Spanish Grape Varieties

By: Genevieve Mc Carthy / Last updated: January 4, 2024

In Spain, the world of wine often revolves around renowned wine regions such as Rioja and Ribera. While these regions have rightfully earned their reputation for producing exceptional wines, the focus on regional identity sometimes overshadows the appreciation for individual grape varieties. As a result, grape varieties are not discussed as extensively as one might expect, especially when it comes to red wine.

Nevertheless, Spain does have some fascinating exceptions to this trend. Notably, the Albariño grape from Galicia and the Verdejo grape from Rueda have gained significant popularity and recognition. These two white grape varieties have captured the attention of wine enthusiasts both within Spain and abroad, showcasing the country’s ability to produce exceptional white wines with unique characteristics.

We have compiled a comprehensive list of key players to shed light on the diverse grape varieties in Spain. It’s a testament to the country’s rich viticultural heritage and the remarkable regional nuances that shape its wines. One striking observation is the variation in names for certain grape varieties depending on the region. This highlights the deep-rooted connection between grape varieties and their geographical origins, adding a layer of intrigue and complexity to the Spanish wine landscape.

Among the notable grape varieties, one is Spain’s most famous and emblematic—the Tempranillo. Renowned for its versatility and ability to produce outstanding red wines, Tempranillo goes by different names across the country. In the Ribera del Duero region, it is commonly referred to as Tinto Fino, while in Catalonia, it is known as Ull de Llebre. In the La Mancha region, another name for Tempranillo is Cencibel. This grape variety holds a special place in Spanish winemaking history and continues to captivate wine enthusiasts with its robust character and potential for aging.

By delving into the world of Spanish grape varieties, we aim to illuminate the richness and diversity of the country’s winemaking tradition. Whether the classic Tempranillo or lesser-known gems waiting to be discovered, Spain offers a captivating array of grape varieties contributing to its reputation as a dynamic and vibrant wine-producing nation.


  • Bobal: used in the Levante to make mainly rosé wines. read more
  • Cariñena: main red grape in Calatayud and Aragon in general. Carignan in France. read more
  • Garnacha: known as Grenache in France & America, this is the most prominent grape in Priorat. read more
  • Graciano: Also known as Morrastel, Courouillade in France, and Xres in California
  • Listan Negro: most common red grape in the Canary Islands, particularly Tenerife. The main grape in the top wine “Crater”
  • Manto Negro: the main grape in Mallorca, used to make some very interesting wines
  • Mazuelo: Also known as Mazuelo Tinto, Cariñena, and Carignan in France. read more
  • Mencia: Spain’s hot and upcoming cult grape used in Bierzo and also in Valdeorras. read more
  • Monastrell: An interesting red grape used mainly in Jumilla (Murcia) and Catalonia, it makes juicy wines, Known as Mourvèdre in France. read more
  • Moristel: unusual grape found in Somontano and Aragon, makes young fruity wine
  • Negramoll: another red varietal from the Canary Islands, often mixed with Listan Negro
  • Tempranillo: Spain’s most famous and noble grape. Also known as Ull de Llebre, Cencibel, Tinto Fino. Grown in many regions, including Rioja, Ribera del Duero, La Mancha, and Penedes. read more


  • Albariño: considered by many to be a strain of Riesling, this grape is grown in Rias Baixas and makes Spain’s most elegant white wines. read more
  • Airén: the most abundant white grape in Spain, is slowly being eradicated in favor of other varietals that offer more voluptuous whites
  • Godello: main white grape found in Galicia’s beautiful Ribeiro wine region. read more
  • Loureira Blanca: native Galician variety found in both Rias Baixas and Ribera Sacra, provides a fabulous perfumed aroma as well as acidity. read more
  • Hondarrabi Zuri: the near impossible-to-pronounce grape used to make Basque Country’s zippy Txakoli wines. read more
  • Malvasia: This grape originated in Greece. This is a blender grape in Italy and Portugal, also known as Subirat-Parent, Blanca-Roja, and Malvasia Fina. read more
  • Merseguera: a common white grape used for everyday wines in Valencia
  • Moscatel: a delicious “grapey” grape found prominently in Alicante and more and more in Navarra.
  • Palomino: the primary grape used in the production of finos in Jerez. read more
  • Parellada: Also known as Montonec, native to Catalonia, the key component of Cava. read more
  • Pedro Ximenez: the best grape used in quality Sherry and Montilla production, aged and used to produce ultra-unctuous sweet wines
  • Treixadura: a varietal found in Rias Baixas (Galicia), used on its own and for blending. read more
  • Verdejo: the “it grape” of the moment, grown in Rueda and used for grassy young whites. read more
  • Viura/Macabeo: Also known as Maccabeu in France. Main white grape in Rioja and Penedes. read more
  • Xarel.lo: Also known as Pansa Blanca in Alella. One of the Cava grapes is also seen increasingly in single-varietal wines. read more


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Genevieve Mc Carthy

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