Eric Asimov penned a line that has stayed with me ever since. "No country has had its wine map filled in so intriguingly over the last 25 years as Spain. And perhaps no country has rewarded wine consumers more with a combination of value and enticement." It's true. Spain is a sprawling but fragmented patchwork of wine culture and certainly one of the most important wine countries in the world. Rioja inevitably occupies most consumers' attention, but the regions and their respective appellations deserve to be looked at in depth.

Andalusia | Aragon | Asturias | Cantabria | Castile and Leon | Castille-La-Mancha | Catalonia | Madrid | Valencia | Extremadura | Galicia | Balearic Islands | Canary Islands | Navarre | Basque Country | Murcia | La Rioja

Quality System

Like in Italy and France an appellation system built around a quality tier system is in place. Most quality wine areas have been awarded DO status, while only two have managed to achieve a DOCa level. Vino de Pago is relatively new addition and focusses around individual estates. The criteria is strict and currently only 14 have achieved this prestigious and exclusive accolade.

Vino de Pago: The highest measure of Spanish wine quality. Strict criteria is applied to wine regions that wish to pursue this path. It focusses on the individual estates rather than the villages themselves.

Denominación de Origen Calificada DOCa: Only Rioja and Priorat have demonstrated a sufficient track record of consistent quality to have been awarded this classification.

Denominación de Origen (DO): This is Spain's primary wine appellation and boasts 66 different zones throughout its regions.

Vino de Calidad con Indicación Geográfica: Wine regions must adopt this classification before undergoing the legal process to have the region promoted higher up the ladder.

Vino de la Tierra (VdlT): Basic table wine with permission to attach a regional geographic description.

Vino de Mesa: