieties that become part of the wine production process will qualify its maturation and give it its own identity .
The Culture of Wine in Spain is a traditional value and an opportunity for weighting and socio-economic development of great importance.
Spain is the country with the largest number of vineyards in the world , the fourth most productive after Italy and France in kinds of grapes for wines and the second after China in table varieties .
176 grape varieties are cultivated in Spain , among the different types for winemaking , fresh consumption or the production of musts .
The most widely planted Spanish grape varieties are Airén , Bobal , Garnacha , Tempranillo , Macabeo and Monastrel .
What types of grapes exist in Spain?
There are more than 10,000 varieties of grapes recognized in the world and there are a few of the most relevant when it comes to making quality wines. The vines destined for the production of wine grapes account for 70% of the farms .
The rest of the vine varieties are table grapes for 20% and the remaining 10% from grapes.
Some kinds of grapes are versatile, such as muscat, being used both as wine grape , as for fresh consumption or grape raisin .
According to the Spanish Observatory of the Wine Market ” OeMV ” and based on the “Vineyard Survey” of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, for the year 2019, Spain has a productive vineyard area of 952,829 hectares.
Spain is one of the main grape producing countries worldwide and the second international exporter of wines.
The different varieties of wines that are produced in the Spanish territory define the country’s oenological tradition and the excellent quality of the vineyards that dot the national landscape.
The types of grapes in Spain define the rich stock of wines available to the main wineries in the country.
Spain is a world benchmark in the quality of vines and in knowing how to squeeze the most personal essence from each variety of grape for the production of the best wines .
Next, we indicate which are the main grape varieties in Spain and their characteristics , differentiating between red , white and table grapes .
The best Spanish white wines are made with the following grapes:
- Albariño : native to Galicia, a sweet grape that produces high quality wines. Basic in the DO Rías Baixas.
- Airén : native to La Mancha, the most cultivated grape in Spain. Main in the DO Vinos de Madrid.
- Chardonnay : originally from Burgundy, a high quality grape, it produces aromatic wines. Basic in cavas.
- Gewürztraminer : comes from Germany and Alsace, gives dry and aromatic wines. Catalan and Aragonese vineyards.
- Godello : native to Galicia, a very aromatic grape that provides acidity. Basic in DO Valdeorras and Bierzo.
- Macabeo or Viura : widely used in La Rioja, grape with aromas of green fruits. Basic in aging and cavas.
- Malvasía or Subirat : it comes from Greece, a very aromatic and personal grape. Basic in Malvasía and DO Calatayud wines.
- Moscatel : very widespread in Spain, basic grape for muscat wines, sweet and aromatic wines.
- Palomino or Listán : basic grape for the elaboration of the fortified wines of Jerez, fine type amontillado, etc.
- Pedro Ximénez : grape with a scent of raisins, used to make sweet wines. Basic in DO Montilla-Moriles.
- Parellada : very typical in Catalonia, late maturing grape. Basic in young whites and cavas.
- Riesling : originally from France and Germany, grape with a fruity and floral aroma. Typical in Huesca and Catalonia.
- Sauvignon : native to France. Grape that produces elegant and dry wines. Typical in Castilla y León and Catalonia.
- Verdejo : grape that produces very aromatic wines with golden and green colors. Basic of DO Rueda.
- Xareló : native to Catalonia, grape with fruit aromas. Basic, along with parellada and macabeo, in Cavas.
The main grape varieties in Spain that produce the best wines in the country are:
- Alicante or Garnacha Tintorera : native to Aragon, it is a grape with colored pulp and low acidity. Basic in DO Almansa.
- Bobal : originally from the Spanish Levante, it is a grape used in the production of young and rosé wines.
- Cabernet Franc : originally from Bordeaux, it produces very smooth wines. Its cultivation abounds in Galicia and Castilla.
- Cabernet Sauvignon : originally from the French Médoc, a grape widely used in Catalonia, Navarra and the Ribera del Duero.
- Garnacha : of autochthonous origin, grape with fruity aroma and high alcohol content. Used in many DO
- Graciano : grown mainly in La Rioja and Navarra, this variety produces highly valued wines.
- Maturana : native to La Rioja, a grape that produces musts with low acidity and high sugar content.
- Mazuelo or Cariñena : widely used in La Rioja, Aragon and Catalonia, it is a suitable grape for aging wines.
- Mencía : typical of León and Galicia, produces high quality wines. Basic in DO Valdeorras and Bierzo.
- Merlot : originally from Bordeaux, it gives aromatic wines. Typical in the Ribera del Duero, Catalonia and Navarra.
- Monastrell : widely used in the Spanish Levante, it is a grape that provides a sweet flavor to crianza wines.
- Pinot Noir : typical of the Burgundy region, grape that produces fruity and sweet wines. Basic in cavas.
- Prieto Picudo : originally from Zamora and León, the ideal grape for making sparkling wines. Basic in DO del Bierzo.
- Syrah : from France, it is a grape that produces wines with body and a floral aroma of red fruits.
- Tempranillo : native to La Rioja, a high quality grape that produces a balanced and aromatic must.
The different table grape varieties in Spain are one of the main fruits at the national productive level. We have several types according to the variety of white, red and pink and black :
- Moscatel de Málaga : with large clusters, sweet and crunchy grape.
- Italy : typical of the Spanish Levante, it is a large and very sweet grape.
- Seedless, imperial and superior : three varieties that lack seeds, sweet and juicy grape.
- Aledo : typical of Alicante, grape in large bunches of late maturation.
Red and pink
- Flame seedless : seedless and early maturing variety, sweet and reddish grape.
- Red globe : grape in generous clusters, very large and crunchy.
- Cardinal : it is an early ripening grape, with a purplish red color, juicy and aromatic.
- Alphonse lavallée: comes from France, late maturing, large grape and fleshy pulp.
- Black seedless: variety without seeds and dark in color.
- Royal queen: purple grape, very juicy and with firm pulp.
How many types of grapes are suitable for making wine?
There are two types of grapes suitable for making wine , white grapes and red grapes . Within each of these typologies there are numerous varieties suitable for wine production.
What is the sweetest grape variety?
The sweetest grape variety is merlot . It is a red grape that provides a more fruity flavor to the wine.
We could also highlight the Muscat grape variety as one of the sweetest. In Spain it produces sweet and highly flavored wines .
What is the best type of grape to make wine?
The best type of grapes to make wine is the ink , although white also produces excellent wines .
The best type of grape and the best variety are subject to the fashions of each moment, since tastes vary and day by day the wine becomes more personal .
Grape varieties, of some colors and for all tastes.
If we want to learn to value a wine, it is necessary to have certain knowledge about the grape varieties that go into making it.
In Spain we enjoy a very rich and diverse oenological tradition . Our territory is dotted with vineyards throughout its geography and from the most prestigious winery to the most modest and innovative producers, wine is part of our identity and culture .
We hope that these notions help you understand a little more about a raw material as noble as the grape and its product par excellence, wine .