What are the characteristics of Spanish red wine?

  1. Red Wine Styles
  2. Red Wine Classification
  3. The DO System


  • Red wine styles depend on the grape variety and how long it is aged.
  • Red wine classifications depend on the variety of grapes and how long it is stored in oak.
  • Spain’s DO system and regulations depend on the region of the country, noting the differences in geography such as climate and grape variety.
  • Rioja wines are the most prestigious wines in the country

Spanish reds are regarded as some of the world's best. The variety of red wines produced in the country gives it unique taste profiles that make it distinct within the country and among other countries. The quality of these reds is closely guarded to stay on top of winemaking excellence.

If you’re thinking of trying the country’s iconic drink, find out the characteristics of Spanish red wine with us at Flamingo Wines & Spirits, Pasay Wine Shop located at:

Ground Level, MET Live,
EDSA Extension, corner Diosdado Macapagal Blvd
Pasay, 1226 Metro Manila

Red Wine Styles

Red Wine Styles

There are different red wine styles in Spain. They are usually a variation of grape variety and aging process.

Young Tempranillo

Tempranillo is Spain’s pride in winemaking. It is a black grape that makes full-bodied reds with flavors of berries and cherries. The young Tempranillo has not aged long, lacking to develop flavors of spices from oak. They are also tart, fleshy, and spicy.

Ages Tempranillo

This style of wine costs more because they are aged in oak for a few years. They are wines with bold and high tannin with a sweet and dry profile. They are usually labeled as Reserva and Gran Reserva.

Young Garnacha

The Garnacha is another grape variety that is grown in other countries like France but it is native to Spain. The young Garnacha style is usually seen in the Northern part of Spain, close to the border of France. This wine is fresh, juicy, and sweet. It can also have a silky iced tea-like finish.

Spanish Red Wine Regions

Spanish Red Wine Regions

Spanish red wines usually focus on the region when it comes to their classifications. This is because wine quality and regulations vary per geography and climate.


Rioja wines are considered to be the top Spanish wines. It is in north-central Spain, bordered by mountains in the north and the south. It is in the region’s upper side that produces the iconic and classic Spanish red that passed the strictest and highest quality control of winemaking.

Rioja wines are typically made of Tempranillo grapes but they can be blended with other types. It has notes of cherry, ripe plum, dill, and hints of leather. Traditionally, it is commonly aged in American oak for its signature characters of vanilla and sweet spice

Ribera Del Duero

This winemaking region is located in Castilla y León. Just like Rioja wines, Ribera Del Duero wines are mainly produced with 100% Tempranillo grapes but some blend in French grapes. The difference is that this region’s reds are more intense in black fruit flavors with higher tannin.

They are also deeper-colored and fuller-bodied reds than in Rioja wines. This is because of the region’s high temperatures and little rainfall, making their grapes ripen faster.

Unlike Rioja wines preferring American oak, Ribera Del Duero winemakers prefer French oak which cultivates its notes of tobacco, spice, and cedar.


Priorat wines have an earthy taste profile. They have primary flavors of black cherries, plum, licorice, chocolate, and crushed gravel. The region’s infertile, chalky soil adds minerality to Priorat wines.

They are usually dry red blends with a thick texture that is high in alcohol and tannins. They are aged in French oaks imparting dill, cinnamon, coffee, and tabaco notes.

The Priorat region is located in the province of Catalonia. The vineyards are tiny and many are on ‘costers’, or steep slopes of hills, so it is common to build terraces, making the hills look like a staircase.

The DO System

The DO system categorizes Spanish red wines by region, essential for understanding Spanish wine. It considers regional factors like grape farming and sales, emphasizing grape varieties, harvest yields, techniques, and aging to ensure quality. With over fifty Denominations of Origin, regions like Cava, La Mancha, and Ribera del Duero lead, while La Rioja holds the prestigious DOCa label, epitomizing Spanish red wine characteristics.

At Flamingo Wine & Spirits, you can try the prestigious Rioja wines from Marques De Murrieta, a renowned winery in the region. Available in our shop are their Marques De Murrieta Gran Reserva 2015 and Marques De Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial.

Key Takeaway

The characteristics of Spanish red wine are focused on the different regions of the country with a wine quality control system that understands the particulars of these places. The regional nuances, styles, and flavors in Spanish wines play a part in the excellence of winemaking in the country.

If you want to try the acclaimed Rioja wine, come by our Pasay shop or check it out in our online shop at Flamingo Wine & Spirits.