Spanish Wine Regions and DO I
One of the greater qualities of Spanish wine is all the different varieties you can find, thanks to the numerous Spanish wine regions, climates and types of grapes. Spanish wines have a classification system based on the "Denominación de Origen" (DO, designation of origin), which determines where the wine was produced.
Undoubtedly, the better known region is La Rioja, especially for its red wine, but there are many other Spanish wine regions that produce high quality wines, like Ribera del Duero in the north of Spain, or Jumilla in the south of Spain. Although the best know type of Spanish wine is red wine, Spain also produces very high quality white wines, especially in Galicia. Jerez (sherry) is another type of Spanish wine which is produced in the south, near Jerez in Andalusia.
Denominaciones de Origen (Designation of Origin) of Spanish wines by Autonomous Communities
There are over 70 designations of origin to classify all the types of Spanish wines. The purpose of this is to unify all the wines from one part of Spain, that typically have common characteristics due to being produced under the similar weather and the types of water and soil. This makes it easier for customers to know what wine they're buying, and it also provides a guide of some sort to identify all the different Spanish wines.
Andalusia composes most of the south of Spain, and it's the heart of many renowned Spanish traditions. The most important designation of origin in Andalusia is the Jerez DO, under which the famous andalusian sherry is produced. There are several other designations of origin in Andalusia that produce good wines, such as DO Malaga in Malaga, but they are less known.
Aragon lies in the northeast of Spain, its northern frontier touching the Pyrenees. From the verdant valleys surrounding the Ebro to the rocky terrains and permanent glaciers near the Pyrenees, Aragon's variety of climates produces very different wines. There are 4 main designations of origin in Aragon: DO Somontano, DO Calatayud, DO Campo de Borja and DO Cariñena, with DO Somontano being the most popular.
The Balearic Islands are an archipelago in the Mediterranean, close to the northeast Spanish coast. The warm climate helps the growth of the grapes, and their wines are separated in two different designations of origin: DO Binissalem - Mallorca and DO Plá i Llevant.
In the north of Spain, bathed by the Cantabric Sea and resting at the foot of the Pyrenees, is the Basque Country. This small Spanish wine region produces the famous chacolí (txakolí in basque), a white wine made with unripe grapes that has three different designations of origin: DO Chacolí de Álava, DO Chacolí de Bizkaia and DO Chacolí de Getaria. The red wine produced in the part of the Basque Country closest to La Rioja also has its own designation of origin, DO Rioja Alavesa, which is part of the DO Rioja, one of the most important designation of origin in Spain.
The Canary Islands, with its capital island Tenerife, are a grouping of volcanic islands in the northwest of Africa that has been a crossroads for travelers going to and from America, Europe and Africa for centuries. Vines weren't introduced in the Canaries until the XV century, but in spite of this, there are eight different designations of origin to house all of the wines produced in the Canary Islands, like DO Abona, DO El Hierro, or DO Lanzarote, to name a few.
Castile-La Mancha, found in the middle/southeast of Spain, is known all around the world for being the setting for the famous novel Don Quixote, written by Miguel de Cervantes. It is also home of the largest vineyard in the world and Spanish wine region, approximately 8% of the world's wine production takes place here. Geographically, Castile-La Mancha is placed on top a plateau, so most of its territory is composed mainly of arid expanses that have little vegetation, with some fields of orchards, vineyards and windmills. Castile-La Mancha houses some of the best Spanish wines, and has 14 different designations of origin. Some of them are DO Jumilla, DO La Mancha, DO Ribera del Júcar or DO Manchuela.
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