Spanish Grape Varieties

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Aa

Airén White. This is Spain’s most common grape. Large, tightly packed bunches produce wines with a characteristic bouquet and alcohol content between 12-14%. It can be found, among other regions, in Ciudad Real, Toledo, Cuenca, Albacete, Murcia, and Madrid. It is considered the main variety of the DO Vinos de Madrid.

Albán White. See Palomino.

Alarije White. Found in a large number of growing areas in Extremadura. It is one of the most common grapes in the area around Cañamero.

Albarello White. The only record of this grape is in Ribera del Ulla and even there it is found in small quantities. It produces very aromatic, personal wines. It is quite different from Albariño, despite the similarity in their names.

Albariño White. Native to Galicia. With small, very sweet glyceric berries which produce high quality wines. It is the basic grape of the DO Rías Baixas. There has been a dramatic increase in the cultivation of this grape over the last few years.

Albillo White. It is relatively neutral with an interesting glycerol level that gives certain smoothness to the wines in which it is used. It can be mainly found in Madrid, Avila and also in Galicia. It is an unauthorized DO Ribeiro variety and a major variety in the DO Vinos de Madrid.

Alcañon White. Native to the Somontano region. It produces very light white wines with a very distinctive bouquet.

Alcayata Black. See Monastrell.

Alicante Black. See Garnacha Tintorera.

Alicante Bouché Black. A prolific hybrid created by Frenchman Louis Bouschet de Bernard and his son Henri. The variety was developed by crossing Grenache and Petit Bouschet. The wines produced from the fleshy, intensely coloured grapes are unspectacular and the vines are mainly cultivated to add colour to other less vivid varieties.

Aragón Black. This is the name given to the Garnacha Tinta grape in certain areas of Castile y León. Lladoner and Tinto Aragonés are alternative names.

Aragonés Black. See Aragón.

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Bb

Blanquirroja White. See Subirat Parent.

Bobal Black. It gives a very rich colour. Although it is a hotly disputed variety, it does yield good rosé wines. Found mainly in Valencia, Cuenca and Albacete.

Borba White. Often found in the wine-growing areas of Extremadura. It is quite prolific, but it does not offer high quality.

Brancellao Black. Native to Galicia. It is an unauthorized variety of the DO Rías Baixas, although it is very rare and in danger of extinction, but can produce good quality wine. Also known as Brancelho in Portugal.

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Cc

Cabernet Franc Black. Originated in Bordeaux like the Cabernet Sauvignon, but yields softer wines. It is likely that this variety is related to Mencía, which is plentiful in some areas of Galicia and Castile y León.

Cabernet Sauvignon Black. Originally from the French Médoc, it is now found on every continent. It is currently the fashionable variety and has taken hold principally in Catalunya, Navarra and Ribera del Duero, although it is being tried out in many other regions of Spain as well.

Caiño White and black. Another rare Galician variety. The black version (Caiño Tinto) is considered a main variety in the DO Ribeiro and an authorized variety in the DO Rías Baixas. The white grape (Caiño Blanco) is authorized in DO Rías Baixas.

Calgagraño White. One of the old native varieties of Rioja. It yields white wines, which, although hard and coarse, respond well to ageing. The Regulatory Council that controls the DoCa Rioja considers it to be extinct, but apparently some can still be found in the vicinity of San Asensio and certain other parts of La Rioja.

Cariñena Black. Produces robust, balanced wines. An excellent complement to Garnacha Tinta, it is plentiful in Catalunya and La Rioja, where it is known as Mazuelo. It is considered as a main variety in the denominations Calatayud, Costers del Segre, Penedés, Tarragona and Terra Alta.

Cayetana White. High yields. Found in Badajoz and Cáceres.

Cencibel Black. See Tempranillo.

Cendrón Black. See Graciano.

Chardonnay White. From the Burgundy region of France. Very fine, high quality grape which makes aromatic wines that give good results without a long ageing process. It is covered by the regulations on sparkling wines and by those of the Costers del Segre and Navarra denominations.

Chenin White. Originally from Loire, France. This grape produces fruity and flavoursome wines. Grown in the Catalunyan denominations of Alella, Ampurdán-Costa Brava, Cava, Navarra, Penedés, Priorato and Somontano.

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Dd

Doña Blanca White. See Moza Fresca.

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Ee

Espadiero Black. Native to Galicia, but like many other quality Galician varieties, it is very scarce. Included in the DO Rías Baixas.

Esquitxagos White. Plentiful in the Bajo Ebro region (Tarragona) and in San Mateo (Castellón). It could actually be Merseguera adapted to these regions.

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Ff

Ferrón Black. Authorised in the DO Ribeiro. Very scarce.

Fogoneu Black. Found on the island of Majorca where it is the main grape in the Felanitx area. It has certain similarities to the French Garnay grape, the basic variety in the renowned Beaujolais.

Forastera White. Frequent in certain areas of the Canary Islands, especially on the island of Gomera.

Forcalla White. See Macabeo.

Forcayat Black. Quite high yields, producing wines with a very specific aroma, but rather unstable colours. Authorised in the DO Valencia.

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Gg

Garnacha Black. See Garnacha Tinta.

Garnacha Blanca White. Produces full bodied wines with a high alcohol content. Very abundant throughout Spain and most plentiful in Tarragona, Zaragoza and Teruel. It is considered a main variety in the denominations Alella, Costers del Segre, Tarragona and Terra Alta.

Garnacha Tinta Black. A high yielding grape that produces vigorous wines. It is the most widely grown black grape in Spain, especially in La Rioja, Madrid, Navarre, Tarragona, Teruel, Toledo and Zaragoza. It is considered a main variety in the following Denominación de Origens (DO): Ampurdán-Costa Brava, Calatayud, Campo de Borja, Cariñena, Cigales, Costers del Segre, La Mancha, Méntrida, Penedés, Priorato, Somontano, Tarragona, Terra Alta, Utiel-Requena, Valdeorras and Vinos de Madrid. Also known as Aragón, Aragonés, Garnache, Grenache and Lladoner.

Garnacha Tintorera Black. The grape, also known as Alicante, is given this name because it is the only variety, along with Alicante Bouché, which has coloured flesh (tintorera comes from the verb teñir – to dye). It is frequently found in Albacete, Alicante, Orense, and Pontevedra. It is considered a main variety in DO Almansa.

Garnay Black. The basic variety in Beaujolais, this grape has similarities with Fogoneu, found in Majorca.

Garró Black. See Samsó. A traditional Penedés varietal.

Godello White. High quality, very aromatic. Native to Galicia, its cultivation has been considerably encouraged in the last few years, especially in the DO Valdeorras. It is considered a main variety in the denominations Valdeorras and Bierzo.

Gotim Bru Black. See Tempranillo.

Graciano Black. Low yielding grape which produces highly prized wines. Young Graciano wines are very tannic, rough and tart, but develop superbly during ageing, both in cask and bottle. For this reason, these grapes are found in the Gran Reservas of La Rioja and Navarra. Because of its low yields, the Graciano grape can often be found mixed in with other grapes in the same vineyard. The Graciano grape is also known as Monastrell, Cendrón, and in France as Morastell and Tanat Gris.

Grenache Black. See Garnacha Tinta.

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Hh

Hondarribi White (zuri) and black (beltza). These grapes are the basic varieties in the traditional Basque chacolí. The white version is more common in the DO Chacolí de Guetaria, whereas the black is plentiful in the DO Chacolí de Vizcaya.This grape is also known as Ondarribi.

Horgazeula White. See Palomino.

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Jj

Jaén Black. High yields. Found in Badajoz, some parts of the Canary Islands, Granada, Madrid and Toledo.

Jerez White. See Palomino.

Jerez Fino White. See Palomino.

Juan Garciá Black. Native to the Fermoselle area in Zamora, where it is the main grape grown. It can produce interesting young wines of medium alcohol content.

Juan Ibañez Black. Found in the DO Cariñena. It is not very common, and is usually grown together with other varieties in the same vineyard.

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Ll

Lado White. Found in the DO Ribeiro, although there is no provision for it in the regulations on the denomination. It makes for light wines with substantial acidity, but with considerable aromatic strength and quality.

Lairén White. Authorised in the DO Montilla-Moriles. Closely related to Airén.

Listán White. Synonymous with the Palomino sherry grape in Jerez and the Canary Islands.

Listán Negro Black. Variety found in some parts of Northern Tenerife and on other islands in the Canaries. It makes interesting young black wines.

Lladoner Black. See Garnacha Tinta.

Loureira White and black. High quality Galician grape that creates very aromatic wines. Authorised in the denominations of Rías Baixas and Ribeiro. There is also a black Loureira, but it is very rare.

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Mm

Macabeo White. Also called Viura. This is the basic variety in cavas. Mainly found in Badajoz, La Rioja, Tarragona and Zaragoza. It is considered a main variety in the Denominación de Origens (DO) Calatayud, Conca de Barberá, Costers del Segre, Navarra, Penedés, Rioja, Somontano, Tarragona and Terra Alta. Also known as Forcalla and in France, Macabeu.

Macabeu White. See Macabeo.

Malbec Black. Of French origin, it was introduced many years ago into Ribera del Duero. There are also small amounts in other areas of Spain.

Malvar White. Abundant in Madrid, Guadalajara and Toledo. It is considered a main variety in the DO Vinos de Madrid.

Malvasía White. Originally from Greece, it produces very aromatic and distinctive wines. It is mainly found in Valencia, Zamora and the Canary Islands. It is considered a main variety in the DO Calatayud.

Malvasía de Alicante White. See Subirat Parent.

Malvasía Francesa White. See Subirat Parent.

Malvasía Riojana White. See Subirat Parent.

Manto Negro Black. Indigenous to the Balearic Islands. It is the main grape variety in the DO Binissalem. It produces light, very well balanced wines, with good results after short ageing in cask and bottle.

Marqués White. See Loureira.

Mataró Black. See Monastrell.

Mazuelo Black. See Cariñena.

Mencía Black. According to recent studies, it would seem to be very similar to Cabernet Franc. It produces high quality wines. It is common in Castile y León, Zamora, Lugo and Orense. It is considered a main variety in the DO Valdeorras and the DO Bierzo.

Merenzao Black. Authorised in DO Valdeorras, although like most Galician varieties, it is quite scarce.

Merlot Black. The basis for many fine, highly aromatic wines. It comes from the Bordeaux region. After Cabernet Sauvignon, it is the most widespread grape variety in the world. In Spain, it is mainly grown in Ribera del Duero, Catalunya and Navarra.

Merseguera White. Has a distinct personality. Found in Valencia, Tarragona and Alicante, as well as Utiel-Requena and Yecla. Considered a main variety in the DO Valencia.

Moll White. Also called Prensal. Used in many of the white Majorcan wines. Mostly found in Binissalem, it produces light, balanced white wines.

Monastre Black. See Monastrell.

Monastrell Black. Very sweet and productive. It produces wines with a deep colour and considerable alcohol content. It is mainly found in Murcia, Alicante, Albacete and Valencia. It is considered a main variety in denominations such as Alicante, Almansa, Costers del Segre, Jumilla, Penedés, Valencia and Yecla. Also known as Alcayata, Monastre, Morrastal and Morastel, Valcarchelle, Mouvedré (in France) and Mataró (in Austria and California).

Morastel Black. See Monastrell.

Morastell Black. See Graciano.

Morrastal Black. See Monastrell.

Morrastel Black. See Graciano.

Morisca Black. Very widely grown, although almost always in small quantities. It is frequently grown as a dessert grape.

Moristel Black. Plentiful in Huesca and Zaragoza. Considered a main variety in the DO Somontano.

Moscatel White. Superbly aromatic with a high sugar content. It produces very characteristic wines and is frequently eaten as a desert grape. It is very widely grown across the whole of Spain, but it is considered a main variety in the denominations of Valencia and Málaga. Also known as Muscat or Muscatel.

Mourvedré Black. See Monastrell.

Moza Fresca White. Also called Valenciana and Doña Blanca. Some people believe this to be the Merseguera variety transplanted to the Valdeorras area of Galicia, where it occurs most frequently.

Müller Thurgau White. An experimental German cross, grown in Penedés.

Muscat White. See Moscatel.

Muscatel White. See Moscatel.

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Nn

Negra de Madrid Black. Quite productive and hardy. Plentiful in Madrid, Zamora and Toledo.

Negramoll Black. Characteristic of certain areas in the Canary Islands, Especially the DO Tacoronte-Acentejo, where it is the main variety. It produces light, soft aromatic wines of very good quality when young.

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Oo

Ojo de Libre Black. See Tempranillo.

Ondarribi White and black. See Hondarribi.


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Pp

Palomino White. Basic grape in Jerez wines and known as Jerez outside this area of Cádiz. Its high yields have led to its cultivation in many Spanish regions, especially Galicia. It flourishes in Cádiz, Orense, Valladolid, Zamora and Huelva. It is considered a main variety in the denominations of Jerez and Condado de Huelva. Also known as Albán, Horgazeula, Jerez, Jerez Fino, Listán, Palomino Fino, Palomino de Chipiona, Palomino Pinchito, Seminario and Xeres.

Palomino de Chipiona White. See Palomino.

Palomino Fino White. See Palomino.

Palomino Pinchito White. See Palomino.

Pansá Blanca White. See Xarel.lo. Grown in Alella.

Pansá Rosada White. Grown in Alella.

Pardillo White. Plentiful in Badajoz, especially in the Guadiana area of Ribera Alta and in Albacete and Cuenca. In some areas, it is known by the name of Pardina.

Pardina White. See Pardillo.

Parellada White. Very productive and high quality. One of the basic grapes used when making cava. It thrives in Tarragona, Barcelona and Lénida. It is considered a main variety in the denominations of Conca de Barberá, Costers del Segre, Penedés and Tarragona and Cava.

Parreleta Black. Native of the DO Somontano. Produces light, aromatic wines.

Pedro Ximénez White. High sugar content. To a greater or lesser extent, it is found almost everywhere in Spain and is most widespread in Córdoba, Badajoz, Málaga and Valencia. It is considered a main variety in the denominations Jerez, Málaga, Montilla-Moriles and Valencia.

Petit Verdot Black. Originally from Bordeaux and particularly plentiful in Medoc. A new variety for wine making in Spain.

Picapoll White. From Languedoc, France. Grown in Pla de Blages, the grape is also known as Picpoul or Piquepoul.

Picpoul White. See Picapoll.

Pinot Blanc White. Grown in Navarra.

Pinot Chardonnay White. See Chardonnay.

Pinot Noir Black. Variety of French origin, found across Europe (Germany, northern Italy etc), the Americas (California, Chile etc) and Oceania (Australia). Burgundy and Champagne are the main Pinot Noir regions. Recently there have been some examples of wines made with this grape in Spain. It is a variety that buds and ripens early, suitable for cooler northern climates. Although it is a black grape, it is also the basis for white champagne.

Piquepoul White. See Picapoll.

Planta Fina White. Also called Planta Pedralba or Plant Fina de Pedralba. Authorised by the DO Valencia.

Planta Fina de Pedralba White. See Planta Fina.

Planta Nova White. Authorised by the DO Utiel-Requena and Valencia. Also known as Tardana.

Planta Pedralba White. See Planta Fina.

Prensal White. See Moll.

Prieto Picudo Black. Produces very aromatic, distinctive wines, rather light in colour but very pleasant. Plentiful in Zamora and Castile y León.

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Rr

Riesling White. Originated in the Rhine area. High quality, with a characteristic aroma. In Spain, it is mainly found in Catalunya and to a lesser extent, in Murcia and Huesca.

Rufete Black. Found mainly in the Sierra de Salamanca. It produces light wines without much depth of colour, which tend to oxidize quickly.

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Ss

Samsó Black. This is a traditional Penedés variety, but it is currently not produced in large quantities.

Sauvignon Blanc White. Of French origin, it performs very well in wines subjected to an ageing process and in cavas. In Spain it is mainly grown in Castile and León and in Catalunya.

Seminario White. See Palomino.

Shiraz Black. See Syrah.

Sousón Black. Another of the many native Galician varieties and also very rare. It is covered by the Rías Baixas and Ribeiro DO regulations.

Subirat Parent White. Considered a main variety in the DO Penedés. It is also grown in Rioja, where it is known as Malvasía Riojana. It is also known as Malvasía de Alicante, Malvasía Francesa and Blanquirroja.

Sumoll Black. Grown in the area of Artés (Barcelona) and in the DO Conca de Barberá, although it is not covered in the regulations governing this denomination.

Sunol Black. See Sumoll.

Syrah Black. Variety thought to have come from Persia, grown extensively in central and southern France. The prestigious Hermitage wines are usually 100% Syrah. Very little as yet is grown in Spain. Also known as Shiraz.

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Tt

Tanat Gris Black. See Graciano.

Tardana White. See Planta Nova.

Tempranillo Black. Superb quality and very aromatic, the star of Spanish grapes. It is called Ull de Llebre in Catalunya, Cencibel in Castile-La Mancha and Madrid, and Tinto Fino and Tinto del Pais in Castile y León. It flourishes in Burgos, La Rioja, Alava, Cuenca and Ciudad Real. It is considered a main variety in the following Denominación de Origens (DO): Calatayud, Cigales, Conca de Barberá, Costers del Segre, La Mancha, Penedés, Ribera del Duero, Rioja, Somontano, Utiel-Requena, Valdepeñas and Vinos de Madrid.

Tinta de Toro Black. Produces aromatic, good quality wines although it does not give high yields. Some maintain that it is Tempranillo that has become acclimatized to the region of Zamora that gives it its name. It is considered a main variety of the DO Toro.

Tinta Madrid Black. See Tempranillo.

Tinto Aragonés Black. See Garnacha Tinta.

Tinto del Pais Black. See Tempranillo.

Tinto Fino Black. See Tempranillo.

Torrontés White. Originally from Galicia. It produces wines of little body and good acidity, with considerable personality and an intense bouquet. It can be found throughout Galicia and in Córdoba.

Treixadura White. Indigenous to Galicia. It is one of the most aromatic varieties of Galician grape and its cultivation is being encouraged in a number of areas. It is considered a main variety in the DO Ribeiro.

Trepat Black. Found in the DO Costers del Segre and the DO Conca de Barberá.

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Uu

Ull de Llebre Black. See Tempranillo.

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Vv

Valcarchella Black. See Monastrell.

Valenciana White. See Moza Fresca.

Verdejo White. Very high quality, one of the best white varieties in Spain. It makes very aromatic, glyceric soft wines with body. It is plentiful in Valladolid, Segovia and Avila. It is considered a main variety of the DO Rueda.

Verdello White. Found in Alicante and Murcia.

Verdoncho White. Found scattered around the DO La Mancha and in the DO Manchuela. It is not a quality grape.

Viognier White. This variety was originally from the northern Côte du Rhône area. It is still used on a very small scale by Spanish wine producers, but it is likely to gain wider acceptance in the future, given that it is a grape of superb quality that grows well in warm regions.

Viura White. See Macabeo.

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Xx

Xarel.lo or Xarello White. Together with the Macabeo and the Parellada varieties, makes up the trilogy of the cava grapes. It produces very aromatic wines. It is considered a main variety in the Denominación de Origens (DO) Alella (where it is known as Pansá Blanca), Costers del Segre, Penedés and Tarragona, as well as in the DO Cava.

Xeres White. See Palomino.

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Zz

Zalema White. This variety is not easy to handle as it has a tendency to oxidize rapidly and produces light, rather neutral wines. Found in Huelva and Seville. It is the most common variety in the DO Condado de Huelva.

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Compiled with assistance from Guía de Vinos Gourmets - Grupo Gourmets (Madrid - Spain)

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