Drinking Wine in Spain: The Ultimate Guide!
Ready for a holiday full of wine?
Are you going on a holiday to Spain? We bet you cannot wait to taste the fantastic wine they have there! Yet, we would advise you to read this guide first, so that you know exactly which wines to pick. We will tell you how to order different types of wine in Spanish, talk about the different wine regions in Spain, recommend you some great local wines and bodegas (wineries), and finally we will give you the ultimate tip on how to álways order the very best wine – even if you have no knowledge about wine at all! Are you ready for that getaway full of vino?
Ordering and drinking wine in Spanish
Let’s start with how to properly order wine in Spanish and what all of the different types are called, so that you can always order your favourite! Most people think that red wine should be translated to ‘vino rojo’… but that is not correct. The right way to order red wine is to order a vino tinto (literally: ‘tinted wine’). The waiters will understand you anyways, but after all it is way cooler to order like a proper Spaniard, right?! The vino tinto is the best choice when you eat a cut of meat, jamón (Spanish ham), or one of the many delicious types of Spanish cheese.
White wine, on the contrary, can be directly translated to vino blanco.. Especially in the hot summers on the terrace, or in combination with the delicious fresh fish you can find in any restaurant, it is a great idea to order a good vino blanco on the side. Usually, you will get it served in an ice cold, big wine glass. Cheers!
And then we also have rosé wine, which is the ultimate summer favourite of many. Of course, you can find a good glass of rosé in Spain as well, and you can get it by ordering a vino rosado.
And then, when you’ve ordered your favourite type of wine, you of course should toast in Spanish as well! If you want to say ‘bon appetit’ or ‘enjoy your meal/drink’ in Spanish, you can say‘que aproveche.’Yet, if you really want to officially toast (which is customary in Spain before drinking wine), you should say ‘salud’.Saludmeans ‘health’; (you also say it as a translation to ‘bless you!’ if someone sneezes), so when toasting you literally wish the ones you are drinking with all the health in the world!
Wine Regions in Spain
Spain is one of the largest producers of wine in the world, and therefore it isn’t strange that you can find countless wine regions in this beautiful country. Actually, in any province in Spain you will encounter vineyards and bodegas. Therefore, we listed the most important wine areas for you:
The Ribeira Sacra is a very well-known wine region within Spain, which is located in the North-West. The vineyards are cultivated on the river banks of the two major rivers that flow through the area: the Rio Minho and Rio Sil. The magic thing about this place is that the vineyards are built on extremely steep river banks, which means that the grapes can only be cultivated by hand: tractors or any other type of machinery cannot access these fields, so cultivation has been done the same way for hundreds of years. The cultivation of grapes here is extremely difficult and dangerous, but it is absolutely spectacular to see. Famous types of grapes that come from the Ribeira Sacra are the Mencía (which usually makes a light, fruity red wine), and Albariño (a delicious fresh white wine). The wines from the Ribeira Sacra are available everywhere in Spain. So, if you see one of these wines on the menu or in the supermarket, we would definitely advise you to try!
The Rioja wines are a well-known phenomenon world-wide, and there will always be someone calling out ‘Rioja!’ when talking about Spanish wines. But why is it that the wines from the Rioja Region are so popular? The Rioja Region is situated in the North of Spain, at more or less a 100 kilometer from the border with France. This upland area is protected by several different mountain ranges, and has a typical clay-like soil. This makes this place an ideal location for wine production. The most often used grape for Rioja wine is the Tempranillo, which is often combined with the stronger Garnacha grape. Rioja usually is a stronger, ‘heavier’ wine with a typical timer-like taste. In the local shops and restaurants in Andalusia you will definitely find Rioja wines. If you would like to get some personal advice on which Rioja wine to pick, you can get in touch with us!
La Mancha is by far the largest wine region of Spain. Fun fact: ‘la mancha’ means ‘the stain’, so this region is basically seen as a huge wine stain! Where most wine regions consist of many small bodegas, La Mancha is different: it has become a gigantic industrial place that supplies Madrid and the surrounding cities with a LOT of wine. The latest innovations and technologies are implemented here first, in order to sow, harvest and produce at the absolute best moment. One of the most popular grapes from this region: the Airén.
Wines from Andalusia
By day, Javier is a police officer in La Cala de Mijas, where we have several apartments with Reikon Holidays. However, when his shift is over, he goes to the typical Spanish village called Mijas Pueblo, to work in the bodega that he started with his two brothers: Viña Tamisa. Together they work around the clock to produce a delicious red wine. We have had the privilege to taste the wine of these brothers, and we are sold! You can find their wine in several different restaurants nearby, but you could also visit the bodega yourself! Ask us to make a reservation for you at Viña Tamisa, and get a taste of this real Andalusian wine.
Also in Ronda there is a beautiful Cortijo (another word for winery) that you can visit. It’s a small place with just local wines, but this makes the tour even better and more personal! With all the care in the world, the 12 colleagues of this cortijo produce an amazing wine that is very popular in the local restaurants. We’ve already visited this place, and again we would definitely recommend you to go as well!
Finally, we have an ultimate favourite that we cannot keep a secret for you. This wine is not from Andalusia, but is available in one of our favourite restaurants here. At Restaurant Antonio in Rincón de la Victoria, we would advise you to combine a delicious piece of meat with the red wine called Fagus de Coto de Hayas: this is a wine from the central region Aragon. We promise you: this great wine (and restaurant) will make you fall in love!
Download this app, and never pick the wrong wine again!
Well, after all this info, we can imagine that you can’t see the wood for the trees (or the wine for the grapes) anymore! Don’t panic: that’s completely normal. The Spanish wine culture is so rich and diverse that it is almost impossible to know everything before going on a holiday. But don’t worry, we have the very best tip for you to make sure you’ll find your way in the gigantic wine section in the supermarket or that one great restaurant: you have to download the app Vivino! With this app you can scan the wine sticker, and you will instantly get a complete overview of its taste, what grade others give it and what the price more or less should be. Literally all of the wines are in this app, so you will always know which one to pick. On the long term, you’ll also learn which types of wine are your personal favourites, and therefore you’ll get to know your own taste in wine way better. So download the app before arriving in Spain, and get ready for the best wine holiday of your life!
Ps; would you like to get more tips and tricks about wine, food or must-see highlights in the South of Spain? Then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!
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