Regarding grape types, Spain is said to have maybe the most amazing array of varieties in the world.
Besides Tempranillo, being the most popularly known Spanish red one, there are also grapes that we commonly think they’re French, but they have Spanish roots. Mourvedre for instance, which is highly used in France, is actually called Monastrell and it is a grape originated from the region of Valencia.
Here are three of the most known Spanish red grapes:
The best known quality red wine grape in Spain, Tempranillo refers as name to the early time the grape has been traditionally harvested – temprano meaning early in Spanish. Tempranillo is also known as Tinto Fino in Ribera del Duero, Cencibel in La Mancha and Ull de Llebre in Catalonia but its home is however La Rioja. Tempranillo produces fresh and fruit young red wines but it shows its best when oak aged.
One of the world’s oldest and most widely planted wine grapes, Garnacha’s main production area is located in eastern Spain (the original birthplace of the grape), southern France (where it is known as Grenache) and Italy. In Spain, it is found in the Northeast area, La Rioja, Navarra, Aragón and Catalonia. In Rioja it is normally blended with Tempranillo while in Navarra, Garnacha is used to make rosé wines, as it’s naturally low in tannins. This grape can produce fruity wines, with raspberry aromas.
Grown in several parts of Spain and in France, it is said to have been brought by Phoenicians in the region of Valencia and it first became established in Catalonia where it took on the names Mourvèdre – after Muviedro, the Moorish name for the city of Sagunto, near Valencia, or Mataró after Mataró in Catalonia, where the grape was grown by monasteries, leading to the name Monastrell from the Latin monasteriellu. Today, Monastrell is the 5th most popular varietal in Spain in terms of acreage planted. Below is the story of the grape in full details:
There are many more red wine grape varieties about which we will talk in a future post: Bobal in Valencia, Manto Negro from the Balearic islands, Negramoll and Listán Negro from the Canary Islands, Prieto Picudo from León, Brancellao and Caíño from Galicia. Also, in Galicia, Alicante, and Albacete, we can find the interesting grape variety called Garnacha Tintorera, the only variety of red grape whose pulp is also purple.
Cover image designed by kstudio/Freepik