As with our top 10 Italian wines, establishing a ranking of Spanish wines is a subjective notion, as we do not all have the same tastes or the same rules for establishing this hierarchy. In our case, we have chosen to share with you our ranking and our vision of the wines that represent the best of Spanish wine.

How to establish the ranking of the best Spanish wines?

As mentioned in our previous article on the best Italian wines, there are always fundamental criteria in a ranking that cannot be omitted and that often, if not always, allow certain winemakers to be at the top of the pyramid:

  • the quality itself of course (structure, balance, aromatic potential),
  • its capacity to age well (a wine ready to endure several years before being drunk will leave its mark on a tasting)
  • regularity, to produce each year a wine which, despite the hazards due to climatic conditions, will express all the potential of its terroir and which will be typical of the grape variety, of the vintage, of the appellation will have a much better recognition than its colleagues.

Without further ado, let's go and discover these wines that have left their mark on us and that constitute a quality representation of what is done in the Iberian Peninsula.

Wines of Priorat

Let's start our journey with the one who made a whole vineyard rise from the ashes, René Barbier and his Clos Mogador. The eponymous wine of the domain that made René Barbier known throughout the world, Clos Mogador is a blend of Grenache, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. A wine that needs time to express itself and as soon as it is ready, develops aromas of black fruits and a touch of spice. In the mouth the wine is dense, the tannins are velvety. Long finish with a very good aromatic persistence.

Another wine to discover in this Catalan vineyard, La Vinya del Vuit (The Vineyard of the Wells in Catalan). Born from the association of 8 friends, including René Barbier Junior who leads the way, this blend of carignan and grenache is made from old vines. After a few years of aging, this wine opens up little by little. Notes of ripe red fruits, licorice and wild herbs, it is powerful and velvety in the mouth.

Mas la Plana. If there is one estate in Spain whose work has allowed the Spanish wine industry as a whole to spread throughout the world, it is the Torres family. Mas la Plana is a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Penedes vineyard (DO), which was unanimously awarded first place in 1979 in a tasting of the world's greatest wines in Paris. A full-bodied wine with present but well-coated tannins. A balanced and very elegant wine.

In the vein of the greatest Catalan and Spanish winemakers in general, the name of Alvaro Palacios should be remembered. After a stint at Pétrus in Pomerol, Alvaro buys vines and creates his own domain, we are in 1990. 30 years later, this domain is part of the greatest in Spain, especially with its Ermita vintage. A 100% Grenache from old vines and aged in barrels for 16 months. A well-balanced wine, powerful in the mouth. Definitely a wine to age.

Rioja wine

Second and last DOC of Spain with Priorat, Rioja is a region in the north of the country and also has multiple talents in its vineyard. But if there is one name to remember, it is Vina Tondonia. Founded in 1877, the estate is one of the oldest producers in the appellation. The cuvée Gran Riserva is mainly composed of tempranillo and is completed by grenache, graciano and mazuelo. Fermentation in wooden vats for 153 years and 10 years of barrel aging make this wine exceptional. A wine of restraint, racy and elegant that requires time.

Wine from the Ribera del Duero

Probably the most famous winery in the Iberian Peninsula, Vega Sicilia is the reference of the Ribera del Duero, and its Unico vintage, a myth present on the most beautiful tables of the world. This 100% Tempranillo is aged for 15 years in barrel and then 10 in bottle before being released. Notes of black fruit, walnut and tobacco, the mouth expresses finesse and elegance of tannins. The Pingus estate and its cuvée of the same name are among those wines that should be counted on. Like the Unico de Vega Sicilia, this wine is a 100% tempranillo. Produced only in a few hundred cases and only in the best years, Pingus, whose creation dates back to 1995, is a concentrated wine, dense in the mouth but always accompanied by a minerality that gives it that important balance.

Wine of Rias Baixas

In this wine region of Galicia, in the northwest of Spain, there is one winery to remember: Raul Perez. Considered one of the greatest winemakers in the country, he produces wines of great purity. The Sketch vintage, a 100% albarino, is worth remembering. Citrus and floral notes on the nose, a wonderfully fruity palate, supported by a beautiful minerality.

Wine of Jumilla

A wine region in southeastern Spain, Jumilla is one of the oldest wine-producing regions. One of the symbols of the revival of local viticulture is without doubt the Bodega El Nido and its wine of the same name. A blend of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvèdre (called Monastrell in Spain). Aromas of blackcurrant, chocolate and tobacco on the nose, the mouth is dense, on the power.

Wine of Andalusia

In the Jerez-Manzanilla DO appellation is produced one of the most sublime vintages that can be found in the sweet wine category. Made from a white grape variety (the pedro ximenez) this dark colored wine develops notes of dried fruit, roasting and chocolate. A wine with a smooth mouth, all in lace.

Find all our articles about Spanish wines:

Which Spanish wine for which dish? gives you its ideas!
All about Spanish wines
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