Great Spanish Reds for this Winter Season
A glass of Spanish red wine is the perfect pick-me-up after a cold winter day. Whether you’re looking for a bold, tannic wine or something lighter-bodied with floral notes, Spain has a red for every palate.
Here is a list of Spanish reds that can be enjoyed as-is or paired with your favorite winter meals!
Garnacha – The Spanish Syrah
Garnacha, also known as Grenache in France, is one of the most widely planted grape varieties in Spain, and is regarded as the most important variety in many regions. Garnacha is used for both single varietal and blended wines. Garnacha is known for its berry flavors of bright strawberries and raspberries and notes of black pepper. Regions known for producing excellent Garnacha-based wines include DOQ Priorat, DO Vinos de Madrid, DO Cariñena and DO Calatayud, among others. This winter season, pair a Garnacha with a classic dish like roasted vegetables, prime rib or a rack of lamb.
Tempranillo – The Spanish Sangiovese
Tempranillo is a diverse food-pairing wine with a similar tasting profile to Sangiovese or Old World-style Cabernet Sauvignon. The name “Tempranillo” translates to “little early one” because it ripens earlier than most other major red varieties, such as Garnacha or Monastrell.
Tempranillo, the reigning indigenous red variety of Spain, produces wines of medium-full body, medium-high tannins and medium acidity that express the taste and character of the terroir it grows on. While there are many Spanish regions producing excellent Tempranillo-based wines, DOCa Rioja, DO Ribera del Duero and DO Toro are the most well-known and widely available in the U.S.
Monastrell – The Spanish Cabernet Sauvignon
Known in much of the world as Mourvèdre, Monastrell is a grape of Spanish origin native to Southeastern Spain. If you love Cabernet Sauvignon, then Monastrell is a great Spanish substitute. A variety with black fruit flavors as well as rich spices, Monastrell pairs exquisitely with rich foods like beef stew to absorb the high tannin. Look for Monastrell from the regions of DO Alicante, DO Jumilla, and DO Valencia.
Mencía – The Spanish Pinot Noir
Mencía is a Spanish grape found in northwestern Spain, primarily from the regions of Galicia and Castilla y Leon and in DO Bierzo, DO Valdeorras, and DO Ribeira Sacra. If you enjoy Cabernet Franc or Pinot Noir, then Mencía is the Spanish variety for you; a medium-bodied red wine grape that produces high quality wines with floral and red fruit flavors.
Bobal – The Spanish Zinfandel
For decades, Bobal served primarily as a blending variety for large production wines produced by cooperatives, either for local consumption or for the export market. However, in recent years a handful of winemakers have made an effort to rediscover and elevate this indigenous grape.
Bobal is mainly produced in DO Utiel-Requena and DO Manchuela, located in the Meseta region. Small producers have resurrected old Bobal vineyards and made wines that are both distinctive and delicious. Throughout the region of Manchuela, old vineyards grow resolutely in sandy limestone soils, recognizable by their thick gnarled vines, trained for decades into free-standing goblet shapes.