Spanish Wine Regions – D.O. Denominación de Origen

Denominación de Origen

Spain has many “DO’s” or Denominaciones de Origen or Wine Appellations. It has 2 “qualified” DO’s, which means regions whose quality standards are a bit higher than the rest.  Those are DOC Rioja and DOQ Priorat. DOC stands for Denominación de Origen Calificada or Qualified Appellation of Origin.  DOQ is the same but derives from the Catalan language, and uses Qualificada instead.

 

The most important DO’s for someone starting out in Spanish Wine are:

Red Wines

DOC Rioja – Old and traditional one on hand, and modernistic on the other.  Suave reds based mainly on Tempranillo but also Graciano and Garnacha blends.  Heavy use of oak for long ageing, which is a signature Rioja style.

DO Ribera del Duero – More modern, full-bodied and slightly more rustic wines than Rioja, though the regions are close in proximity.  Ribera wines are mostly all Tempranillo, darker and purpler, able to appreciate with age.

DO Toro – near Ribera del Duero, similar landscape, similar grapes, but Toro claims its own clone of Tempranillo the Tinta de Toro variety.  Toro reds are chewy, inky reds, massive with oak, or unoaked, with a signature spicy Toro note. Home of very old vines, some of the oldest in Spain.

DOQ Priorat – Old wine making region and yet a modern resurfacing in this tiny, mountainous region near Barcelona.  Terraced hillsides of slate are common with very old vines of Garnacha and Cariñena, typically blended with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  Massive, inky wines of distinct character and reputation.

DO Jumilla, DO Yecla – an area further South, on the Mediterranean coast and also home of the Monastrell, or aka in French Mourvèdre.  The variety thrives in this hot, arrid climate, most often in bunch vines.  Monastrell wines are distinctive, often young, with a spicy, peppery character and affordable price.

DO Bierzo – in the NW corner of “Green Spain”, the cool climate is optimum for the native grape Mencía, which shares some characteristics with Cabernet Franc.  Not as common, but worthwile seeking out.

 

White Wines

DO Rias Baixas – in NW Green Spain as well, on the Coast where seafood is common comes the Albariño grape. Albariños are usually unoaked, fresh, lemony white wines that are perfect with seafood or for quaffing on a summer’s day.  Truly a Spanish great.

DO Rueda – towards the Ribera del Duero complex, Rueda is hilly and rocky, and predominantly produces native Verdejo grapes.  Some Sauvignon Blanc is used here as a natural compliment to Verdejo.  Verdejo is a bit wilder, often with a bitter end, grapefruit, peach, exotic fruits, truly one of the finest Spanish whites.

DO Rioja – though produced in many regions, wines based on the Viura are well expressed in Rioja.  Oaked or unoaked, they are fresh and maybe somewhat similar to younger Chardonnay.

DO Valdeorras – In NW Spain and home to a the suave white, Godello.  Wines made from Godello are found in increasing quantity outside of Spain.  It is worth seeking out.

DO Cava – Cava is the Spanish term for sparkling wine.  It is produced in the Traditional Method, such as in Champagne, where the wine ferments in the bottle, until it is ready to be corked.  Cava is usually a blend of 3 grapes: Viura (aka Macabeo), Parellada, and Xarel.lo.  It may be a bit more rustic than Champagne perhaps, but it can be a compelling sparkling quaffer.  Another note about the DO Cava is that is not just in one area in Spain.  Multiple regions produce Cava, so as long as they adher to the Regulating Body for Cava’s recommendations, they can call Cava from multiple regions “Cava”.  The name Cava derived from the “caves” where the sparkling wine was laboriously created and stored until it was ready to be drunk.  Note also that it is “el Cava” in Spanish.

Generosos – There is of course Sherry wines or “generosos”, coming from a few DO’s in the far South of Spain, most notably DO Jerez-Xérès-Sherry.  The vast range of types of Sherry wines and their different production methods make them a subject all their own.  We will cover them more separately.

 

Here is a full list of Spanish wine D.O.’s with links, if available, to their websites.

DO Abona

none

DO Alella
www.doalella.com

DO Alicante
www.crdo-alicante.org

DO Almansa
www.jccm.es/agricul/paginas/comercial-industrial/consejosreguladores/vinoalmvinos.htm

DO Arabako Txakolina
none

DO Bierzo
www.crdobierzo.es

DO Binissalem Mallorca
www.binissalemdo.com

DO Bizkaiko Txakolina
www.bizkaikotxakolina.org

DO Bullas
www.bullas.es/vino/consejoregulador.htm
www.vinosdebullas.es

DO Calatayud
www.docalatayud.com/#

DO Campo de Borja
www.campodeborja.com

DO Cariñena
www.docarinena.com

DO Catalunya
www.do-catalunya.com/esp/do_varietats.htm

DO Cava
www.crcava.es

DO Cigales
www.do-cigales.es

DO Conca de Barberà
www.doconcadebarbera.com

DO Condado de Huelva
none

DO Costers del Segre
www.costersdelsegre.es

DO El Hierro
www.elhierro.tv/crdo

DO Empordà-Costa Brava
none

DO Getariako-Txakolina
www.getariakotxakolina.com

DO Gran Canaria
none

DO Jerez-Xérès-Sherry-Manzanilla de Sanlúcar de Barrameda
www.sherry.org/en/portada.cfm?CFID=39823&CFTOKEN=76615148

DO Jumilla
www.vinosdejumilla.org

DO La Gomera
none

DO La Mancha
www.lamanchado.es

DO La Palma
www.malvasiadelapalma.com

DO Lanzarote
www.dolanzarote.com

DO Málaga-Sierras de Málaga
www.vinomalaga.com

DO Manchuela
www.do-manchuela.com

DO Méntrida
www.domentrida.es

DO Mondéjar
www.jccm.es/agricul/paginas/comercial-industrial/consejosreguladores/vinomon.htm

DO Monterrei
www.domonterrei.com

DO Montilla-Moriles
www.montilla-moriles.org

DO Montsant
www.domontsant.com

DO Navarra
www.vinonavarra.com

DO Penedès
www.dopenedes.es

DO Pla de Bages
www.dopladebages.com

DO Pla i Llevant
www.plaillevantmallorca.es

DOQ Priorat
www.doqpriorat.org/esp/index.php

DO Rías Baixas
www.doriasbaixas.com

DO Ribeira Sacra
www.ribeirasacra.org

DO Ribeiro
www.ribeiro.es

DO Ribera del Duero
www.riberadelduero.es

DO Ribera del Guadiana
www.riberadelguadiana.org

DO Ribera del Júcar
www.vinosriberadeljucar.com

DOC Rioja
www.riojawine.com

DO Rueda
www.dorueda.com/es/index.php

DO Somontano
www.dosomontano.com

DO Tacoronte-Acentejo
www.tacovin.com

DO Tarragona
none

DO Terra Alta
www.doterraalta.com/es/Zona/cellers.php

DO Toro
www.dotoro.es/es/index.php

DO Uclés
www.vinosdeucles.com

DO Utiel-Requena
www.utielrequena.org

DO Valdeorras
www.dovaldeorras.com

DO Valdepeñas
www.dovaldepenas.es

DO Valencia
www.vinovalencia.org

DO Valle de Güimar
www.vinosvalleguimar.com

DO Valle de la Orotava
www.dovalleorotava.com

DO Vinos de Madrid
www.vinosdemadrid.es/web

DO Ycoden-Daute-Isora
www.ycoden.com

DO Yecla
www.yeclavino.com